Posted by: guinness222 | July 30, 2017

The internet allows us to die in peace,….sometimes!

This may be a little biased, and a little ‘profane’, but this “blog” presents a couple of thoughts to really think about,….really.

Most of us, hold that thought, ALL of us will die,….it’s an absolute inevitable! But let’s say it’s a normal “regular, good old death”, sudden, heart attack stroke, etc. IF it has been a long drawn out process, like “the big ‘C'”, the word has been out for a while. But how do folks know you died? Now we are in new “cultural dilenma, “HOW DO ALL YOU FRIENDS AND AQUAINTENANCES KNOW?”.

Actually only 2 1/2 decades  ago the computer “infected” our culture, and forever began to make changes which will last until no computers exist anymore, or WE find ways to roll back the impacts!

For example, I took a job to manage a retail “outlet” store in 2000, after only working there part-time for a month and a half! I managed that store for 6 years thereafter, in a mall with about 100 other “Outlet stores,all high end, like Tommy Hilfiger, Coach, Saks Fifth avenue and many many more. They were all exclusive, including ours, which was a tool and household “outlet” of a Nationally known manufacturer. As you can imagine 90% of the problem with that is the fact that the “MALL” handled the majority of advertising, (Outlet malls concept is very simple, “We will bring shoppers to you because of the newness, the cleanliness, the large convieniant  parking and the GREAT mix of stores that EVERYONE already knows their product lines, by reputation market share, and we give you a real professional acceptance,…. IF, you are one of our tenants.” Downsides, they call the “mall hours”, the tenant has no choice and MUST be open during those hours, (as well as properly staffed and stocked), or be fined $$$$! AND that means the “Home Office” is disrupted, too many “little people” are blasted, while a “higher up” wants some bodies “head to roll”,…..all because the store closed without “OFFICIAL PERMISSION” (even during hurricanes!)

You throw something like that into a sleepy little beach vacation Island area, with probably upward of thousands of more retailers, malls, restaurants, and the usual recreational businesses, beaches, theatres, and NOTHING ELSE BUT THE COVERED MALLS TO ENTRETAIN YOU WITH NO ADMISSION, NO COVER CHARGE, NO MINIMUM PURCHASE REQUIRED, etc.) when it rains as the main “FUN and ENTERTAINMENT” for the whole family, “cooped up” in small condo’s, hotel rooms, or other “by the Day or Week” rental places.

CHAOS then ALWAYS, ensues, traffic slows to less than “stop ‘n go”, and if you live here you know never let the gas in you car go below 3/4’s of a tank to be safe,,…..well,  you see the problem potential.

As a MANAGER in this place, my biggest task is to find folks at minimum wage or slightly over, (minimum PREFERRED, “unless they had credentials from Macy’s or Gimball’s in New York”,  get all the appropriate drug screening scheduled, completed, and  done, run the appropriate background and reference checks, then get the “OK to HIRE” from a mammoth “HUMAN RESOURCES” machine in anywhere from a week and a half to three weeks later!! By then they are usually working for someone else. WHY? Because, as I said, it is  the nature of the area.

I ran ads, talked to State Employment people, followed all the “suggested corporate dictums to find good help”, etc. and at 55 years old, having been an entrepreneur and business owner for years. I realized the only people losing sleep over the whole thing were myself and my wife, (both from half asleep nights and “before the sun rose” risings, and two hour after dark getting home. AND that was at least six days a week if I was lucky, BUT seven days a week when/if the help just didn’t show up, quit (without telling us) or just quit because they didn’t realize how little a minimum wage  paycheck wouldn’t buy, PLUS  all the difficulties I just enumerated above that were a  “RETAIL JOB”.

About a month into the job I realized I had to find a better way, SO after work I roamed around town seeing who was available in  the area, and noting CAREFULLY if  I could do anything about it. I concluded that my best “target market” for employees was the “EARLY RETIREMENT” folks who are now bored silly sitting at home or traveling to children and relatives and friends to “visit”. Not only that but their disposable income had been seriously reduced, and they are all “BOOMERS” who were used to the wife bringing in a few buck as well. The “party” fund had dried up, and the dreams of that “65 restored Chevy were fading fast, BUT they had good work ethics, were high on the integrity quotient,….and wanted to do something they knew,….WORK again, but on their terms. I was more than happy to accommodate them, and they responded in spades!

It was the “GOLDMINE” OF A MANAGERS DREAM, I found retired advertising executives, Master machinists, Professional tradesmen who owned their own businesses for years and FORMER MILITARY OFFICERS, who retired early but the pensions were’nt keeping up with inflation and they wanted a “CHANGE OF DUTY STATION” and a chance to use all the skills they had learned over the earlier years. I’ll give you the point of this article in the next Paragraph.

So I staffed up with a seven man staff, (NO WOMEN DID APPLY EITHER!) As I got to the full up point of staff,  here’s what I had.  A full crew that totally respected each other, were totally mature, and had “been around the Horn”(old sailing expression meaning having gone around Cape Horn, one of the nastiest ocean passages known). In terms of Sales experience, technical knowledge and how to get answers to what they didn’t know quickly for customers they learned almost instantly. We ran with it for almost six years until the company when through a period where they decided to start closing the chain and re-focus their core business.

So now here we are ten years later and as of last week of my seven man staff, at least FIVE have passed away, and the point is not what about the other two of us, but HOW DID I KNOW THEY PASSED? Why? Because we in society now live in it has changed, RADICALLY.  We have computers, the Internet, Facebook, Messenger, Snapchat, and a dozen more. In fact I had recieved several “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” notices on Facebook to wish “so and so, and so and so” HAPPY BIRTHDAY,……but some of them have been dead for almost eight years!!

Even the internet usually does not allow us poor humans to die quietly, and the only way to “Let them go” is to “UNFRIEND them”, But then, you get a wimpy discourse from Face Book letting you know “We won’t let them know you’ve unfriended them,…trust us!.” THEY ARE DEAD,….I DON’T THINK THEY REALLY CARE ANYMORE!!” Nor can the dead sue them after they are dead!!

IT IS A FLAW IN THE SYSTEM,.. HAL!! AND YOU CAN’T FIX IT WITH A LINE OF CODE!!!! The point is we used to see obituaries, or contact each other when someone passed,….not anymore,……the written word, local newspapers and home phones are a dying technology, and so they live on forever or until a close relative closes the account. One the other hand how do you think people feel going through other people’s computers? It’s just easier to pull the plug, and drop it at Goodwill, or donate it to a local charity. They all promise to “scrub them, Hillary”, …and not with just a dishtowel!!

So how about a business called “The Removal Company, we close out your loved ones computer existence, after you approve, of course!

But back to my “crew” and our store, there are only 2 of us, my Steve man Team aware of life as we know it, anymore, as of today. One of Heart attack two years after we closed, one of Diabetes complications just following that, one of self inflicted gunshot wound (apparently a delayed PTSD from Vietnam Nam,) one, whom we lost tracks of , but he’d be over 90 by now, one who had a Stroke, and one last week that was 77, but I haven’t heard why yet, and his services were this past weekend.

Life is short, But my “CREW” was the best there was, and I’m extremely proud of every one of them!  I don’t expect they were overworked or “micro-managed” by me ,as my Job was the Manager and I always tried to be the antidote for Large corporate bullshit from 30 something “Regional Managers” who had never been weaned properly!

Rest in Peace guys, Johnnie, “Mikey”, John, Glen, and Bob. I probably never said it enough,…..but many Thanks,…see you later in my life for sure.

Tom

-30-

7/30/2017


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