Category Archives: Business

Organized Labor Rage (short fiction)


Daily Prompt: Non Sequitur

Write a post about anything you’d like, but be sure to include this sentence somewhere in the final paragraph: “He tried to hit me with a forklift!”

Patterson obsessed about making the parts for his company cheaper. They were loosing money and business because the competition was beating them on the cost of labor to manufacture the part.

For months he worked tirelessly over the objection and suspicion of his fellow union brothers.

It was break time and Patterson took his place at the break table. It was quiet except for break room chatter from the other tables.

Walter Suggs, a forklift driver, sat across the table from Patterson. A discussion began about Patterson’s efforts in cost and labor reduction. All were suspicious of his motives.

“Patterson,” Suggs said biting into a donut and sipping his coffee. “You have any idea what you are doing?”

“I’m trying to make our parts cheaper so we can get some of the business back that we lost to Japan,” Patterson said.

“Let the company do it,” Suggs said. “They got us into this mess. It ain’t our job to get them out of it.”

“That’s where you and I differ,” Patterson said. “If we don’t beat the competition, we’ll all be looking for jobs.”

“That’s all a bunch of crap,” Suggs said. “The company has filled your head full of crap and you’re playin’ into their hands. You might as well be company. You’re not union, that’s for sure. What did they do offer you a foreman‘s job to stab your union brothers in the back.”

“I’m for keeping my job, yours, and everybody else’s,” Patterson said.

“The way you’re doing things it will take less men to run the department,” Suggs said. “You’re putting men on the streets.”

“If we get the customers back that we lost and get new ones,” Patterson said. “We won’t be able to keep up with the orders. The company will have to add jobs.”

“All these companies are in cahoots,” Suggs said. “They got this all planed. They’re regulating the market behind the scenes. They’re just trying to break the unions.”

“I don’t see it that way,” Patterson said.

“Of course you don’t,” Suggs said. “You’re a back-stabbin’ company suck-up.” Patterson got up from the break table. “You guys can stay here with this company suckie if ya want to, but careful of what you say, he’ll run to the company with it right away.”

Everybody except Patterson rose from the break table.

“You guys don’t believe that stuff do you?” Patterson said. “We’ve worked together for years. You know me better than that.”

Everyone left the break area. Birch stayed behind. “Look, Pat,” he said. “You knew what you was getting yourself into when you started this whole thing.”

“But if somebody doesn’t do something we’ll all be out of jobs,” Patterson said.

“I know that, you know that, the company knows that, the union knows that,” Birch said. “The only ones that don’t know that are people the union thrives on; guys like Suggs, who can’t think beyond what the union tells him to think.”

“In spite of what you or anyone else thinks, all I care about is making more parts cheaper so we can keep our jobs,” Patterson said. “I know it’s all a power struggle between the union and company. They both want to control us heart and soul. Nobody is controlling my thinking, no one!”

“I know that,” Birch said. “But the union is full of crazies, just watch your back.”

Patterson walked to the bathroom and used the urinal. He washed his hands and as he did thought about all the things said at the break table. He wondered if the alienation he was experiencing from his workmates was worth it. He thought ’I’d rather have alienated workmates that no workmates at all. Someday they’ll thank me.’

Patterson dried his hands at the towel dispenser and walked from the bathroom lost in thought. As he stepped beyond the guardrail that protected the exit of the bathroom he heard the motor of a fork lift accelerate. He looked to his left. It was Suggs behind the wheel of his forklift bearing down and speeding toward him. Patterson’s eyes widened as Suggs steered toward him. Patterson stepped behind the guardrail. The right fork from the forklift caught the post of the guardrail. The rear of the forklift violently swung around and crashed into a tub of parts. The tub thudded to the floor on its side. Parts sprayed everywhere. The forklift continued on its uncontrolled course and slammed against an I beam. The entire building shook as if an earthquake occurred.

Workers hurried from every direction to see what occurred.

Suggs looked at everybody for approval. In his mind it was a good thing he tried to do.

There was a collective and unspoken assessment of the evidence by the workers. There was little doubt as to what occurred. Patterson nearly lost his life for something he cared deeply about, their jobs.

Birch stood near the forklift where Suggs was still sitting behind the wheel in a euphoric state expecting adulation. “What is wrong with us?” Birch yelled. “Look what almost happened. If you think this is okay, you got a problem; all of you!”

Patterson leaned stunned against the exit from the bath room. He held out a shaking hand toward Suggs and pointed. His voice quivered, “He tried to hit me with a forklift!”

(Sadly, this story is true. Only the names and last words were changed to make it fiction.)



Filed under Business, Short Stories

Quarterback Comeback (short fiction)

images[9]Daily Prompt: Drawing a Blank

When was the last time you walked away from a discussion, only to think of The Perfect Comeback hours later? Recreate the scene for us, and use your winning line.

It was the early 90’s. Things were good for Steve. He was a car salesman and a darn good one. He had offers from every dealership in town. His sales manager, Don, invited him to lunch at a restaurant.

“Steve,” Don said. “I’m glad we could have lunch together.”

“Me too,” Steve said. “I left my wallet at home today. All I got is a quarter in my pocket. I was going to have to bum a couple dollars from you anyway.”

They ordered and ate.

Don was not his jovial self during the meal. Something was on his mind.

“I wanted to speak to you about something,” Don said.

“Fire away,” Steve said.

“Some of the other salesmen say you are not taking customers in rotation,” Don said. “You’re running out to greet people before any of the other salesmen have had a chance. In fact, they say you wait near the front of the lot and grab them just as they come in.”

“What’s wrong with that?” Steve said.

“It’s not fair to the other salesman,” Don said.

“Life is not fair,“ Steve said. “If they want it to be fair they should get off their lazy carcasses and greet customers as they come in like I do.”

“Look, Steve,” Don said. “I want to create a relaxed atmosphere for the salesmen and customers and the way you do things is creating tension for both.”

“You look, Don,” Steve said. “When a customer comes into our lot the dealership wants to sell him a car. Who is most likely to sell them one? Me. I sell to over half the people I greet. The rest of those salesmen only close a third of the people they greet. You should be talking to them.”

“Steve, I’m going to have to insist you stay in your office and take customers in rotation,” Don said.

“I can leave here and in ten minutes have a job at a half-dozen dealerships just like that!” Steve said snapping his finger. “I just had a call this morning from the Ford dealership and a job offer.”

“I’m sorry, Steve,” Don said. “But that’s an order.”

Steve pushed away from the table and said abruptly, “Thanks for the meal. You can take this job and shove it!”

“But, Steve,” Don said. “We’ve been friends for a long time. We can’t leave things like this.”

Steve reached in his pocket, pulled out a quarter, and tossed it on the table. “Here’s a quarter, call somebody who cares.”


Two months later Steve walked into Don’s office. Don rose and extended his hand.

“Steve,” Don said. “It’s good to see you.”

“Same here,” Steve said.

“What brings you by?” Don said.

“Ya know,” Steve said “I should not have left on such a sour note.”

“Let’s not dance around here,” Don said. “Do you want your job back?”

“Yeah, Don,” Steve said. “I really liked working here.”

“That was kind of foolish what you did a couple of months ago,” Don said. “Don’t you agree?”

“Yeah, it was,” Steve said.

“If you remember,” Don said. “You told me you only had a quarter in you pocket that day and you flipped it on the table.”

Steve chuckled. “I had to walk back to the dealership and get my car.”

“Steve,” Don said. “I heard things aren’t going too good for you. In fact, I heard the bank repossessed your car.”

“How did you know that?” Steve said.

“It’s on the lot,” Don said. “The bank asked us to sell it for them.”

“Well,” Steve said. “I guess you really know I need a job, now.”

Don reached in his pocket, found a quarter, and flipped it to Steve. “Call yourself a cab.”


Filed under Business, Daily Prompt, Short Stories

Try Nutri-pill! (a commercial script)

Terry Bradshaw before Nutri-pill

Terry Bradshaw before Nutri-pill

Daily Prompt: Red Pill, Blue Pill

If you could get all the nutrition you needed in a day with a pill — no worrying about what to eat, no food preparation — would you do it?

If you could get all the nutrition you needed in a day with a pill — no worrying about what to eat, no food preparation — would you do it?

Of course you would!

For a limited time only we are offering Nutri-pill.

Terry Bradshaw after 90 days on Nutri-pill.

Terry Bradshaw after 90 days on Nutri-pill.

Scientist have recently discovered a village in Central China where the people live incredibly healthy lives. It’s based on an ancient secret formula.  They drink carbonated sugary soda, potato chips, ice cream, desserts, fatty fried foods, and drink beer all day long without gaining a pound. And what’s more – THEY DON’T DIE!

Some studies suggest it even reverses the aging process. Think about it! Young again!

Their cholesterol is low. Their blood pressure is low. Their libido skyrockets. There arteries are clean. They have great looking skin and bodies. They never forget a name, anniversary, birthday or meaningless trivial facts.

They have energy to complete every task they start. They sleep only when they want to. They often say, “There’s just too many hours in a day.”

You will be the life of the party. You will be outgoing, energetic, and likable. Think about it, no more lonely nights with Mom, the cat, rice cakes, and watching The Golden Girls.

Buy some for Mom. She’d love to go clubing with you!

How would you like to be among the millions who are already one of our Nutri-pill customers and benefiting from it’s secret formula?

This ancient secret formula is now in pill form.

Nutri-pill can be yours, now! A ninety day supply for only a low, low $19.95!

But wait there’s more! If you respond to this TV offer in the next thirty minutes we will double that offer. We will send you a six months’ supply for the incredibly low price of $19.95! That is a $1,000,000 (or more) offer for $19.95!

What would good health and everlasting life be without a pocket hose?

What would good health and everlasting life be without a pocket hose?

And also, if you act now we will throw in the hose that everybody is talking about – The Pocket Hose absolutely free.

There is no money-back guarantee because it will work, you will be satisfied, we will close-up shop and split to Brazil.

Do you want to eat all you want, do all you want, be all you want, live forever and be healthy vibrant, good-looking and sexy plus have The Pocket Hose? It’s all yours for only 19.95! 19.95! That’s right Nutri-pill for only 19.95! We must be out of our minds. Act now! Supplies are limited. (There will be a slight charge for shipping and handling and overnight deliveries.)

Be sure to tell your friends about Nutri-pill! (that is, of course, if you would rather they to die of clogged arteries, heart disease, cancer, old age, or loneliness.)

Pill Poppin’ Bloggers:

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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Filed under Business, Daily Prompt

It Helps To Be Bilingual When Ordering At McDonald’s

Raul Castro's nephew, Peppy, working the drive-thru speaker at McDonald's.

Raul Castro’s nephew, Peppy, working the drive-thru speaker at McDonald’s.

If I have a question at the counter or at the drive-thru at McDonalds’ the answer is almost like a foreign language (and sometimes it really is). First of all they have that vocal fray that sounds like they don’t even want to be there and secondly they speak so fast it sounds like Radio Havana (I think I recognized one guy’s at the drive-thru speaker as the voice of Raul Catro‘s nephew, Peppy).

Every now and then you run into the kid that’s a stoner and sounds like a forty-five being played at thirty-three in a third. If you don’t understand my reference you are probably a stoner whose grandparents know what a forty-five playing at thirty-three and a third is. No, I’m not talking about a revolver.

Some kids sound like they’re giving me a rap.

No special sauce,

You be da boss.

No Egg McMuffin,

Ain’t dat something’

Breakfast end,

Half past ten.

Okay, okay there is no way that can be made to sound cool.

I hate the real cheerful and perky gals. They act like they’ve just answered a question for a Miss Teen USA contest. “If you come to my register I will cure world hunger, cure AIDS, and bring about world peace. You want fries with that?”

The other day I get a guy at the register. I think it may have been Peppy again.

I ordered and he said, “No hablo ingles.”

I said, “Grande Maco and fryo.”

“Ce,” he said. He immediately got my order and spit in my fries.

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Filed under Business, Essays

Ch Ch Ch Ch Changing Barbers

(Daily Prompt)

If you ever see a guy with half a hair cut, you now know why.

If you ever see a guy with half a hair cut, you now know why.

There comes a time when you must change and today is the day. I need a new barber, but breaking off with an old barber can be just as traumatic as a divorce for both you and the barber.

You have shared your life with him, likewise so has he. You know each other’s children, grandchildren, anniversaries, mortgage payment, when the car insurance is due, favorite foods, allergies, and birth marks.

I thought about gradually breaking it off. Maybe go to another barber twice a year, than four times, and than just every other time. In all it will be a four year process. He’ll hardly notice it.

Than again maybe I should just stop altogether. If I do that he’ll be worried and give me a call or he may even drop by the house. What do I say. I would feel like a cheating spouse. He would demand, “Okay, Whose the other barber. Remember I was with you through the hard times; when you were trying to find yourself. There was the long sideburns, the buzz, the mullet, the perm, the comb over.”

Wow! We have been through a lot, but I got to make the change. I’ve heard the same old stories a dozen times. His prices have gone up three times in the last five years. He no longer gives the senior discount. His breath is bad.

I will do it so gradually he’ll never notice it. This is how it went:

“Hey, Lloyd,” I said.

He brushed off the chair. “Climb aboard.”

“You say that every time,” I said.

“Not so,” Lloyd said. “Sometimes I say, ‘all aboard.’”

“Maybe to others, but not to me,” I said.

“What are we havin’ today,” Lloyd said. “The usual.”

“Yeah, the usual,” I said.

Lloyd clipped and sheared away. “How’s it lookin‘?”

“Looks fine, Lloyd,” I said and raised from the chair. “See you next time.”

“But I’ve got to finish around your right ear,” Lloyd said.

“See ya next time,” I said. “Maybe we’ll start with the right side the next time.”

I rushed out and went to my new barber.

I think doing things gradually is the best way. It may be a little slower this way, but eventually we’ll get down to just an eyebrow trim then I’ll be ready to make a clean break.


Filed under Business, Essays

The Best McDonald’s Employee I Know

Sometimes the Golden Arches has some golden employees.

Sometimes the Golden Arches has some golden employees.

My favorite McDonald’s employee is guy named Leigh. He takes my money at the first window at the drive-thru. He’s a roly-poly cheerful guy.

When I pull up to his window he usually says, “I thought that was you ordering.” He’s a quick-witted guy who always has something different to say each time I’m at the window. He will comment about the weather, his weight, his failings, or just ask how’s it goin’?

There are a few times I’ve gone to McDonalds’s in not-such-a-good mood and Leigh has a way of changing it.

He takes time, but let’s me know he has a job to do. He has mastered what few have been able to do; be content and cheerful.

A few weeks ago I pulled into the drive-thru. At the money widow at another McDonald’s’s. I asked the employee if he could dispose of a McDonalds bag for me.

“We can’t handle any trash,” he said. “It’s unsanitary.”

“I don’t understand why,” I said.

“It doesn’t look good accepting trash at the widow,” he said.

I pulled forward and at the food window they asked me for the $5.25 that I didn’t pay at the money window.

“They wouldn’t take my trash at the other widow because the guy said it was unsanitary. My money probably has passed through more filthy hands, been picked up from more scummy floors, and come in contact with more germs than we could ever imagine.”

I gave them their dirt rotten filthy money and didn’t pursue the reasoning any further.

A few days later I stopped in to see Leigh at his window. I told him my experience at the other McDonald’s

“Yeah,” Leigh said. “They’re funny that way. But I got an idea; I’ll just stand out of the way and you toss it through the window.”

Leigh is also the smartest employee I know.

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Filed under Business, Essays

Are You Interested In Investing In A Start-Up Company That Has Limitless Growth?

Where some people see problems, I see oppertunity. To me, this is a customer I can make money on.

Where some people see problems, I see opportunity. To me, this is a customer I can make money on.

I’m thinking about starting a company that just handles complaints. I’ll charge a nominal fee for every complaint handled.

I have a market that will never dry-up. Everybody likes to complain and nobody is ever satisfied. Besides big companies never listen anyway, for that fact, neither do small ones.

Normally people who complain only want to be heard by somebody; it’s therapeutic.

My operator’s will listen and put their name in a data base. If they call a couple more times then we know they are serious.

I may put the complaining calls into an automated listening machine that will say, “hmm,” every now and then or, “That’s too bad.” “If this happens again be sure to call us back.”

By starting a company that just handles the first few complaints the more serious ones can be attended to while the insignificant ones are discarded.

Larger companies will now have a layer of insulation and plausible deniability when it comes to customer relations. “Oh we outsource our complaint department. We have so few it’s hardly worth having one.”

I can even handle referrals from psychologists. We can split the fee and he can handle four times the patient load. A patient will only see the psychologists every third or fourth visit. That’s better than my doctor. I don’t think he exist, but he does have a physicians assistant. That’s kind of what my complaint company will be; a psychologist assistant.

Anyway I think it has real growth potential. You’re probably wondering how you can get in on the ground floor? Send me $500 and if you don’t hear from me in ninety days just give my complaint department a call.

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Filed under Business