Got two good eyes, but you still don’t see

Well, you had to know which side of the fence I was going to fall on with this one.  But here goes.

  1. Black Friday is bullshit.
  2. Shopping on Thanksgiving for Christmas is bullshit
  3. Walmart is bullshit
  4. Target and Toys R Us?  Bullshit.

When I lived in the City I used to enjoy going downtown early on Friday morning to see the new window displays.  Macy’s always outdid themselves, the SPCA was loading puppies into the windows at Gumps, and there was nothing like getting a cup of coffee and walking the quiet streets checking out what everyone had done.  I was generally out of there by about 9:30am before the jackassery began.  It was always cold and I almost always needed gloves.  And I do miss that.

I also used to go down to Fisherman’s Wharf on Christmas eve and get crab and sourdough from the street markets because there was no tourists there that day.

Then the media started advancing the corporate agenda by calling it “Black Friday” and talking about the sales and the “deals” and on and on.  Of course next week they will tell you that the deals today weren’t that good.  If people actually understood mark-up that would help.

This year I will go out of my way to find stuff manufactured in the USA.  If not the USA, I will go with a developed country, England, Germany, Canada, not a third world country.  Or China.  I promise you that while I rarely walk into a Walmart (I haven’t been in one in the last eight years) that will not change.

I will not be supporting any union busters.  I didn’t used to be so pro-union as I’ve become.  There was a point where I thought unions might have run their course.  Then this country and Fox started moving in a different direction.  As a quick aside let me throw out some facts about the Hostess union mess.

  • The company owes the pension plan $944 million dollars.  That’s about $51,000 per employee that has now evaporated.  How would you like it if your company just stole $51k from you?
  • The company pays the bakers about $18 per hour.  Someone who makes that makes $3120 per month, or $37,500 per year.   The management asked them to take a 8% pay cut, which takes them down to $16.50 per hour.  That is $2860 per month or $34,320 per year.  Take out 20% in federal and state taxes, you’re down to $27,500.  Take out $1500 a month in rent, you’re down to $9500 left over.  Take out $300 a month for food and you’ve got $5900.  That leaves you $491 per month for utilities, transportation, insurance and incidentals.  You cannot live on that.
  • Prior to Hostess filing bankruptcy the CEO made $750,000.  In July 2011 knowing full well they were going back to the trough, the executive team gave themselves raises.  The CEO went from $750,000 to $2,550,000.  Here are the rest:
    • Brian Driscoll, CEO, around $750,000 to $2,550,000.
    • Gary Wandschneider, EVP, $500,000 to $900,000.
    • John Stewart, EVP, $400,000 to $700,000.
    • David Loeser, EVP, $375,000 to $656,256.
    • Kent Magill, EVP, $375,000 to $656,256.
    • Richard Seban, EVP, $375,000 to $656,256.
    • John Akeson, SVP, $300,000 to $480,000.
    • Steven Birgfeld, SVP, $240,000 to $360,000.
    • Martha Ross, SVP, $240,000 to $360,000.
    • Rob Kissick, SVP, $182,000 to $273,008.
  • I’ll help with the math, that comes out to an average raise of 126% to drive a company into bankruptcy.
  • Prior total executive compensation: $3,737,000.  After  compensation: $$7,591,776.

So we’ll review.  The Union killed Hostess.  Got it.

Hostess Brands is Closed.

We are sorry to announce that Hostess Brands, Inc. has been forced by a Bakers Union strike to shut down all operations and sell all company assets. For more information, go tohostessbrands.info. Thank you for all of your loyalty and support over the years.

Liars.

So when Alice Walton is one of the richest women in the world but her employees make so little that many of them get their food from a food bank or food stamps, we have to wonder, what is wrong with this country?

What is wrong with a country where Papa John’s pizza can’t afford $.14 per pizza so that their employees have access to health care?  What is wrong where Alice Walton won’t give her employees enough hours for them to qualify for health care?  What is wrong that we don’t want everyone around us to be as healthy as possible?   How long is it before this kind of stinking thinking gets us a plague?  Oh never mind, we already have on in the form of the HIV virus.

What if the title industry had unionized?  Would that have saved the thousands of jobs that are still being done in India?  (a country that doesn’t even have title insurance, FWIW)  I tried back in the 90’s.  No one wanted to rock the boat.  I was right.

Next up:  I beat the holy snot out of the “Keep the Christ in Christmass” assholes.  You love me.

2 comments for “Got two good eyes, but you still don’t see

  1. OldTitleGuy
    November 23, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Now if I were a teensy bit more cynical, I might suspect that the Suits compensation was increased because they KNEW that they were going under and wanted to milk it for all it’s worth. Naah.

    The Unions aren’t entirely blameless here, the (apparently unsustainable) pensions were created by collective bargaining. Note that the Teamsters had previously settled with the company with reductions.

    I hope the Mexican company with the wonderful name (Bimbo) ends up with the assets. They seem to be doing ok with Entenmanns and Sara Lee. How can we even exist without Wonder Bread? Twinkies? Meh. Now the loss of SnoBalls and those chocolate cupcakes might verge on the tragic.

  2. OldTitleGuy
    November 23, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Another thought. Can’t the BK court set aside those increases as a preferential payment? Maybe not.

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