Saturday, August 13, 2005

On the Joys of Being Propagandized

War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength

These are the three famous examples of Doublethink (described as "holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them") used by George Orwell in his great dystopian novel, 1984. Based on experiences I've had at work in the past week, I would like to add another: Punishment is Privilege. A bit of background is necessary to explain what I mean.

For as long as I've worked there, my employer, Very Large Financial Institution (hereafter abbreviated to VLFI), has provided a lunch for their employees one time each month as a "thank you" for the work we do. The lunch is always the same: Grilled burgers, baked beans, chips and soda. It's not much, but it's free (for us anyway) and everybody I know appreciates it. Alas, for reasons unannounced, VLFI has decided to stop providing this service to their employees. While I'm certainly not happy about this decision, what has really gotten my goat is the manner in which VLFI announced it to us. Did they tell it to us straight, giving the reasons for the change? Don't be ridiculous. Did they even state in plain words that they weren't going to feed us? Hell no. Instead we got a proganda fluff-piece that would make George Orwell proud.

The memo started with this: "Tired of the same old burgers every month? So am I!!!" As soon as I read this, I knew things were heading south. Nobody with any sense of self-preservation gets tired of free food. The annoucement goes on to state that, from now on, VLFI is going to be doing new and exciting things for their employees each month. Interestingly enough, feeding us is not one of these new and exciting things (neither is anything that will cost them more than five dollars). That's not to say that they're not doing anything good for us. Oh, they are. For instance, this past Friday they allowed us all to wear flip flops. Forgive me if I don't jump out of my chair with excitement. Last I checked, my flip-flops weren't filled with protein. They also don't go well with ketchup.

The most notable thing about the memo was that its sole purpose was to let us know that they wouldn't be feeding us from now on, but this inconvenient fact wasn't even stated. Instead, we were accosted with happy words and flowery language about exciting events and privileges (the privilege to go hungry?) we would be given that were designed specifically to dance around the simple truth that they don't want to shell out the cash for a simple meal every thirty days (that, incidentally, they've never had to pay anybody to cook because a group of employees always grilled it themselves). In essence, the messages (both implicit and explicit) were two-fold:

1. They weren't going to feed us anymore.
2. We should be excited about this fact.

What's that noise I just heard? Oh....that's just the sound of my intelligence being insulted.

But I'm not bitter. Oh no. In fact, I've decided to make amends with my gratuitously asshatish company. Instead of complaining, I've decided to make myself useful by providing for VLFI a new memo (free of charge) that they may use should they once again feel the need to make the lives of their employees yet even more hellacious. I think that this memo, unlike the one we actually received, gets right to the heart of the matter and doesn't insult anybody's intelligence:

Dear Employees of VLFI,

Due partly to a down-turn in markets, but mostly to the near sociopathic greediness and all-around selfiness of the Board of Directors, we will no longer be paying the monetary pittance it costs to feed you people a decent meal 12 time a year. We deeply regret that this decision was necessary, but we were not willing to take a 0.00001 percent pay cut in order to show you that we care. Please do know that we still consider you, our employees, to be our single greatest asset. And by "Considering you to be our single greatest asset" we mean that we create meaningless phrases attesting to this fact and paste them on company letterhead. That's got to be worth something, right? Right? Okay, we don't really think so either, but we also just don't care. The fact of the matter is that you simply aren't important enough for us to do anything nice for you. If you were in our position, you'd feel the same way. Not that you will ever be in our position, but if it ever happened (and it won't) you'd be just as callous and unsympathetic as we are. You see, we have the all-important Marketshare to consider and catering to your whims just gets in our way. We very much hope that you can understand this. If not, guess what? That's right - WE DON'T CARE.

Without a modicum of anything resembling sincerity,

The Assclowns Who Run This Company

1 comment:

Cath said...

Have you ever TRIED your flip flops with Catsup? Don't knock it 'till you've tried it...