Capitalism Run Amuck

It took AT&T ten days to come to our house and attempt to fix our land line.  I say “attempt,” because it is not yet fixed.  We have to wait another ten to fifteen days for the digging crew to excavate the line in our yard and replace it.

When our phone went out, we didn’t call AT&T immediately, thinking the problem was somewhere close by, they’d fix it, and we’d be fine.  We had our cell phones, after all.

Telephone WiresWe went for days, and they didn’t fix it.  So we called.

AT&T likes to scare you if you dare to call requesting service.  If the problem is in your house, you’ll pay….. possibly hundreds of dollars.

Come and fix the phones, please.  We can’t stand to hear it ring (it still rings), to pick it up and hear only crackling noises that get louder and louder until you’re forced to lay the phone down and hope it never rings again.  It does, of course, and you want to stuff it into a drawer so you don’t have to hear it anymore.

So we called AT&T, and decided we’d chance the “inside your house, costs could run…”  They said the phone would be fixed by the 25th of the month.  That was ten days away.  I hung up, thinking surely it wouldn’t take that long.  But it did.  On the afternoon of the 25th, a repairman finally showed up.

As it turned out, we’d been in a queue.  Others with broken land lines had called ahead of us.  We had to wait our turn.

So why doesn’t AT&T have enough repairmen to answer repair calls in a reasonable amount of time, like maybe a day or two?  Because they’ve laid so many of their repairmen off.  Why on earth would they do that, when so many households are switching to cell phones, and those of us who are left can only take so much of their exploitation, mistreatment, and abuse?

Because the big-salaried people at AT&T want to hold onto their jobs.  In order to make their bottom lines look good in these hard times, they fire the people who actually fix the phones.

It’s happening all over America.  Companies are terminating the people who do the actual work, while company higher-ups hold onto their windowed offices and Mercedes and McMansions.  They sit in their leather swivel chairs and they put their feet up on the desk and with a shrug of their shoulders they terminate the little guy who works on the assembly line or drives the truck or crawls under the house to repair the broken water lines.

I heard that bit of wisdom – they’re firing the people who actually do the work – from a friend who came to our house to do some electrical work.  Steve is a remarkably talented person, X-Navy, one of those people who can fix anything.  And if he can’t fix it, he knows someone who can.

When he got laid off from his last job, the only job he could find was stocking shelves in a big box store.  He chose to work the night shift because it pays more than the day shift.  The company provides no medical insurance, but luckily his wife has a job, and her employer covers the family.

Steve is a qualified electrician and trying to get HVAC certification.  He came to our house to install a ceiling fan and to update our electrical outlets.  He can only come on weekends; working night shift messes with a person’s internal clock.  He’s not as young as he used to be.  We feel enormously blessed to have him.

In Steve’s working life of nearly forty years, he’s been “laid off” from five jobs.  In every single case, the company that laid him off went belly-up within two years.  Not because they fired him, he’s quick to say – Steve is a humble man – but because they fired the people who did the work.  In order to keep their bottom lines looking good, they fired those who built the cars, repaired the air conditioners, kept the systems working.  Management kept right on drawing their bloated salaries.

How long did they think they could keep on doing that?

In all five cases of which Steve was so intimately involved, the company limped along, top-heavy with management, stripped of the people who punched the clock and did the work.  Then they collapsed.  All five of them.

Take heed, ye corporate fat cats, the lobbyists you hire, and the politicians you own.  If you kill the goose, you can’t keep on feasting on her eggs.  She won’t lay anymore after she’s dead.

Who would like to meet me outside the movie theater on October 2nd?  That’s when Michael Moore’s movie, “Capitalism:  A Love Story” opens. People who have seen it say it’s his best yet.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply