Open Letter to Mass Retailers, From Mass Retail Grunt

I have an open letter to mass retailers of America, having been an employee of one such mass retailer for the past 6+ black Fridays. I may not have the hardcore inside figures, but by observation, the majority of frenzied money-spenders (who avidly shop the giant black Friday event which supposedly contributes 15% to the $400+ billion spent during “holiday” shopping) only show up for doorbuster type sales and little else. They’re not there because of the proximity to a holiday, they’re there for their precious deal on the specific item they desire.

Industry-specific retailers have enormous lines outside the door during the year for release-day events like the next big tech device — people seem generally interested in perceived deals on items they want regardless of the season, rather than shopping in conjunction with a season. Our store (not open 24hr) has several regulars who are waiting for the store to open on regular non-holiday days of the week throughout the year because of both everyday products (some of which are collector’s item type exclusives) we sell and just making our store a regular place to visit for friendliness and personal interaction of the same people, as if an employee were a kind of schoolmate or otherwise consistent common-interest type person to interact with.

Mass retailers should consider scattering out doorbuster type events throughout the year and emphasize less during the winter holidays. Sucker-punch or cheap-shot retail sales during the holidays generates far more irritation with the commercialization of thanksgiving and Christmas, than it does happy customers that would be willing to offer repeat business, from my experience.

Here is my proposal that you send your figures-analysts to task just to explore, at least.

1. Have more regular doorbuster spend-frenzy events throughout the year. They could be centered on things like a popular video game release date instead of a holiday. You might even begin to influence the date popular video games (or other retail industries that have pivotal season-based sales) are released, by making predictable scattered mid-year doorbuster type events. People line up outside our store for ordinary sales of release-day things a lot, not just on Black Friday.

2 A monthly cosplay or dress-up kind of event is also something to consider, such as a talk-like-a-pirate day doorbuster or a president’s day doorbuster event. This is one facet of consumerism-heavy conventions that is a major draw to foot traffic even among those not particularly interested in making purchases.

3. Make it a special point that the thanksgiving-Christmas season is just an ordinary facet of the year’s sales, with a reduced emphasis on doorbuster events out of respect for the season. That single facet would earn you a much longer lasting respect as a retailer throughout the year to generate loyal and regular shoppers instead of just a place to visit once per year during one particular doorbuster event. Your employees will less stressed by the season and be able to enjoy it more by being well rested, and you will need to hire less temporary workers and establish better long-term employment figures (and sales figures to support them). Being the retailer that first genuinely explored the Christmas de-emphasis concept could earn you even bigger cred.

4. Consider testing this concept out on a few scattered stores that perhaps are lower performers, but also on one or two bigger performers to see whether sales rise during the year and generate bigger numbers in foot traffic, that might perhaps draw media attention and generate foot traffic by people who take pride in the point of de-emphasized Christmas commercialism. Your store-card conversion figures might also leap because of an increased appreciation of the company and what it stands for, rather than eye-rolling cheap-shot tricks that seem to be the primary strategy.

Dear Egypt – Here’s How To Solve Some Problems

Dear Egypt:

You seem to have some trouble figuring out how to have all of your people represented by a single government. It would seem to me that the solution is to have several governments, perhaps hundreds, that each represent differing ideas. Perhaps several states within Egypt that are free to have those beliefs on their own and that people may move to if they wish to hold one belief or another, which will also agree to merely cooperate with other states that disagree on topics in the interest of forming states that are willing to peacefully coexist without reducing each other in violence.

I would propose several clusters of your citizens who possess general leadership skills to get together independently, instead of enormous protests, and form your own smaller states each with clear goals and willingness to work with the other states. Not to fight against each other, but to work together with other states to ensure that each person may hold the wishes that another state desires to support, under the common cause of “the freedom to live in a state that represents what I believe” even if those states disagree with one another.

Why do you insist on finding one enormous government to represent so many different ideas? The more representatives there are, the more clusters of people will be represented. Even if the current false government you have now limits you to 8 or 9 at a time in a group, representatives of those clusters of people can write down goals of that 8 or 9 could speak with representatives of other groups. Going out into the street and shouting is like a clanging cymbal with no orchestra. Amass a common writing of all your collected goals.

1. Gather in groups of 8, just to entertain the current regime’s protest limitations.

2. Write out all of the wishes of each person in the group.

3. Decide between yourselves which person will speak for the group.

4. Name your group somehow, but be flexible if another group tries using the same name.

5. Approach other groups about your group’s desires in a purely statistical way, not for debate.

6. Form special groups with special tasks, such as organizing what other groups desires are by category, organizing group names, group representative contact information, and others.

7. After gathering lots of information, inform the groups only about the people that agree with them.

8. Respect that other groups may have different opinions, but agree to coexist at least until you can get better organized.

These are just some ideas to try, and are perhaps too simple to deal with your more complicated situation that I have not well researched, but it is at least a direction to consider.

Sincerely, ablestmage.

Does a 4th Grade Textbook Claim Whites Would Never Elect Obama? NO. Here’s Why.

“Reading comprehension” is a skill that is taught in school to help children in the US understand what is being talked about in a passage, and dissuade them from making false impressions about what a passage is talking about. Here’s an example:

“Did you hear what Ned said? He said the buffalo are eating all the straw,” whispered Gary.

Based on the above passage, can you tell me who is making the claim that buffalo are eating all the straw? If you answered Ned, you have at least some reading comprehension. If you said Gary, then you lack reading comprehension to some degree.

The writer of this Illinois Review article apparently lacks reading comprehension, by writing an article about a fourth grade textbook as if it claimed that white voters rejected Obama based on his race, whereas the book is actually only saying what ‘others’ made such claims and offering no credibility to what they said.

If I were to say, “Among the list of offenses I supposedly committed, according to Jeffrey, I stole my mother’s car, punched my brother’s baby, and ran over my neighbor’s mailbox,” I would not be making the claim that I did any of those things. I would be saying what things Jeffrey is accusing me of, and that Jeffrey is accusing me of those things, and putting the weight of whether they are true upon Jeffrey’s credibility.

Now, let’s look at the textbook excerpt in question:

Quoted from the above text, first paragraph:

But some people said Americans weren’t ready for that much change. Sure Barack was a nice fellow, they said. But white voters would never vote for a black president. Other angry voices were raised.

The headline for the article, however, reads:

Case closed, wouldn’t you say? I would.

Does Goodwill Exploit The Handicapped? NO. Here’s Why.

(this article is a crosspost from my new editorialize-about-videos blog at but is written by me, no less. There is comment forum there, also)

There is a news article making the rounds from August 10, 2013 by NBC, anchored by Brian Williams and correspondent Harry Smith investigates about how, purportedly, the American company called Goodwill is “exploiting” handicapped citizens and only paying them “pennies” per hour and how unfair it seems — and fails pretty hard at providing much counterevidence at how this might be a good thing, perhaps even a great thing.

The journalism fails pretty hard on several levels.

First, the amount of people they interviewed for a single-sided article is way off balance. The “against” side had several employees, handicapped rights promoters and defenders, and experts to weigh in. The “for” side had one not-especially-convincing representative who makes big money with Goodwill and has a vested interest but wasn’t shown to really defend it clearly enough, and the other was an employee who makes the lower wage and is glad for it.

Second, the news article seems to suggest that Goodwill is somehow skirting the law, and even goes so far as to suggest Goodwill is using a “loophole” to exploit these innocent individuals. That is complete rubbish.

Goodwill is obeying the law. Loopholes are generally twists in wording that don’t specifically allow certain way to interpret the law that allow sneaky people to get away with avoiding penalty. The Fair Labor Standards Act that the news item references doesn’t dance around the issue — it addresses the issue of handicapped workers bluntly and directly. There’s no loophole involved. Goodwill is essentially driving 45mph in a zone marked 45mph. Goodwill is both respecting and obeying the law, that the Fair Labor Standards Act establishes directly.

Third, paying a $0.22 wage is most certainly ethical. At the current American minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, a wage of $0.22 per hour is [7.25/100 = 0.22/x], ((100*0.22)/7.25) approx 3 percent. Since by law, the wage of $0.22 is according to the metrics established that measure by how much capacity a person is able to work by comparison to a nonhandicapped individual doing the same tasks, the person who makes $0.22 per hour does about 3% as much as a non-handicapped worker. In the ordinary minimum wage market, doing only 3% work would get you fired, but in this case, the person who is only capable of 3% is permitted employment at the same rate at which a nonhandicapped worker is able to do based on the percentage the handicapped is able to perform. If Goodwill paid that 3% worker the full minimum wage, they would have to spend [x/100 = 7.25/3], ((100*72.5)/3) about $241 over a period of ~33 hours to get the same amount of work done as a nonhandicapped worker could do in a single hour.

What is happening here, instead, is that workers of notably reduced capacity to work are mercifully allowed to work in an environment that could be staffed by people who are much faster and leagues upon leagues more efficient, and are given a market-driven rate that is comparable to a nonhandicapped worker and is reviewed every 6 months to account for possibilities improvement of efficiency. The “but that could change” remark from the blind man and his wife in the above article could be taken both as “it could rise” or “it could lower” which is fair both to the employee and employer, under the law.

The solution here is not to avoid Goodwill. If you still, for some reason, believe these individuals need to be paid higher, I would recommend two courses of action:

(a) Write your elected officials. Being pressured to change the law to adapt to current circumstances is what lobbyists are paid by corporations to do, but that is also a power that you, as an individual, have right this very second to write to them to express your concerns over every conceivable topic. Write to your representatives about your concerns regarding the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, regarding Section 214(c).

(b) Become employed by Goodwill and work your way up thru the offices in rank and make those kinds of changes yourself as the leadership in charge of making those kinds of decisions.

To My Injun Brethren: STFU About Being Offended

Hi. I’m Mike, and my family heavily identifies Injun, Choctaw in particular. It has been family legend that both my father’s mother’s parents were full blood, and we have found them in the Dawes Rolls. My father is appx half, as we only have mere suspicion that his father had that mysterious percentage of “some” blood making my father some mystery percentage over half, and I am perhaps therefore a pinch over a quarter. (“blah blah indian princess”). My father is a singer and drummer for a local Order of the Arrow Lodge dance team and co-founder of a local annual Pow Wow fundraiser for city charities, and my brother has placed in national competitions for fancy dance. I identify heavily with the culture, although I have no particular merits toward the community other than looking the part — people often come to me asking if I come from such stock. I know enough that horrible mic setups with way-too-loud speakers, frybread, vendors, and kids with long straight black locks are essential elements to your standard pow wow. I am personally more of a gourd dance type.

I also know that you need to shut your pie hole about being offended by the Redskins or people who wear Indian costumes on Halloween. The eagle of sense needs to land on your head and drop a massive load of semi-digested skunk over your head so that people for miles will know who to avoid.

What you say you’re offended by, is your imagination, and nothing else.

The view that Indian costumes or the Redskins name is offensive, is only the imagination and lacks any wisdom or knowledge about the world as it genuinely exists. You are inventing a false, imaginary world in which your nonsensical offense actually has merit, and what you’re actually offended over is, in fact, utter poppycock.

If I came to you and told you evil should be eradicated, but you falsely interpreted my statement to be about eagles, what case do you have for being offended? Your offense comes from your knee-jerk reaction about what you thought I said, and not what I did actually say.

You must INVESTIGATE to see whether your knee-jerk reaction is ACCURATE. You check to be sure, that before you scream at them for favoring the eradication of eagles, that perhaps, they aren’t even speaking of eagles. I had said nothing of the kind, and you leapt to a sense of offense over your own failure to research the false impression your senselessness created.

In the SAME WAY, if someone uses the phrase Redskin to refer to a football team, or dons a Halloween costume for a festival with simplified Hollywood-style injun regalia, are they offensive? You can’t possibly even know unless you genuinely investigate whether that is the case.

If the person has no intent to offend by wearing the costume or using the Redskin name, then you have no basis for being offended. You are a rapist of their message, turning their NO into a YES in your own imagination, and becoming angry for what you have invented on their behalf, lacking any proof whatsoever.

You are looking at them from the distance trying to see whether they are a plane sending missiles to come attack you, without looking to see whether it may have even been an eagle come to land on your rooftop. You wouldn’t know if it did, because you’ve already made up your mind to be offended and refuse to budge despite overwhelming evidence to the distinct contrary.

You are making things up in your mind and then believing it. You are creating a false witness against someone. If you find out they meant no distaste, then your distaste in response is of your own invention. They are not consenting parties, to your intent to take away their innocence by interjecting your own interpretation into their blamelessness. You are a liar and you believe your own lies.

CNN, during the Redskins uproar of recent, aired a clip of some foolish man hoisting the metaphorical banner of offense for the use of Redskin using a dictionary definition as proof it was offensive — and that is utter hogwash.

A dictionary is descriptive, not prescriptive. A dictionary is a tool for assisting the research of someone who encounters an unfamiliar word and wishes to know how it has been used previously, as an AID to understanding what the user of the word MIGHT have meant.

The dictionary does not prescribe what users of words “must therefore have meant” or “erroneously used” in any fashion, the speaker of the words is the sole interpreter of what the word meant and in the specific context of offensive or otherwise.

In the absence of asking whether the speaker intended to be offensive, one might consult a dictionary to observe what most people have been recorded to have meant by it, but even that is no basis for becoming offended. You are making yourselves to be fools of among the highest order by using the dictionary as your proof. If you have no way to know without asking the person whether they intended offense, you are inventing a scenario in which your offense has merit and then believing it.

Some say the Irish are not offended by leprechauns in the media. “Because leprechauns aren’t real people,” you say? Neither is the Disney version of Pocahontas. It’s fiction. It is not claiming to be true. You’re offended about fiction, and yet insist to live in a fictional world based on fictional offenses.

They’re perpetuating a harmful stereotype, you say? YOU ARE INVENTING A STEREOTYPE OF OTHERS TO BE OFFENDED ABOUT. Right out of your own duff, you are pulling the idea that someone can be accidentally offensive, as if that were even possible. You are inventing a caricature of a person who needs to be more sensitive to the cries of Indians who couldn’t be trusted to tell a tipi from a toothbrush.

I went to Kenya on a church mission trip in March of 2008, shortly after their major post-election violence uproar. We visited the slums of Nairobi, which bordered the big city by a matter of a few yards’ walk. The slums of Korogocho are actually built upon the city’s landfill, and the poverty is fairly dire for many there. Many of the residents however, refused to believe they could just walk into the city and make something of themselves, and stayed in poverty because their father lived that way. “Our ancestors drank from this stank nasty pond, and so will we” is the sentiment I gathered from many attitudes. But, we also met a lot of people who lived and worked in the cities, and came back to the slums to minister with their wealth to those that needed it.

I can’t tell you what your family’s legends are, but let me ask you: would your grandfather’s grandfathers be pleased with their descendants sitting around FEELING marginalized despite any evidence to support it, and give you their blessing in confidence, for a people interested in the truth? Get out of your slum, old man, and walk into the city. Visit the city. There are no white men who hate you. The people using the Redskin name CHEER and PROMOTE a cartoon symbol that has NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU. You’re just making stuff up to support your own self-conceived stereotype that other people are perpetuating a damaging image of a culture, when in fact they’re cheering for a sports team. You are decrying the falsity of an image THEY OPENLY SAY IS FALSE.

Your ancestors will still be your ancestors regardless of whether they dance around in circles and pat their open mouths while singing incoherently. YOU reading this right now were not slaughtered by the disease of colonialism, but for some reason you have a chip on your shoulder against people who did not, themselves, marginalize your ancestors either. Instead, you have become your own poorly-perceived white oppressor by spewing a disease you’ve pulled right out of your own colonial bits, and inventing false crimes against people who you have never met. YOU are the instrument of perpetuation of a stereotype. You have grown intolerant of people who do not even possess the intolerance you accuse them of, and are your own enemy in the flesh.

Did the whites invent a false image of Natives and seek to destroy them? Certainly. Is this the example you wish to follow? You are mocking your ancestors by creating a false image of your white brethren who share many of your own ancestors. You may have more ancestors than they do — but do you wish to disrespect those that you do share, by inventing an offensive story and then being offended as if it were true? How are you any better?