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 [ BACK]  [NEXT]                       Issue #054 - 08/24/1997

Give 'Em The Business!

Business and Funny Business...

Hello Fellow Wage Slaves!
     Most of us spend the greater majority of our time dealing
with the company we work for.  I was going to say, fighting
against the company, but we'll try to keep this positive.  The
last few years have seen huge changes in corporate America, with
large, inefficient management systems replaced with small
inefficient ones.  The reality of what this means comes to you
about the same time you understand that 'empowerment' really
means you are going to be doing more work with even less help. 
Just keep telling yourself, they must have made all these rules
for a reason...  It helps a little to repeat that while you're
banging your head on the wall.
     I suppose I should make clear that none of the items in this
week's SUNFUN are from the company I work for, and none refer to
my boss.  I also have to make that clear because he does get the
weekly edition of Funnies.  No sense causing myself any more
problems than really necessary!
     Contributors this week include Kerry Miller, Jerry Taff,
Dale Frederickson, Sarah & Jeff Morsman, Peter Adler, Bob Martens
and Libin He.  Thanks to all of you for your contributions!  Now,
back to the salt mines for the SUNFUN Business funnies...
     Have a great week!


     Patrick and Daniel Worthing were charged in December of last
year with attempted corporate espionage.  Patrick had been
working cleaning some of PPG Industries' buildings in a suburb of
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, so he had access to information that
was left in the offices overnight.  In a letter full of
misspellings and grammatical errors, the brothers allegedly
offered to sell many PPG corporate secrets to competitor Owens
     According to the prosecutor, Patrick had sent PPG's
financial statements ("finacial" statements according to the
letter, providing "intimant details" that would be "of intrest"). 
Worse, the brothers had asked only $1,000 for all the information
Owens Corning could use, and had given PPG's own fax number for
return calls.  At his first court appearance, Patrick asked the
magistrate, "If we, like, fully cooperate with all the details,
is there, like, a lesser sentence?" 
                                        {Hi, Sylvia!}



   - American Express has upset customers in south Florida by
     mailing out promotional flyers packed in a red mailing tube
     with a string "fuse" made to look like a huge firecracker.
     At least two of the 20,000 cardholders who received it
     called the police, thinking a bomb had been left in their
     mailbox. (AP) 
          [ Don't leave home without it, or else! ]

   - Pepsi Cola, the soft drink giant, had a TV commercial
     promoting their 'Pepsi Stuff', in which you could trade
     premium points for merchandise.  After mentioning jackets
     and other items, the commercial showed an airplane landing
     with the message, "Harrier jet fighter - seven million
     points."  One guy, who discovered that you could buy points
     directly for 10 cents each, got an investment bank to back
     the $700,000 necessary and took Pepsi up on the offer.  It's
     a pretty good deal...  The list price for a new Harrier is
     $23.7 million.

   - Staples Office Supply Stores is currently (8/97) running a
     sales promotion on their 'house brand' of all-purpose office
     paper.  Doesn't sound like a very good deal, though...  On
     the wrapper of each package, it boldly states, "Buy 2 Reams
     Get 1."
               [ Save a tree? ]

   - Beatrice Food Companies offered a promotion in 1985 that
     offered a top prize of a trip to the Super Bowl by charter
     plane, valued at $20,000.  There were also cash prizes.  One
     clever contestant noticed that the 'scratch off' numbers on
     the cards kept coming up in similar patterns, and used that
     information to make over 4,000 winning entries.  The
     company, faced with a payout of $20 million, tried to cancel
     the contest, but settled quietly out of court when the
     winners sued.

   - In 1970, Procter & Gamble, the huge American soap company,
     hired sweet-faced model Marilyn Briggs to pose for the
     package photo for their 'Ivory Snow' brand of soap.  The
     idea was to pose her with a baby in a 'sweet mother' pose to
     give the proper image of innocence and purity.  To their
     horror, the executives of P&G later found out that model
     Marilyn was better know as pornographic movie star Marilyn
          [They did miss the opportunity to promote
          themselves as 'Brand XXX'.]

   - Ever hear of a company regretting a promotion because it was
     _too_successful_?  The Hoover vacuum cleaner company had a
     free airline ticket giveaway in England that resulted in the
     sale of nearly half a million new vacuums, netting about $82
     million dollars.  Only one small problem with that: they may
     have to pay as much as $210 million for the airline tickets! 
     The loss amounts to as much as $250 per cleaner sold.
          [ What happens when management operates in a
          vacuum... ]



   - The first 90% of a project takes 90% of the time, the last
     10% takes the other 90% of the time.

   - You can go anywhere you want if you look serious and carry a

   - When the bosses talk about improving productivity, they are
     never talking about themselves.

   - A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.

   - Experience is something you don't get until just after you
     need it.

   - For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.

   - He who hesitates is probably right.

   - No one is ever listening until you make a mistake.

   - Success always occurs in private, failure in full view.

   - Two wrongs are only the beginning.

   - Most work is accomplished by those still striving for their
     level of incompetence.

   - The sooner you fall behind, the more time you have to catch

   - If at first you don't succeed, try again. Then quit. No use
     being a damned fool about it.

   - Mother said there would be days like this, but she never
     said there would be so many.

   - Everything can be filed under "miscellaneous."

   - To err is human, to forgive is not company policy.

   - If you are good, you will be assigned all the work. If you
     are really good, you will get out of it.

   - People who go to conferences are the ones who shouldn't.

   - People don't make the same mistake twice -- they make it
     three times, four times, or five times.

   - If it wasn't for the last minute, nothing would ever get

   - When you don't know what to do, walk fast and look worried.

   - You will always get the greatest recognition for the job you
     least like.

   - Getting the job done is no excuse for not following the

   - On the other hand, following the rules will not get the job

   - The longer the title, the less important the job.

   - Once a job is fouled up, anything done to improve the
     situation just makes things worse.



   - At one company that seems to grab at every passing
     management fad, the top executives all went to an out-of-
     town resort for a training session.  They left strict orders
     that they were not to be disturbed, and even the executive
     secretaries couldn't contact them except by leaving voice
     mail. It was only after the top brass all returned from
     their secret meeting that the office staff learned the title
     of the training session: "How to Increase Teamwork by
     Building Communication Skills".

   - An executive at one company thought he was a possible target
     of the Unabomber. One day, a package arrived with his name
     and address, but no return address. He quickly called his
     secretary and said, "Please come up and open this package,
     it may be a bomb!"
          [ And be sure to bring some insurance claim
          forms, too.  Just in case... ]



     These are real quotes [mostly] from company memos...

   - New company policy: "You cannot work at a job that is rated
     higher than your current competency level. You cannot be
     rated at a higher competency level until you have worked at
     a job rated at that level.  You can not improve your
     competency level through training."
          [ We already knew we were stuck, thank you... ]

   - "This is to inform you that a memo will be issued today
     regarding the subject mentioned above"
          [ Take this as a warning memo. ]

   - At one company, the boss sent a memo to his assistant to
     investigate the possibility of cancelling the fire insurance
     and buying a used fire truck for the employees to man.

   - Email from one boss: "I just got another Email message from
     our office in Spain and it was still in Spanish. I think
     there's a problem with our Internet connection."

   - From a recent interview: "You are a top flight candidate and
     I see that you have a lot of education. However, you
     understand, that intelligence is not really required for
     this job."

   - Memo from an executive at one company: "Teamwork is a lot of
     people doing what I say."

   - "We know that communication is a problem, but the company is
     not going to discuss it with the employees."

© 1997 by Bill Becwar. All Rights Reserved.