Friday, June 24, 2011

What The Heck Is Wrong With People Today?!

As many of you know, a few days ago (June 19th) Ryan Dunn died in a horrible car accident. Almost immediately, across Facebook, Twitter, and the rest of the internet, two camps were formed. The first camp was fans who were sad at his passing and felt bad for his surviving friends and family (FYI, I was in that group). The second camp was filled with people who either said it was good he was dead because he was drinking and driving or forgot the fact that someone died and focused solely on the fact that he was in "Jackass" and drank and drove. By and far, the latter group was more vocal and annoying, and some of these trolls took it upon themselves to take the saddened fans head on. All this brings up an important question: What the heck is wrong with people today?!

A Random Hero

When you look at some of the posts about Mr. Dunn from the camp of "haters," most of them focused on the fact that he was drinking and driving. Yes, this is bad. I doubt anyone supports this. But a man died, and his fans were saddened by this. Shouldn't they be allowed to be sad over this? When Michael Jackson and Heath Ledger died, the trolls did not come out and play so badly. Most people were allowed to mourn, and the people who played the "haters" (me again) were small and not very vocal. One could make the argument that Dunn was a Jackass star who did stupid stunts while the others were an international superstar and a successful actor (overlooking the pedophilia and the string of bad movies), but that is irrelevant. All three men were actors (or musicians) who achieved success and had a loyal fan base. Now I am to believe it's worse to have died while drinking and driving rather than overdosing on dangerous drugs? 

On the other side, I found myself shocked about how I was feeling. When Jackson and Ledger died, I was amazed at how fans could muster up so much emotion over someone they had never met, but there I was, saddened by the news of Dunn's death. Most of the people who were upset by the news never knew him, never would meet him, and had only seen Dunn on television. What is it that causes us, as a people, to be sad over things like this? It's silly and a bit stupid. There's no reason to be saddened by a strangers death. But at the same time, if we aren't saddened by the news of someone's death, does that make us heartless monsters? Uncaring pricks? What does it mean? 

So what the heck is wrong with people today?! Why do people still have double standards about celebrity deaths? Why do people get sad over people who they will never meet (or places they will never go)? And why do people have to be dicks so often? For those of you who haven't heard, Westboro Baptist Church is planning on protesting any public service for Ryan Dunn. This is all ridiculous, but it's confusing at the same time. Should we condemn someone for dying from doing a stupid thing? Should we mourn the passing of a person? Should their accomplishments and life story affect if or how we mourn them? If people are entitled to their opinion, shouldn't they be allowed to act on them? Or is there really a time and a place for everything, and some things should just be left alone?

It's a lady or the tiger situation. How you answer should tell you about yourself. But think about the bigger picture. Turn on the radio or the television. People are tearing each other apart because of their beliefs and opinions. Now this is happening over a death. People today aren't allowed to hold opinions or beliefs anymore it seems like. If someone holds a views, out of no where someone else will be on the defensive and try to change that opinion. Try to have an intellectual discussion anymore and watch how fast it descends into a heated argument. Why to there have to be "haters" and "trolls?" Why does my opinion have to be a personal attack on you? It makes no sense. 

This blog serves as a perfect example of this. Look at the comments under a few of these posts. I have an opinion, and try to present them in a unique way. Then an anonymous reader begins to attack what I say in a hostile manner. I encourage discussion and differing opinions. That's what drives learning and development. But why has it recently become okay to attack people like this? Or has it always been like this, and it is just recently becoming more obvious? Ponder these questions for a while. Maybe you can figure out what's wrong with people anymore.

So is there really anything wrong with people today? Or am I just spinning my wheels here? Let me know what you think! Leave a comment or contact me! I would love to hear from you! 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Why Did Weiner Have To Resign?

I have a simple question. Why did Representative Anthony Weiner have to resign? I can find no real reason why he should have, except for one: unwarranted pressure.

I don't know much about lying about war (reality: I don't feel like getting into that in this post), but is his lack of good judgement a good enough reason to resign? I'm not defending his actions by any means. What he did was in poor taste, disgusting, and wrong. However, as far as I can tell, not illegal. I've been keeping up with this case, and I have yet to hear about him sending the pictures to any unwilling recipient or anyone that he knew for sure was under age (I invite you to prove me wrong. It won't be the first time I've had to edit a post for wrong information). 

Yes, the man lied. But honestly, stop and think about it. He was a representative that was supported by his constituency, he has a loving wife, and had a bright future in front of him. He had a lot to loose. When the scandal broke out, of course his knee-jerk reaction was to lie and try to make it go away as quickly and as quietly as possible. Again, I'm not defending him here, but I am saying, without condoning or condemning, I understand why he lied.

Now, here's the part that I really respected: he not only fessed up (it was only a matter of time after all), he said he would not resign. Why do I respect that? Most politicians would take the easy route by confessing and then running and hiding. Instead, Weiner admitted that he had done wrong and then chose the hard route by staying and facing his wrongdoings head on. That could have backfired had the people he was representing wanted him to go away, but a majority actually wanted him to continue supporting him (I always like a person who goes with their constituency over the pressure inside the government halls). 

If his constituents wanted him to stay, he confessed what he did was wrong, and planned to complete his term, then why did he eventually resign? Duh! The pressure that was put on him! He finally caved! I don't blame him (I'm actually surprised he held out as long as he did), but where was the pressure REALLY coming from? Clear and simple, the news media. For those of you who dislike hyperlinks, most Americans couldn't care less about the Anthony Weiner story, yet it trumped most every other story the news broadcast in terms of coverage. As a whole, people where more concerned about the bad economy than yet ANOTHER politician with a sex scandal. Let's face it people, it's the same song and dance every time, just different players. 

So with this massive amount of coverage of Weiner's...okay fill this in yourself (believe it or not, I do make SOME attempts to remain tasteful), is it any wonder that his fellow representatives and even the President called for his resignation? Think of it like this: one day you hear about a series of three murders in Benin. Have you even heard of Benin? I doubt you have. So you don't really care. It's just another news story that may make it's way around the water cooler the next day and that's it. But then the media makes a huge deal out of it. Constant coverage, analysts of all types, and queen bitch Nancy Grace herself causing a huge stink over three murders in a country across the ocean that you've never heard of before. How long do you think it will take until some sort of federal or at least Congressional call to action is brought up? Not long I'm sure. Why? Because suddenly it's all anyone is making you hear about. It's the same thing with Weiner. No one really cared, and after he confessed there really was no more story to cover. The media made it a huge deal, so all the big wigs had to do SOMETHING so that they could further their own careers. If they didn't, it would have spiraled out of control until several people lost their jobs in other scandals or lost elections because of their "indecisiveness" or because they "defended a pervert." Who wants that on their record?

It's too narrow-minded to blame just the media, however. A fair amount of tradition was involved too I'm sure. Just about every time a politician gets caught with his pants down or her skirt up, they resign and then fade as far out of the public view as possible. Weiner decided to not to resign and do the job he was elected to do, bucking tradition. I'm sure this rubbed a few people the wrong way, and I even remember hearing a news cast a few days after his confession saying he should resign just because that's what is expected from him. What wrong with that picture?

What are the ramifications of all this? Unfortunately, there are many, and they are long lasting. First of course is the special election that will be held to fill Weiner's seat. With the thought of a double-dip recession on everyone's mind, I'm sure the tax payers are none too happy with having to pay for another election. Second is that now the news media will see justification in over-reporting on some stories to get a desired result or more stories to report on. This will make it harder for many people to get meaningful news, or at least news they care about or affects them (Perspective: Anthony Weiner was a representative from New York. How does that affect any of the people in any of the other 49 states?). Finally, this perpetuates at least one tradition in our government (resigning after a scandal). I have no proof of this one, but it is my personal opinion that there is too much tradition build into our laws and legislative bodies, which is hampering our progress as a nation. All these consequences could have been avoided if coverage stopped shortly after June 6th when Weiner came clean.

To wrap all this up, I want to go back to the original question. Why did Representative Anthony Weiner have to resign? I put forth my argument. It was mostly due to over-coverage and run-of-the-mill political bullcrap. But I'm interested in what you think. Did he really need to resign? Or could he have stayed in office? I'm interested in what you think.

Just for reference, here are some of the more important articles I used to write this article:

You read that last paragraph, right? Tell me what you think about all this! Leave a comment or contact me to present your own argument!  If you don't feel like presenting your argument or don't really have one, feel free to tell me what's right or wrong with mine. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

I Am Overhead, You Are Profit

Retail, service, and just about any other job seem to forget that one simple rule: Employees are overhead, and customers are profit. When the overhead slows or drives away profit, shouldn't the overhead be cut from the budget?

There's a certain amount of truth to this...

We've all been there. A bad customer service rep, a cashier that is more concerned about the end of their shift than doing their job, or the employees making themselves scarce once you enter the store. What happened to friendly, helpful service? And shouldn't the employees be grateful for the job they have, especially in this economic climate? I think the answer is a resounding yes.

Watch the news or pick up a newspaper. The economy may be slowly coming back (supposedly), but the jobless rate is still sky high. And it's not just unskilled workers that are hurting for jobs. Skilled and educated people are in search of work too. It's become so easy for just about any position in any field to be replaced. Employees are almost a disposable resource anymore. Sure, it may cost a bit to train new people, but if a company is getting rid of dead weight for a (comparatively) better worker, then what's the problem? Not only that, but a new worker starts off at a lower pay scale than the newly fired person was working at, offsetting the cost of training and then some.

So with this in mind, what does that mean for the people with jobs right now? It should be clear and simple: work hard and be productive. As stated before, employees are easily replaceable. But if an employee becomes a true asset to a company, then they provide their own job security. Sure, this sounds like common sense, but we all become complacent after a while. We get new jobs, do everything we can to prove to the boss that he or she made a good decision by hiring us, but then we find our groove, stop taking the initiative, and stop being as hard working. The boss may not take notice for a good while, but eventually they will, and then what? Fewer pay raises, fewer promotions, fewer attaboys, and then the new guy starts looking better and better.

Show initiative. Be productive. Smile. Help the customers. They're the ones that pay your paycheck. Use common sense, and your job is secure. The economy may be bleak, but you're future doesn't have to be.

What do you think? Am I full of hot air? Or good ideas? Let me know what you think! Leave a comment or contact me to let me know what you think!

Friday, June 03, 2011

Old Companies Need To Get With The New Ways

There's nothing, and I mean NOTHING, that is more annoying than a bad website (first world problems, right?). Now, amateurs have a pass at having a bad site to an extend. Everyone has to go through a trial and error period to find out what works and what doesn't. But when a corporation has a bad website, there's just no excuse for that. And even if a corporation has a great website, customer service and policy can destroy the easy at which you get your information.

I would like to call to this rant AT&T. I know many people don't like it just because they're, you know, pretty much the ideal image of an evil corporation who seeks to monopolize the market and put a choke hold on its customers. But set that aside for a minute. Take a minute and go to the wireless part of their website. Take a look around. Visit a few pages. Try to find out more about their plans and cell phones. It's okay. I'll wait. Just hurry back. Okay? All done? Pain in the butt wasn't it? Depending on how deep you went, you may have noticed that you had to continuously log in if you wanted to visit a different part of the same area of the site. They also choose the worst time to do maintenance, blocking off areas that have important information in the middle of the day, but opening them up late at night. I understand maintenance needs to be done, but they could have chosen a better time to do it, or done it faster.

Next, I would like to call to this rant Electronic Arts. Simple site, horrible customer service. And it's not even the people. Try contacting them if you have a problem. It's bad enough that you have to create an account to ask a question, but if you want to send a simple email, you have to all but tell them your Social Security Number, address, and name of your parents. Why should I have to tell them what kind of internet I have and do a speed test to give them the information they want? I JUST WANT TO FIRE OFF AN EMAIL TO A SIMPLE QUESTION! Another option is to chat with a person. And that's free too (I'm looking at you SONY!). However, I would enjoy talking to someone with a firm grasp of the English language (Maybe hire people who live in the country in question, creating jobs, helping the economy?). A person I was talking to just the other day was barely understandable (keep in mind, this was instant messaging chat), used weird contractions, and was not very helpful. Also, riddle me this: If I bought a product years ago, did not register it online, and lost the product key, why should I pay $13 for a new code, when I can buy the same game new from Amazon for $20?

I really would expect more from major companies like these. Amazon, ThinkGeek, and smaller companies have caught on to the simple, easy to navigate design idea and amazing customer service. These companies usually have more to lose than the bigger guys too, with the exception of Amazon of course. But then that only proves how easy it can be for a major player to be so good. So the final question is: Why do we still have to put up with these things?

Am I missing something? Or did I hit it spot on? Leave a comment or contact me to let me know what you think!