REI bashing



P

Peter Cole

Guest
Ron Ruff wrote:
> On Oct 8, 10:48 pm, A Muzi <[email protected]> wrote:
>> I think we've all had jobs which involved lots of hard work for little
>> recompense. Hopefully we've wised up. It's part of real-world education.
>> There's no virtue in suffering for its own sake.

>
> This always comes up and it baffels me. Regadless of whether a
> particular individual can potentially "wise up" and find a good paying
> job, when you look at the totallity of our society, wages are down,
> and low paying jobs are the growing sector. A generation and two ago
> pretty much anyone willing to work could find a secure job, make
> enough to live well and raise a family (with their wife at home!) with
> full health coverage, get a nice pension, etc.
>
> So is it progress that the same person would have to do something
> exceptional today, in order to live as well? And how has this
> happened? With productivity up and with us importing products produced
> by slave labor there should certainly be more wealth than in the
> past... but where has it gone? It seems that things are shifting ever
> more towards a large and low-payed "servant" class where the middle
> class used to be, which allows the wealthier folks to siphon off a
> greater share of the pie.
>


What gets me is that whenever a political candidate brings this up
they're shouted down with accusations of "class warfare!".
 
A

A Muzi

Guest
> A Muzi <[email protected]> wrote:
>> I think we've all had jobs which involved lots of hard work for little
>> recompense. Hopefully we've wised up. It's part of real-world education.
>> There's no virtue in suffering for its own sake.


Ron Ruff wrote:
> This always comes up and it baffels me. Regadless of whether a
> particular individual can potentially "wise up" and find a good paying
> job, when you look at the totallity of our society, wages are down,
> and low paying jobs are the growing sector. A generation and two ago
> pretty much anyone willing to work could find a secure job, make
> enough to live well and raise a family (with their wife at home!) with
> full health coverage, get a nice pension, etc.
>
> So is it progress that the same person would have to do something
> exceptional today, in order to live as well? And how has this
> happened? With productivity up and with us importing products produced
> by slave labor there should certainly be more wealth than in the
> past... but where has it gone? It seems that things are shifting ever
> more towards a large and low-payed "servant" class where the middle
> class used to be, which allows the wealthier folks to siphon off a
> greater share of the pie.


I think you may be focusing on a small aspect of our culture generally
becoming more efficient and the real cost of goods (including especially
food) dropping dramatically over time.

I believe there's also a disconnect about 'jobs' which have been reified
in the general political discourse. A minimum skill 'minimum wage' job
is a positive entry point to the labor market and builds skills. To say
a 'family of four' can't live well on MW is to focus myopically and
ignore the strong disincentive to employment that high MW gives to young
and marginal employees. If you can't find any job, you can't move up
from that first job as your character and skills improve.

An alternate such as complete state control of labor could theoretically
ensure everyone has a permanent job but at the cost of not fully
utilizing anyone's potential and forgoing the huge benefit of risk in
the culture. If one settles for stasis, one gives up change!
--
Andrew Muzi
www.yellowjersey.org
Open every day since 1 April, 1971
 
A

A Muzi

Guest
> A Muzi <[email protected]> wrote:
>> I think we've all had jobs which involved lots of hard work for little
>> recompense. Hopefully we've wised up. It's part of real-world education.
>> There's no virtue in suffering for its own sake.


Ron Ruff wrote:
> This always comes up and it baffels me. Regadless of whether a
> particular individual can potentially "wise up" and find a good paying
> job, when you look at the totallity of our society, wages are down,
> and low paying jobs are the growing sector. A generation and two ago
> pretty much anyone willing to work could find a secure job, make
> enough to live well and raise a family (with their wife at home!) with
> full health coverage, get a nice pension, etc.
>
> So is it progress that the same person would have to do something
> exceptional today, in order to live as well? And how has this
> happened? With productivity up and with us importing products produced
> by slave labor there should certainly be more wealth than in the
> past... but where has it gone? It seems that things are shifting ever
> more towards a large and low-payed "servant" class where the middle
> class used to be, which allows the wealthier folks to siphon off a
> greater share of the pie.


I think you may be focusing on a small aspect of our culture generally
becoming more efficient and the real cost of goods (including especially
food) dropping dramatically over time.

I believe there's also a disconnect about 'jobs' which have been reified
in the general political discourse. A minimum skill 'minimum wage' job
is a positive entry point to the labor market and builds skills. To say
a 'family of four' can't live well on MW is to focus myopically and
ignore the strong disincentive to employment that high MW gives to young
and marginal employees. If you can't find any job, you can't move up
from that first job as your character and skills improve.

An alternate such as complete state control of labor could theoretically
ensure everyone has a permanent job but at the cost of not fully
utilizing anyone's potential and forgoing the huge benefit of risk in
the culture. If one settles for stasis, one gives up change!
--
Andrew Muzi
www.yellowjersey.org
Open every day since 1 April, 1971
 
R

Ron Ruff

Guest
On Oct 9, 11:49 am, A Muzi <[email protected]> wrote:
> An alternate such as complete state control of labor could theoretically
> ensure everyone has a permanent job but at the cost of not fully
> utilizing anyone's potential and forgoing the huge benefit of risk in
> the culture. If one settles for stasis, one gives up change!


I'm certainly not in favor of that! I wouldn't advocate a return to
powerful labor unions either, but the way that the PTB are controlling
the labor in this country is resulting a reduction in living standard
for most of the citizens, and there is no sane reason why this should
be happening. Per hour productivity and total hours worked have both
increased dramatically in the last few decades... so why should we be
poorer? Where is the money going? If our "potentials" are being fully
utilized, then why aren't we wealthier?

And the argument for why the minimum wage needs to be kept low is just
silly. The reason why the "young and marginal" can't easily find those
jobs is because college grads are taking them instead! Sure, we have
low unemployment... but when the alternative is living on the streets,
the unemployment rate will always be low.
 
V

vey

Guest
Jim Behning wrote:

a classic example of telling more about himself than the topic at hand.

While he spoke and thought about his parents as being "middle class",
parents earning 10 times less and 10 times more were also telling their
children that they were "middle class."

And that is what I was told.

My father was an electronics technician (he didn't call himself that)
when Jim Behning's father was an engineer. His father's draftsman earned
more than my father did. It was my father that had to take what his
father said would work and actually make it work in the field because
his father or his draftsman had overlooked a few "minor" things -- like
polarity.

His father did not have to deal with the customer standing right there
behind him, demanding to know what the holdup was while my father was
scratching his head to figure out exactly what was really meant rather
than what was really drawn. The customer had been told by the salesman
that things would work right away.

My father earned ten times less than Jim Behning's father. His father's
draftsman made more than twice as much as my father. Yet my father made
what they had dreamed up work. Or not.

My father managed to rear a family of a wife and four children on a 10th
of what Jim Behning's family earned. It was not much more than minimum
wage -- not even double minimum wage, but that was considered "good pay"
in this area because he worked for a big company. If he had worked for a
small company, his pay would have been even less. The union made sure he
had medical and retirement. Even today, that is the exception here, not
the rule.

There were and still are breadwinners in retail. Go to a Sears store and
go to the appliance section. There, you will find a few well dressed
salesmen that work mostly for commissions. They know more than you will
ever learn on the internet.

There used to be such commissioned types in the TV department, but
"everybody" figured out that "they" were smarter than those silly
salesmen. We regularly read their complaints now on the internet.
 
V

vey

Guest
vey wrote:

>
> There used to be such commissioned types in the TV department, but
> "everybody" figured out that "they" were smarter than those silly
> salesmen. We regularly read their complaints now on the internet.


I forgot to say that those TV department salesmen made more than my dad
did. In fact they used to tell my dad that he was wasting his time and
that he ought to join them because thy were making "east money."
 
T

Tom Sherman

Guest
[email protected] aka Joshua Putnam wrote:
> In article <[email protected]>, "Tom \"Johnny
> Sunset\" Sherman" <[email protected]> says...
>
>> Could not most executives be replaced by someone much less expensive,
>> who would do the job equally well (especially in the US, where they are
>> paid many times more than their counterparts in other developed nations)?

>
> That's an interesting thought experiment.
>
> The unemployment rate is very low right now, especially among collge
> graduates. How easily could you find an employee with the education and
> experience to replace a higher-level executive?
>
> Keep in mind that you're not the only one looking, there are lots of
> other companies out there trying to grow or replace retirees.
>
> This isn't about finding someone with the natural abilities who could
> eventually be trained for the position, you do that at lower-level
> positions. When you actually need someone with experience managing a
> few hundred people in a particular industry, how easily can you find one
> who is unemployed? Or how much do you have to offer to get one to
> change companies, or move to a different state?
>
> I know a few professional recruiters who are out doing exactly that
> every day, and they tell me it's very hard right now, unless you're
> looking for someone who has management experience in mortgage sales.


There are many managers of smaller companies who could likely do just as
well managing a larger company. Remember, top level corporate
compensation is determined by board full of other top level executives,
who scratch each others' back. There is certainly a disconnect between
corporate financial performance and executive compensation - the latter
goes up as the former goes down.

Why does the top level management of US companies get paid so much more
than Japanese companies, even with the Japanese company is doing much
better in market share and profitability?

>> Executives of larger companies get paid more, but do the really do more
>> work than those of smaller companies. I expect these executives do much
>> less than the sole proprietor of a LBS does.

>
> I expect you're right on quantity of work, but quantity isn't the only
> question. Does the sole proprietor of an LBS have the education and
> experience to make a corporate behemoth respond quickly to changing
> markets? If he does, chances are he owns an LBS because he opted out of
> the demands of corporate life, such as accepting relocations at the
> company's whim or missing out on family time.


You do not have to be a high level executive (or even middle management)
to have to accept relocations at the companies whim or missing out on
time to do things outside of work. Many relatively low paying jobs offer
the same "benefits".

--
Tom Sherman - Holstein-Friesland Bovinia
Beer - It's not just for breakfast anymore!
 
T

Tom Sherman

Guest
Andrew Muzi mused:
>>> -snip much-
>>> Tom "Johnny Sunset" Sherman wrote:
>>>> Many of the higher paying jobs are unethical, since they take a
>>>> greater share of the profit that the person contributes to.

>
>> Andrew Muzi mused:
>>> As decided by whom, exactly?

>
> Tom "Johnny Sunset" Sherman wrote:
>> Could not most executives be replaced by someone much less expensive,
>> who would do the job equally well (especially in the US, where they
>> are paid many times more than their counterparts in other developed
>> nations)?
>> What about jobs that mainly involve cheating the government (i.e. ALL
>> of us) out of tax money, or other businesses?
>> Executives of larger companies get paid more, but do the really do
>> more work than those of smaller companies. I expect these executives
>> do much less than the sole proprietor of a LBS does.

>
> If GE's board/shareholders thought they could get a better return from
> someone cheaper than Imelt, he would be gone tomorrow. 'Working hard'
> and 'returning value for owners' are not at all the same thing.


Not when the CEOs all sit on each other's boards and compensation
committees in an "old boys club". Shareholder resolutions are in almost
all cases, merely advisory.

> I think we've all had jobs which involved lots of hard work for little
> recompense. Hopefully we've wised up. It's part of real-world education.
> There's no virtue in suffering for its own sake.


Sometimes there are no better jobs out there, since the playing field is
tilted towards capital and against labor.

EVERYONE should be made to suffer poverty and deprivation. We would have
a much better society in this case. Alexandre Solzhenitsyn explains it
well in The Gulag Archipelago, on how he was improved by the labor camp
experience.

> You're welcome to the last word, I've spewed enough OT this week.


--
Tom Sherman - Holstein-Friesland Bovinia
Beer - It's not just for breakfast anymore!
 
T

Tom Sherman

Guest
Ron Ruff wrote:
> On Oct 8, 10:48 pm, A Muzi <[email protected]> wrote:
>> I think we've all had jobs which involved lots of hard work for little
>> recompense. Hopefully we've wised up. It's part of real-world education.
>> There's no virtue in suffering for its own sake.

>
> This always comes up and it baffels me. Regadless of whether a
> particular individual can potentially "wise up" and find a good paying
> job, when you look at the totallity of our society, wages are down,
> and low paying jobs are the growing sector. A generation and two ago
> pretty much anyone willing to work could find a secure job, make
> enough to live well and raise a family (with their wife at home!) with
> full health coverage, get a nice pension, etc.
>
> So is it progress that the same person would have to do something
> exceptional today, in order to live as well? And how has this
> happened? With productivity up and with us importing products produced
> by slave labor there should certainly be more wealth than in the
> past... but where has it gone? It seems that things are shifting ever
> more towards a large and low-payed "servant" class where the middle
> class used to be, which allows the wealthier folks to siphon off a
> greater share of the pie.


There is a class war being waged by those who wish to re-establish a
feudal society. They declared war on the New Deal as soon as it was
passed in the 1930's, and started winning in the late 1970's by
purchasing the mass media and filling it with opinions from right-wing
"think tanks".

The thing to remember is these people are not driven by want of wealth,
since they have many times over what they could use. The real goal is
power, which wealth brings. Poor people who are scared for their jobs
because there is no social safety net, deliberately higher than
necessary levels of unemployment and lack free time are easy to control.

--
Tom Sherman - Holstein-Friesland Bovinia
Beer - It's not just for breakfast anymore!
 
T

Tom Sherman

Guest
Peter Cole wrote:
> Ron Ruff wrote:
>> On Oct 8, 10:48 pm, A Muzi <[email protected]> wrote:
>>> I think we've all had jobs which involved lots of hard work for little
>>> recompense. Hopefully we've wised up. It's part of real-world education.
>>> There's no virtue in suffering for its own sake.

>>
>> This always comes up and it baffels me. Regadless of whether a
>> particular individual can potentially "wise up" and find a good paying
>> job, when you look at the totallity of our society, wages are down,
>> and low paying jobs are the growing sector. A generation and two ago
>> pretty much anyone willing to work could find a secure job, make
>> enough to live well and raise a family (with their wife at home!) with
>> full health coverage, get a nice pension, etc.
>>
>> So is it progress that the same person would have to do something
>> exceptional today, in order to live as well? And how has this
>> happened? With productivity up and with us importing products produced
>> by slave labor there should certainly be more wealth than in the
>> past... but where has it gone? It seems that things are shifting ever
>> more towards a large and low-payed "servant" class where the middle
>> class used to be, which allows the wealthier folks to siphon off a
>> greater share of the pie.
>>

>
> What gets me is that whenever a political candidate brings this up
> they're shouted down with accusations of "class warfare!".


Well, the mass media is owned by the upper class, so obviously they will
please their masters.

--
Tom Sherman - Holstein-Friesland Bovinia
Beer - It's not just for breakfast anymore!
 
T

Tom Sherman

Guest
Andrew Muzi mused:
>> A Muzi <[email protected]> wrote:
>>> I think we've all had jobs which involved lots of hard work for little
>>> recompense. Hopefully we've wised up. It's part of real-world education.
>>> There's no virtue in suffering for its own sake.

>
> Ron Ruff wrote:
>> This always comes up and it baffels me. Regadless of whether a
>> particular individual can potentially "wise up" and find a good paying
>> job, when you look at the totallity of our society, wages are down,
>> and low paying jobs are the growing sector. A generation and two ago
>> pretty much anyone willing to work could find a secure job, make
>> enough to live well and raise a family (with their wife at home!) with
>> full health coverage, get a nice pension, etc.
>>
>> So is it progress that the same person would have to do something
>> exceptional today, in order to live as well? And how has this
>> happened? With productivity up and with us importing products produced
>> by slave labor there should certainly be more wealth than in the
>> past... but where has it gone? It seems that things are shifting ever
>> more towards a large and low-payed "servant" class where the middle
>> class used to be, which allows the wealthier folks to siphon off a
>> greater share of the pie.

>
> I think you may be focusing on a small aspect of our culture generally
> becoming more efficient and the real cost of goods (including especially
> food) dropping dramatically over time.
>
> I believe there's also a disconnect about 'jobs' which have been reified
> in the general political discourse. A minimum skill 'minimum wage' job
> is a positive entry point to the labor market and builds skills. To say
> a 'family of four' can't live well on MW is to focus myopically and
> ignore the strong disincentive to employment that high MW gives to young
> and marginal employees. If you can't find any job, you can't move up
> from that first job as your character and skills improve.
>
> An alternate such as complete state control of labor could theoretically
> ensure everyone has a permanent job but at the cost of not fully
> utilizing anyone's potential and forgoing the huge benefit of risk in
> the culture. If one settles for stasis, one gives up change!


There IS a middle ground between government tilting the playing field in
favor of capital over labor (fascism lite) or crushing labor (fascism)
and a command economy (Leninism). Both are tragic perversions of
civilization.

The social democratic societies of Northern Europe allow free
enterprise, yet assure the rights of labor and provide the basic
necessities for EVERYONE (unlike the US). They have also provided much
more migration out of the lower classes during the last couple of
decades than the US (the complete opposite of what was true before [1]
that time). And in recent years, they have even started to outperform
the US economically. Average quality of life in these countries is now
better than in the US, unless you submit to the ridiculous belief
promoted by US think tank economists that quality of life can be
measured solely by material wealth.

[1] Although many in the US do not yet realize this, or are not willing
to admit it.

--
Tom Sherman - Holstein-Friesland Bovinia
Beer - It's not just for breakfast anymore!
 
J

Jim Behning

Guest
On Tue, 09 Oct 2007 22:14:54 -0400, vey <[email protected]> wrote:

>Jim Behning wrote:
>
>a classic example of telling more about himself than the topic at hand.
>
>While he spoke and thought about his parents as being "middle class",
>parents earning 10 times less and 10 times more were also telling their
>children that they were "middle class."
>
>And that is what I was told.
>
>My father was an electronics technician (he didn't call himself that)
>when Jim Behning's father was an engineer. His father's draftsman earned
>more than my father did. It was my father that had to take what his
>father said would work and actually make it work in the field because
>his father or his draftsman had overlooked a few "minor" things -- like
>polarity.
>
>His father did not have to deal with the customer standing right there
>behind him, demanding to know what the holdup was while my father was
>scratching his head to figure out exactly what was really meant rather
>than what was really drawn. The customer had been told by the salesman
>that things would work right away.
>
>My father earned ten times less than Jim Behning's father. His father's
>draftsman made more than twice as much as my father. Yet my father made
>what they had dreamed up work. Or not.
>
>My father managed to rear a family of a wife and four children on a 10th
>of what Jim Behning's family earned. It was not much more than minimum
>wage -- not even double minimum wage, but that was considered "good pay"
>in this area because he worked for a big company. If he had worked for a
>small company, his pay would have been even less. The union made sure he
>had medical and retirement. Even today, that is the exception here, not
>the rule.
>
>There were and still are breadwinners in retail. Go to a Sears store and
>go to the appliance section. There, you will find a few well dressed
>salesmen that work mostly for commissions. They know more than you will
>ever learn on the internet.
>
>There used to be such commissioned types in the TV department, but
>"everybody" figured out that "they" were smarter than those silly
>salesmen. We regularly read their complaints now on the internet.


My father had a daughter that suffered an umbilical cord around the
neck during childbirth. My father's daughter required expensive care
for many years. That alleged good middle class income was sucked up by
healthcare. My father always bought used cars and maintained them
until they rusted out. He had 6 kids. 5 of those kids got a bit less
because of the first.

I don't know what you called middle class when growing up. A lot of
the people in our church and school worked in steel plants and car
assembly plants. Those wages were not bad and were not any worse than
an engineer's. I can recall ridiculous wages some of my high school
buddy's made working double and triple shifts. We were not of the
families in church that got new cars every few years. Were not of the
families that bought new houses in the subdivision behind us. We did
not have plumbers and painters coming over to work on the house.

Father worked with the machinist making designs. Later worked between
engineers and test engineers setting up test procedures. Did he do
some goofy engineering? Probably. Did he get to make things work. I
think so. Boo Hoo to the he designed and left it for someone else to
make work. He made stuff work all the time.

Yes you are correct. My father at his last job did not have a customer
standing behind him. He did have customers flying around in space
though. In earlier jobs he had meat to keep cool, houses to keep cool
and other jobs that did have more down to earth needs.

I never said there were not retail jobs that paid well. Some car
salesmen do well. Some jewelry store people do well. Those that do
well chose better establishments to work in.

I believe the topic was should a person expect to earn a good living
working in a sector of retail that has never had a history of
providing great wages and benefits? Where my parents worked is not
relevant. You are correct.

If someone knew store economics here would be an interesting idea. Say
you believe that a fair wage is $30,000 a year for anyone working 40
hours a week in retail. Add in another $4,000 for healthcare. Add
$2,100 for employer taxes. Now that person is a $36,100 a year line
item. In a tradition retail that person is making 1,000 hours a year
and $6 an hour with no health insurance. 42 cents an hour the employer
pays in taxes. $12,840 for two employees to work the other person's
full time job. What do you get for that extra $23,260? How much does a
store that needs 35 employees spend. How much of the price of a
product you purchase is the expense of the store employees? I do not
know. If you know enlighten me. How much more would you pay every year
if you paid for folks to not be earning minimum wage for low value
added jobs? Would your boss gladly increase your wages that 10-20% to
cover your additional expenses? Some of this is a vicious circle. What
about supply and demand? lots of low skilled labor willing to work for
low wages. I do not believe the manager of a business is worth
thousands more than the worker bees.
 
S

still me

Guest
On Tue, 09 Oct 2007 23:09:33 -0500, Tom Sherman
<[email protected]> wrote:

>
>Connections and favoritism are more important than effort and ability in
>getting promoted.
>

Sad but true. There are plenty of people with ability an talent.
Promotion comes down to politics.

>The biggest improvement in government service sectors would be to
>prohibit nepotism and favoritism in hiring.


Heaven forbid! Where would all the legislators families and friends
work?

>Of course, you could eliminate overtime pay for government employees,
>fire one-third, and make the rest take up the slack. :)


You mean we should institute the American Corporate model of "work
smarter, not harder" ? We could try, but I think we'd save more money
by outsourcing their jobs to an off-shore labor pool.
 
S

still me

Guest
On Wed, 10 Oct 2007 09:44:44 -0400, Jim Behning
<[email protected]> wrote:

>I do not believe the manager of a business is worth
>thousands more than the worker bees.


Goddamn Communist!
 
R

Reid

Guest
Ozark Bicycle wrote:
> On Oct 4, 7:48 pm, Cruiser Joe <[email protected]> wrote:
>> this is hilarious....whether or not your agree with it:
>>
>> http://www.cafepress.com/reisucks
>>
>> lol
>>
>> Joe

>
> Buy yours now, the cease and desist order is on it's way!


Three things bother me about REI:

1) The quality of the store-brand stuff has declined. REI was founded,
in part, to provide better quality, more reliable stuff than what was
otherwise available from other places. These days, much REI stuff is
touch and go.

2) The expertise of the staff has declined. I think some stores even
rotate staff around different departments, but I might have the wrong.
This may be a by-product of expansion.

3) REI has traded a focus on selling quality, worthwhile products in a
few well-staffed, well-supplied places for selling things that people
"want" wherever it can make money. If REI's only goal were making money
- in other words, if it were a private business - I would understand
this and accept it. But, REI is a co-op that supposedly has other
goals. I don't believe encouraging foolish or irresponsible materialism
is among those goals.