A Suicide Mask…..

…or, how many American businesses destroy themselves by their own internal policies in which they treat their employees like slaves in the management’s/owners greedish pursuit of the almighty dollar and lavish lifestyles.

The mask covering over the internal corruption of businesses appears as outward success in the manner of opening new outlets/stores in different places across the country, which has the outward appearance of expansion and prosperity, but then operating the stores on the part time system, except for the few in management.  In this discussion I have in mind a company called Harbor Freight Tools.  I have an acquaintance who has worked for this company for two plus years whom I will call C.

A man who starts a business has the right to operate the business according to his own lights.  Harbor Freight Tool – henceforth called HFT – does not manufacture anything, but rather acts as a conduit, a supply line with retail outlets, selling tools and related items shipped to this country from overseas, mainly from China.

The first generation owner/founder of HFT passed the business on to his son and by doing so, found out his son was a  greedy, foolish wastrel:

http://www.vcstar.com/news/2010/jul/19/harbor-freight-ceo-accused-by-parents-of-looting/

…but it was too late to close the barn door after the horse got out.

As the owner is, so is the business he operates.  C started out as a minimum wage part timer in the fall of 2009.  C, as a self starter- a person who once learned the ropes needed very little supervision thereafter – believed he would not be long on the ladder’s bottom rung.  A couple of months after starting, he saw a notice posted asking if any employees might be interested in becoming members of a team which traveled to different stores around the country, either setting up new ones or rehabing old ones.  C believed this would be an opportunity for growth up the ladder, so cheerfully signed up for the offer.  The position included a raise to $9 hr.

The teams were made up of about 6 people drawn from various other stores, who mostly already had longer service time with the company than C did, so were already making better money than he, even after having his position jumped up to “full” time, which was a requirement for a position on the team.

Air fare to and from the various cities the teams traveled to was paid for in advance, however, a rental car was also needed upon reaching their destination; the payment of the rental was also payed by the company, however, gas was expected to be paid for by team members, who were then reimbursed after returning to their home stores after filling out the required paperwork.  Hotel rooms were also booked and paid in advance by the company.

The main glich in the system was requiring each individual to pay for their own food and rental car gas out of their own pockets, which the plan was supposedly to reimburse them for that expense after the trip was completed, for everyone was required to keep all their receipts.

Like all bureaucracies, the right hand never knows what the left hand is doing, and more importantly the individual team supervisors who sometimes, but not always, were separate corporate factotums, were not looking out for the team, but were taken up with their own personal life drama.  One particular supervisor was having wife problems and eventually after much rigamarole, he was sent packing.

Two or three of C’s team members were black females who provided more drama then actual work output which is typical of all workplace scenarios where women and men mix.  One had a drug dealer boyfriend.  All the women tried to get C to side with them in their various and sundry drama projects, but wisely he refused to go along.

In order for C to pay his share of rental car gas and his own food, he had to lay money by in preparation for his trips, which took money out of his wife’s pocket which she needed to put food on the table and pay bills while he was gone.  When he filled out his paperwork at the end of each trip and submitted it, there was always  a glich in the system.  The person in pay wouldn’t get his paperwork, so what he was owed was always in arrears, sometimes for two pay periods.  His pay period was two weeks, so sometimes his reimbursement didn’t show up for a month.

This went on for several months.  Eventually, an opening came in his home store for a position called “pricing coordinator”.  Apparently a black female who was in that position had broadcasted to all and sundry that she was leaving in two weeks, so C applied for that position and he got it.  But…she changed her mind, so because the white male manager has jello-for-spine, she, instead of being sent packing, is still in the same position and he now has two pricing coordinators, which is apparently against company policy.

The company has strict rules against overtime and the only ones allowed to get it are managers and assistants.  The problem is, they abuse it, because they are the on site determiners of who get’s it or not.  So they periodically put themselves down for a few hours or so, and to compensate for it they shorten C’s hours to make it all look balanced to their corporate masters.  The past two weeks, C worked 3 days each week because of this corrupt business practice.  C is supposed to be working full time, but because the manager let the black female hang on, the former is having to cover his tracks by manipulating hours and etc., so corporate doesn’t know he has two people in one position.  I don’t know what kind of hours she’s getting.

Many businesses have gone to the part time system to supposedly save money and to keep from having to pay so-called benefits – health/dental plans, etc.  It would be much better to pay their employees  a decent wage at full time and let the employee save up and take care of his own health care benefits like it was in decades past.  This isn’t going to happen of course, for as the whole system is dedicated to destruction, so the businesses and companies involved will also all self destruct.  There are exceptions of course, for I know of some business who realise their first responsibility is to their employees and not to the so-called bottom line, and having to answer to stockholders.

HFT is a private company and is not beholden to stockholders, which in a sense, is a good thing.  Some think that having a company go public and offer stock is a way to restrain corporate greed, and to a limited extent this is true.  The trouble is the hearts of most men is fully set in them to do evil.  “It’s my company, and I’ll do what I damn want with it!”

The son of HFT’s founder does not have the same philosophy of his father.  His only concern is himself.  The company’s so-called expansion / growth is just a mask covering the rot going on internally.   I don’t know if Mr Smidt is a jew or not, but I do know he operates his company like one..

C is now getting his resume together and has a prospect in the next state.

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About Brandon

73+ year old male living in an ideal location at an intersection of planes, trains and automobiles. Retired military.
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4 Responses to A Suicide Mask…..

  1. Pingback: Weekly Linkage: Phoenix Rising Edition |

  2. Ryu says:

    I believe you hire the man, not the skills. As you have written, an enterprise takes on the character of its creator.

    I knew how the story was going to end when you mentioned paying out of his own pocket. I have dealt with a similar issue on the management side; I spent much time calling India or the Phillipines talking to payroll for an employee.

    I wish I could say that C will have better luck in the future, but things are getting worse, not better. Outside of WN and some other subcultures, I don’t hold out much hope for wider society as it is now. I hope C doesn’t give to the influence around him and dedicates himself to the best he can be.

    • Brandon says:

      I assume you meant “give in to the culture around him?” Nope. He knows all about it. His prospect wants someone with his work ethic. Places like HFT just want a body to fill a cog in their machinery who is easily replaceable. They want hands, but not minds.

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