Service of What’s That Again?

December 2nd, 2013

Categories: Publishing, Pushing Buttons, Real Estate, Retail, Suspicion, Words

Say what 2

I shake my head when I hear or read what some people say or do.

Oh Really?

I listened to an interview on Bloomberg radio where the head of a corporation reported buying 37,000 foreclosed homes which the company remodeled and is now renting. The CEO’s voice oozed pride and he concluded that he especially likes it when his company can do well by communities by providing labor and attractive, affordable housing to people who couldn’t normally live so well–all made possible by the company.

Foreclosed homeThat’s what he said. Then why did I hear: “You took advantage of poor people and got their homes for a song; needed someone to fix them up so you hired workers and you’re waiting until housing prices rise before selling them at a huge profit–might as well make some money by renting them meanwhile.”

He is in business to make money and his stockholders win. I object to his putting a halo spin on the process.



Pack up an officeAfter 35 years a major magazine fired its editorial staff in NYC where it has been published since its founding by a New Yorker. It is heading south. About the move the publisher said “This is a chance for our editors to live the lifestyle they promote on the page.”

Why did I hear, “We’ll be able to pay lower wages and cut our overhead?” A sound business decision in this economy no doubt, but say so. Who is he fooling?

Say What

Food driveAn international discounter known for paying minimum wages launched a holiday food drive in an Ohio store asking its more fortunate workers to support others less fortunate.

Huh? Wouldn’t the store have better served its employees–and image–to give a turkey and fixings to all staffers? Then it could suggest that if some employees opted to gift the feast to a poorer family, few would object.

I wonder if some people really believe what they utter and think that they are so clever pulling the wool over our eyes? Or do they fall for what their advisors persuade them to say? Or think the public is stupid? Can you share similar examples?

 pull wool over eyes



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8 Responses to “Service of What’s That Again?”

  1. Lucrezia Said:

    Nothing surprising here, since this sort of thing has been going on forever. Thieves get away with loot because victims can’t or won’t react.

    As a case in point, a national hero, Alexander Hamilton, shorted Revolutionary Army troops of some 90% of their wages through an inside trader deal. Where were the protests? It would appear that little has changed. Who hears of what should have been a national scandal? Instead, his countenance appears on every ten dollar bill.

    A Rosa Parks emerges every so often, and class action suits are launched from time to time, but such protests require guts and money. While everyone is not stupid, most appear to be either that or comatose. Otherwise the Hamiltons, CEOS and retailers would not succeed. Sad, isn’t it?

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    The Alexander Hamilton example is brilliant. Wow. How typical of us to honor him on our $10s. We re-elect drug addicts to office so why not?

    I guess we’re comatose or we don’t know where to begin. The person interviewing the CEO hungry for distressed properties asked zero questions…just listened and grovelled.

    What are the editors supposed to do about losing their jobs–especially as none were invited to go south. The readers could cancel their subscriptions. I read about the publisher’s response in an online trade blog which I doubt the readers of the magazine would think of accessing. He’s counting on them not knowing the difference.

    And people crowd into the discounter no matter what it does. I know millionaires who buy bulk supplies over the Internet from the place. It’s here for the duration.

    Comatose. That MUST be it. Grumble.

  3. Carol Said:

    Particularly at this time of year, Twitter is full of examples of tone-deaf promotion by retailers. I saw this one last Wednesday: “Happy Hanukkah! Here’s to 8 nights of peace & joy.” I replied, “Open 41 straight hours beginning 6am Thanksgiving? I think you mean here’s to commerce.”

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Yea Carol!

    Terrific. Great response. Here’s to one wide awake friend!!! May there be millions more. People don’t realize how quickly companies respond when customers vote with their feet but first there must be awareness and you woke up a bunch of folks I wager!

  5. Retired Said:

    You asked the question, “Do some really believe they are so clever and the public so dumb?”

    The answer is: It depends.

    I knew two CEO’s well enough to have a pretty good idea of what they were thinking. One of them didn’t like lying to anyone under any circumstance. The other was a master at the spin and did whatever it took to make a buck.

    The former ran a large enterprise, had two PR people on his staff and lousy PR. The latter ran a medium sized company, employed twelve PR people and was in the papers all the time.

    To correct two errors in fact:

    In your third example, I believe the store involved was located in Wisconsin not in Ohio.

    Lucrezia alleges that “…Alexander Hamilton shorted Revolutionary Army troops of some 90% of their wages through an inside trader deal.” This is categorically untrue. What he did do is save the credit of this then young country by ensuring that it paid its debts, including bearer promissory notes issued to Revolutionary War veterans, in full upon presentation. Hamilton was not perfect, but in this case he was a hero, not a villain. As the creator of a financial system which has served us well for almost 250 years, he fully deserves the honour of appearing on our $10 bill.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I checked again and according to the Huffington Post, the protest I read about was in Ohio, but it really doesn’t matter where–more important is the fact that a hugely profitable corporation asks its underpaid workers to bear a burden it should take on, to be charitable when it isn’t—”do as I say, not as I do” on steroids.

    Is the case of Alexander Hamilton one of robbing the poor to pay war debts for the greater good? If so, my bet is that the soldiers didn’t have much say in the matter. Perhaps he should be on the $10 bill wearing dark glasses.

  7. Retired Said:

    I stand corrected. I first heard news about the store in Wisconsin on about November 22nd, (…)The store’s Ohio news came out a few days earlier.

    Your depiction of “Alexander Hamilton… of robbing the poor to pay war debts for the greater good” is a slanderous allegation and utterly untrue.

    What actually happened was the Continental Congress, which was America’s government prior to the Constitution becoming effective in 1789, being broke, issued bearer promissory notes to Revolutionary War veterans in payment for their service. Many veterans, men of little faith, sold their notes off to speculators for pennies on the dollar. When the federal government, in which Hamilton served as Secretary of the Treasury, created under the Constitution took office and decided to honour the debts of the Continental Congress, the veterans who had hung on to their notes were paid in full as were the speculators who bought them up for a song.

    It is a situation somewhat analogous to what happened in the bankruptcy of AIG a few years ago. Many shareholders sold their shares for a fraction of what they had paid for them. Then government decided to bail the company out. Now AIG shares are selling at close to $50.00 a share.

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I stand corrected on all counts and plead guilty.

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