Wednesday, January 6, 2010

An Opportunity Squandered

Why is this old guy working at Wal Mart?
Because this is where he belongs.
When was the last time you were given good service at a fast food restaurant, big box store, or even at a gas station?
When was the last time you met a working man who took pride in his work?
When was the last time you received good service from any government agency?
When was the last time you felt as though you were getting what you paid for?
When was the last time you met someone who was actually good at their job?
(Instead of someone only being good at collecting a paycheck?)
Maybe this downturn in the economy is just a correction.

I know, I know...
Many people have lost their jobs and homes.
But how many of those jobs were even necessary?
Many of those homes had more space and luxuries than the occupants had need of.
How many of those jobs were just part of a government make-work program designed to get people to buy more than they could afford?
How many larger homes were purchased just so we could store more of our newly purchased stuff?
How many people lost jobs who were the best in their field?
How many people lost homes who could pay off their mortgages?

Maybe this economic downturn is only effecting the under qualified and overpaid.
Maybe this economic downturn will displace those who shouldn't have been there in the first place.
Maybe this economic downturn will wake people up to the reality that we must produce usable products and services instead of superfluous junk.
Maybe this economic downturn will inspire more people to be good at that which they are paid to do.
Maybe this economic downturn will help us to focus on that which is really important and necessary instead of our desire to keep up with what we imagine the Jones' being able to afford.

Maybe we grew too fast.
Stores like Circuit City used to be destination outlets.
One usually had to drive a short distance to get the good deal.
But stores like Circuit City got greedy and decided to become saturation outlets instead.
There was at least one store in every city.
But this growth (nor the need for it) could not be maintained.
How much electronic equipment did each household really need?
Stores like Circuit City just outgrew their consumer base.
Stores like Circuit City (and many strip malls) became unnecessary.

Another way to look at our economy is by comparing it to the NFL.
Remember when every team had a good starting roster with hungry but able bench warmers ready to fill in if a starter got hurt?
This is what has happened to our economy.
People who would have been sitting on the bench honing their skills were now the new overpaid starters.
Where once one had to earn his position - positions were/are given to under qualified people because teams (companies) just needed bodies to fill spaces created by the league's (our economy's) expansion.

But this has watered down the competition.
Many people who would have been on the second or third string are now being treated and rewarded as if they were all-stars.
This phenomenon is evidenced throughout our society.
How many reality "stars" existed two decades ago?
We have elevated the common to the status of the exceptional.
But maybe the party is over for these poseurs.
Maybe substance will begin to mean more than appearance.
Maybe only the worthy will be rewarded and the unworthy left to their own inabilities.
Maybe we should let our current false economy collapse instead of pretending that it is a solid paradigm. (Those who have true game will always be able to play - even if they have to form a league or game of their own.)
Maybe we should return to the values that made us rich instead of gorging ourselves on the wealth and rewards created by such work.
Maybe we are exactly where we need to be.


FreeMan said...

I agree with you 100% and that's why are recovery is just a stupid thought. There is a new low and the free ride of the ignorant and unskilled has come to an end. The car companies got to file for bankruptcy which wiped out all those pensions of people that haven't built a car for 20 years. All of the banks got to make a ton of money and only the stupid ones failed to assess risk properly even though that's what a bank does. The McMansions are going to be a sign of time gone past because who needs 5 rooms when the average family only has two kids.

Man life is rough and it will get rougher for all those who advanced because of nepotism and social advancement. To me it resembles a adjustment that is made by businesses when there is a peak and trough. You overhire for peak and fire everyone during slow times. The problem this time is the businesses that never played that game learned it and are finding out they can do more with less. It's a cold world but in the past 6 years made a lot of average people live above their own talents.

Mr. Noface said...

"But maybe the party is over for these poseurs.
Maybe substance will begin to mean more than appearance.
Maybe only the worthy will be rewarded and the unworthy left to their own inabilities."

One can only hope.

doll said...

I recently shopped at a store with excellent service and commented on it to my mother. She told me that all the employees are active shareholders and the business has built its reputation on good service. Several days later there was an article in the paper about its profitability and how it has been an outstanding performer in the retail market. I know I enjoyed shoppping there and would choose it over a rival, and it seems others have the same opinion.

Reggie said...

That'll be me one day, passing out hugs at Walmart. Stopping people and asking to see their receipts and sitting in that big goofy chair by the door saying "Good Morning", "Good Afternoon" and "Good night and come see us again".

I don't look forward to it.

Anonymous said...

What a great resource!