Companies need to stay out of national politics.

Starbucks Logo

Credit Suisse – Is reporting that the Starbucks Pledge to hire 10,000 Muslim refugees is hurting the Starbucks brand and their sales.

There is no doubt there are people who are saying that this at its root is because Americans are racist. 

I tend to think not.

We have thousands of Americans still out of work. I think, as I always have, that Americans should be the priority when it comes to hiring in this country.

Starbucks recently posted a letter saying that they loved and would hire Veterans too, in a half hearted attempt to reassure the public that they are a equal opportunity employer.

Apparently, the public isn’t buying it.

As I scanned the Credit Suisse report a couple of other things came to mind.

Would a muslim refugee serve me, my cafe mocha and my double bacon egg & cheese breakfast sandwich?

What happens when you get a Veteran and a Muslim Refugee in the same shift, and they start arguing? 

In a way I’m dealing with the latter problem where I work. We have a guy who identifies as Persian and a guy who is Pakistani (I think) sitting near me. The Persian guy is quite adamant about doing business ONLY with other Persians, and daily, finds something bad to say about America or Americans. 

The Pakistani guy literally will not shut up about how awful it is that Trump was elected and that Hillary or Obama should be the president.

For him this is a daily crisis and he’s said that the military should take Trump out and put Hillary in. When another coworker pointed out that our Pakistani coworker is talking about a coup d’état and that’s not the way we do things in America, The Pakistani replies that perhaps America should do things that way.

Against the trials of dealing with pissed off customers, the constant bitching about Trump makes going to work a significantly less pleasant experience. I wouldn’t call it a “Hostile” work environment but I would say it’s moving that direction.

Add to that the Canadian customers taking pot shots on the phone, (Because they know we have to take it) and some days it’s really tough to maintain equilibrium. 

Fortunately I manage to ignore it most of the time but for those of my coworkers sitting closer to these two it’s far more difficult to ignore.

I can’t imagine going to a Starbucks to have a cup of coffee and just take a break, and having to listen to people behind the counter or at other tables having similar conversations,  because that isn’t taking a break, it’s exhausting.

Starbucks took a hit when they banned firearms from their premises. Some stores went so far as to refuse service to police officers. Which is why if you want a police officer you go to any other coffee shop.

Starbucks also took another hit when they changed their rewards program, and when they  discontinued their clever older style holiday cups, and again when their baristas started writing little political messages on your cup.

My point is that American companies, ALL American companies need to remember that their duty is to their customers, and shareholders. No company needs to, or should insert themselves into politics. They, like Hollywood need to shut up, sell their products, and take the money. That is all that is required of them.

Black Rifle Logo

I’ve been watching with amusement, the Black Rifle Coffee company’s website. They came out after Starbucks made their refugee announcement, saying they’d hire Vets. I don’t think they should’ve entered the political arena anymore than Starbucks should have, but I must admit it was a marketing coup on Black Rifle’s part.

Black Rifle is now in the enviable position of having a two or three week backorder on most of their products.

They were smart enough to capitalize on Starbucks missteps. Including having legal open carry at one of their flagship stores. Black Rifle is obviously more in tune with the sentiment of the “average” American than Starbucks. 

Since Starbucks has entered the political fray, I’ve found that it is easier to avoid them and their products. I’ll grant you it’s not really a conscious choice it’s just that between the noise, expense, hipsters, and Starbucks politics, I’m more likely to head to any of the myriad other coffee shops that provide faster service, and are easier to get into and out of.

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At 4:30 in the morning I’d rather head somewhere that I can exchange pleasantries with law enforcement, instead of wondering if I’m going to get mugged in an empty Starbucks parking lot while some hipster barista looks on wondering what to do.

I haven’t gotten to the point that I’m willing to give up my Starbucks card on my phone but that day may well be around the corner.

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It’s not an “Active” boycott on my part, and I suspect that it wouldn’t be active on the part of most other people I think it would just be the worst thing a company can face. A “Meh” whatever, “Silent” boycott.

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Silent Boycotts are much harder to deal with. If suddenly people simply stop seeking your products with no explanation, a company can beat themselves to death trying to find a cause.

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Companies start thrashing around looking for the problem; Is it Quality, Merchandising, Advertisement, Price, Logos, Saturation of the market place, Brand differentiation, Relevance?

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Companies spend millions on each of these areas and if suddenly, nothing is working and they can’t gain or maintain market share then the company will fade into irrelevance. 

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Remember Compaq? WordStar? WordPerfect? Novell? Palm? Each of these companies faded for various reasons. But bottom line is that folks just stopped buying their products.

It’s like going on the third date and then the other person just stops responding to messages. You have no idea what you did wrong and you never will. You’ll also never have the opportunity to fix the problem because you have no idea where to start.

Novell

Apple faced this problem in the 90’s just before Steve Jobs returned to the helm and reenergized the company. I vaguely recall Apple stock trading for some ridiculously low price and considering maxing out my credit card to buy as much as I could. I wish now that I’d done it, but it was unclear if Jobs was going to be able to turn the company around and I deemed the risk was too great. Had I maxed out that card on Apple stock… I’d be lying naked on a beach somewhere.

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Starbucks, Apple, Microsoft, Nike, and other major corporations, should really take note, lest they find themselves on the receiving end of a similar “Silent” boycott. 

Meanwhile companies like Black Rifle Coffee, will be waiting in the wings to fill the void.

Time for some “Old School” thinking

There’s been a ton of stuff said about the Refugees and their plight…

In my opinion, a large percentage of it is complete and utter bullshit.

Ever heard the saying “Man the lifeboats! Women and children first!”

Ever thought about what that actually says?

IF you think about it, that simple phrase is saying; “We value our future, we’re protecting it by making sure the women (who may be pregnant), and our sons and daughters (who are our future), and our culture, will survive.”

That’s historically been the stance of Men in shipwrecks, times of war, and disasters.

It does not mean the men thought their women inferior, it says; we recognize that while we may be bigger and stronger, you can do something we can’t, give birth. 

It says; women are strong enough to raise a new generation of our people and that our culture and people will survive if they do.

It says; that right now it’s our job to protect you from whatever disaster is befalling us so that you have better odds of surviving to raise our children.

So without hesitation, I’d accept refugees from war torn places who were in fact women and children.

That’s what you’re supposed to do, in fact it’s the exact opposite of racism, because instead of fostering genocide, accepting women and children refugees insures that a group of people who may be completely different from you will survive and presumably return to their homelands when whatever disaster they escaped is over.

The above is the Old School view, at least as I was taught by my father and grandfathers.

So within that framework, looking at a majority of male, young, able-bodied, men calling themselves refugees, simply doesn’t track.

I can’ see them as refugees, I can only see them as cowards, or worse.

They’ve left their wives, children, mothers, and sisters in countries devastated by war, and famine, to fend for themselves. These cowards have boarded boats to foreign countries to live in relative opulence where they often don’t work, have a stipend, food, and time to complain about housing, and internet access.

What the bloody hell?

These men are exactly the men who should have been waving to their wives and children from the shore.

After the boats carrying their future were safe, these men, (if they were men) should have grimly turned to meet their enemy, fueled by rage and sadness that they may never see their wives & children in this life again.

This is the philosophy I was raised with.

I was raised to be suspicious of large numbers of able bodied young men going anywhere. Typically, large groups of young men were an army.

I find myself wondering what the hell is going on and how we’ve come to this place where we don’t or can’t question the nature of refugees.

More concerning to these old eyes is that it’s apparently verboten to even ask questions about refugees, and their intentions.

When you look at Europe, who has accepted thousands of refugees and see the unrest, it becomes pretty obvious that something is wildly amiss. The violence in Paris & throughout Germany should at least give you momentary pause.

It’s not hatred to point out a problem. Understanding the problem is the first step to correcting it. Superficially, one could say the problem is these refugees are coming from war torn countries.

Ok I’ll buy that. But where are the women and children in all this? When refugee centers are overwhelmingly young and male doesn’t that speak to another issue?

Add to that the basic culture clash about women’s rights, what is considered appropriate attire, and behavior. Then throw in the more  relaxed religious beliefs of the west, boredom, a healthy dose of alienation due to language difficulties, or misunderstanding of how to live in a free society where everyone is supposed to be equal,  and you’ve got a powder keg waiting for a spark.

Isn’t that what we’ve been seeing?  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or Phd in Sociology to see what happens next. Any idiot should be able to predict the outcome.

It’s never rainbows and unicorns.

With that in mind, I’m all for vetting all refugees carefully. To do that, we have to have a plan and procedures that will ensure those claiming refugee status are in fact refugees.

We’ve done it in the past and there is nothing wrong with having a standard today.

 

 

Whew, I’m glad that’s over

Don’t know who won, DON’T REALLY CARE!

All I can say is that either way I’m glad it’s over.

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Over the past year I’ve been so disgusted with the antics of our “Leaders” all I wanted to do was vomit.

What made things particularly difficult was that I couldn’t help but feel an impending sense of doom.

I suspect that the fallout will continue for months, but I’m glad that the insanity will drop back to a dull roar instead of being front & center.

I will be interested to see which of the Elite, oh so important actors and actresses do in fact, leave the USA. A lot of them have said they’ll leave if this candidate, or that one wins. I’m curious if they’re really people of principals or if they were just trying to stay relevant.

Now, in the aftermath I have questions.

Will Twitter fold and pass from the ether like a bad dream? Will Facebook still kick on and how will continued imposition of draconian terms of service affect them?

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Will the media start reporting the actual events of the day without infinite spin? (Not holding my breath about this one.)

What I’d like to see is a renaissance of News, you know, like it was in the old days after the yellow journalism scandals of the early 20th century. 

I’m unconvinced that there was ever a time when Journalists had absolute integrity. I do long for a time when they at least managed to keep up appearances by actually doing investigative work instead of publishing shit from the internet as true and factual.

I am by no means a journalist. Nor do I play one on TV.

This blog is not news, it is not journalism, and nothing you read here should ever be construed as the absolute truth. 

This blog is a vanity, an opinion piece, a place where I can show my ignorance or intelligence often within the same posting. 

Like assholes, everyone has an opinion and within these pages you’ll be able to see mine.

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Occasionally, I’ll hit on some truism, or note something that might be newsworthy or at least thought provoking. I refuse to accept responsibility for how you react to any information you may read herein.

(Unless you come up with the next million dollar idea… then I want 10%)

My point is that it’s over.  The next President of the United States is going to be mostly irrelevant. No matter which one it is, they are not imperials, they will be constrained by laws and purse strings and the folks controlling those things are by far more corrupt than; as South Park put it, Douche or Turd Sandwich.

As an aside, I find it hysterical that of all the stuff coming in over the TV, a risqué animated show that is often aimed at lampooning sacred cows, is more often than not brutally honest, in it’s representation of cultural events or movements.

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I guess that harkens back to the roots of cartoons, caricatures, and comedy. 

I don’t know if it’s ever been said this way before;

A single bitter truth delivered amidst laughter is more effective than a thousand truths delivered in a court room.

I suspect that media will be forever changed by this election.

The people have generally lost faith in a lot of things;

News, Government, our leaders, our police, the FBI, having control over what happens in our own communities, or even in the ability to change the things we don’t agree with or like.

Vincenzo Camuccini La morte di Cesare

We haven’t had a knifing on the Senate floor, but somehow I can’t stop from wondering if we missed the Et Tu Brute moment a couple of decades ago. I wonder if this is what the average Roman citizen felt like in the years following Caesar’s assassination.

If this is what they felt… Well, we know what comes next.

It Begins

Once again I find myself at odds with a woman in power. She’s not even in a position of anything but minimal authority. But like so many women she apparently thinks she’s got something to prove.  Unfortunately, an older white guy presents her with an easy target. 

The older white guy in this case is me. Either I must look weak, or she figures with all the recent events, “the old guy won’t fight back because he’s white, male, and knows I’ll win.”


Here’s the crux of the issue. The rules at work say, “Document everything.” The time it takes to do this, in part due to some of the shittiest software I’ve ever seen, the complexities of proper reporting, and my admitted unfamiliarity with said software, plus a steep learning curve means that sometimes I may take 15 minutes or so collecting information or filling out the documents in the right way.  Sometimes longer, If I have to ask questions.

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That being said, I’m taking more calls every day, I’m documenting things better every day, and I’m getting better every day at doing all this.

I know I’m improving and I know this because Each day I’m more comfortable and not spending as much time figuring out the “usual” stuff.

The totally wacky stuff on the other hand takes a lot of time. Especially if you’ve got someone on the phone who is randomly talking about every thing they’ve ever had happen to them. It’s being recorded, and so you can be chastised for missing or not reporting things too.

Enter little miss twinkle twat…

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Who walks up to my work area and never bothers to introduce herself or even say hello…

“Can I help you????” said with a sneer or nasty edge, is not what someone says when they’re honestly interested in helping.

We all know it. The implied message is “YOU’RE NOT WORKING FAST ENOUGH” or “GOD! WHY IS THIS FOOL BOTHERING ME?”

And that means, that no matter how fast, or good you ever become… You’ll never be good enough.

My response was neutral, “Nope thanks, I was just documenting all the issues a call raised.”

OOOPPPSSS! Not the right answer. This is the problem men always have with the question “Does this dress make my ass look fat?

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In retrospect I probably should have said, “Yes, oh I’m so glad you’re here and thank you for your assistance I couldn’t have possibly done anything without your intervention.

But I’m kind of Harry Potter in that regard.

I shouldn’t tell lies.

Oppps, water under the bridge. 


The whole call / documentation process itself is somewhat problematic. Calls come in, problems are documented. If they’re not documented correctly, an oversight team sends the documentation back telling you what is wrong and to make corrections.

The problem is, this process is by necessity asynchronous. This means that by the time you’re being asked for corrections, days or weeks have gone by and now you have to research what was happening and try to recall why you did something the way you did.

Add to that, being saddled with a non-standard keyboard that you’re chasing all over the table and having to keep up answering phone calls and you’re always behind in everything and under stress.

My nature is to front load the process and do things ”Right” the first time. Apparently, that is not the philosophy of this “supervisor”

She’s also very new to the management scene. She’s not yet learned that whipping the slaves can be effective, but that whipping the slaves too hard, or often, inevitably leads to revolt.

Initially I assumed that all the new folks, (Like me) were under her scrutiny and being asked, “CAN I HELP YOU?”

As it turns out, apparently, I’m special.

Which ties back to my initial suspicion that she’s looking to make an example of someone and I’m the “Soft” target.

The first time, I wrote it all off to just her being concerned that I was taking too much time in the documentation process. Then IT relented and gave me a “Real” keyboard. Huzzah! I can freaking type again! So I’m accelerating and streamlining the way I do things and picking up helpful hints along the way.

The second time, I was surprised when I got the “CAN I HELP YOU?” because I was in fact working more efficiently and taking more calls. “Meh, whatever…”

She’d come over to my work area, from her work area on the far side of the building to ask her question. I was in the midst of documenting 12 issues from the last call, not including the actual corrective action.

The third time, she sent a higher level manager to check on me. OK Now, I’m pretty sure, we’ve got some kind of perceived issue… But no-one is being forthcoming about what that issue may be.

Yesterday, she was particularly nasty, while I was packing up to leave. I had one of those moments where you’re tired and I was checking around my desk area to make sure I wasn’t leaving something behind or undone and she happened to be speaking to one of her peers. I was standing there scanning my area and she interrupted her conversation to turn and look at me with what I can only describe as open hostility, “CAN I HELP YOU?”

“Uh, no… Just packing up to leave…” I answered very confused by her attitude.


When I was very young, I fought back, playing the same nasty political games, as my opponent. As I matured, I’ve tried ignoring situations like this, hoping they would go away. Later in my work life I tried more centrist positions between the two.

Where I played the political games, I won. Typically, I win, by using a scorched Earth policy. This is effective as hell but doesn’t win you many friends, and usually leaves you at the bottom of the list for promotion.

Where I tried to be “above it” I lost. In both cases I was completely miserable.

Trying more centrist positions, was just exhausting. Keeping track of all the bullshit and mounting moderate defenses takes a lot of time and thought. Time that I think is better spent doing the job I’m actually being paid to do. I know… What a fucking concept!

Memorial Day, had HR been in I’d have been in their office nipping this shit right in the bud.

Yesterday, I decided it was far more important for me to get the hell out of work and on my way home. I was tired and usually when I’m tired I tend to be a bit more direct than I would be otherwise. Folks sometimes have a problem with my “moderate” directness, I can guarantee there’d have been a major problem if I was completely unfiltered.

After being pissed off about the situation on Sunday and then pissed off again on Monday, I slept on it.

I’ve decided I’m going with a more centrist position. I think I’m going to talk to the higher level manager that she drew into this situation. I’m just going to bluntly ask what I’m doing wrong.

I’ll see if this situation is salvageable. If I get some guidance, I’ll implement what I’m told to do. If that helps, great, I suspect that it won’t, and am therefore going to begin looking for another place to be either within the company or, (more likely) outside the company.

However, I’ve also decided that if this crap continues…  I’m going to put the company’s “Zero Tolerance” policies to the test. 

If little miss annoying continues her passive aggressive harassment I’m going to file a complaint. Let’s see how Zero Tolerance works when the aggressor is a woman and the victim is a white male.

Should be interesting…

My instincts tell me that this will not end well, but I feel like I have no choice but to respond.

So twinkle twat, this old white boy ain’t gonna get fucked over AGAIN… Let’s fucking dance!

It’s Called Free Speech Dumbasses!

Constitution

Which I should add is technically what you’re engaging in when you protest by marching, and holding up signs expressing your opinions.

This is part of what the First Amendment is about, and is one of the most cherished rights we have in America.

Amendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

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However, once your start throwing punches, vandalizing property, tossing bricks, burning down buildings, or stealing cases of tampons because that’s all that was left to take from the CVS… Well you’re no longer engaging in free speech; now you’ve just become a bunch of thugs, and thieves.

They used to teach this stuff in school. It was called Civics.  I remember having Civics classes off and on throughout Elementary, Junior High, and High School.

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Of course, for the most part… I ATTENDED school and learned enough about the workings of our government to be able to operate in society. (Stuff like stop when the cops tell you to, don’t steal, vandalize, rape, or otherwise harm others, be polite and let others have their say, 

Apparently, that educational effort was lost on the crowds rioting in Chicago, or the idiot young adults on college campuses today.

I digress.

If Donald Trump wants to speak, he has every right to do so. Just like you. The same goes for Ben Shapiro, or Milo Yiannopoulos events on college campuses. 

If you get tossed out of an event where other people (equal in their rights to you, by the way,) have PAID or chosen to hear the speaker, then I see that as perfectly fine too.

If you’re going to disrupt an event that others are interested in attending, you special snowflake, are the aggressor, not the crowd. You had the option not to attend a rally, or speaking event, and you chose to attend and be disruptive. You also had the opportunity to leave if / when you found the topic of discussion offensive.

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Here ends your lesson on Free Speech and the first Amendment.

Perhaps tomorrow we’ll move on to freedom of religion, and how Islam, must be equal to Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, or every other religion, or the choice by some people to not believe in a higher power.

I know it’s hard for some people to understand, but no religion or belief system is to be treated as superior to another here in America. I promise, I’ll use small words.

 

OMG! This is spooky

Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore

I’m no fan of Trump.

I think he’s a bully. If he wins the nomination I’m honestly not sure what will happen. Obviously, it will become a race between Hillary and Trump. That being said how the hell do I vote?

Cast my vote for Hillary whom I believe should be indicted for criminal behavior against the United States of America OR cast my vote for a guy who is, at best is unsavory and at worst is a nasty bully?

Do I not vote at all? 

I’m not convinced that is the right course of action either. Not participating doesn’t actually register a disagreement with the establishment.

I think the serious question that needs to be asked is WHY are so many voters turning out for Trump?

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I think this speaks to a serious dissatisfaction with the status quo. How many of us over the past 24 years have found ourselves voting for the least objectionable candidate?

This isn’t what our electoral process is supposed to be. We should be voting for the best candidate. The candidate that is best able to unify us, and provide guidance not for themselves, select groups, or special interests, but for all the people in this country.

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Who do these candidates represent? 

We the People? Or more likely the power elite…

Clinton is certainly associated with the Washington Elite. Trump is obviously connected with the wealthy power brokers and I question, if he had to decide between the people or the power brokers of American business which would he choose?

I suspect that the people would lose.

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The problem is We The People can’t take another four years of losing.

So where does that leave those of us who want our country to be unified and moving forward?

Nowhere.

I once described the kind of person I wanted as a president. 

Ambassador Sarek

My thoughts on the matter haven’t changed.

I want a president with the following qualities; a statesman, honesty, conviction, and honor, someone for whom logic, not emotion and rhetoric, is first nature.

Thus far I’ve seen nothing even close to that from any of the candidates.

If he were real, I’d vote for Sarek in a minute!