Thursday, July 21, 2011
Today in Corporate Outrage... A Special Edition of News from the Malabar Front
So here's what I noticed, when I had, um, a little time on my hands. Two toilet paper rolls, purchased a couple months apart. Same brand...that would be Scott Tissue. (Creepily, I've also just noticed the headline on the Scott brands site is "Bring home some new family values." Fucking social conservatism catchwords from paper designed to clean your butt, ugh.) Anyway, in our economic-crisis-ridden world where the pundits and economists swear inflation isn't a problem — not a problem enough to add a Cost-of-Living-Increase to social security benefits anyway — you can plainly see that the cheap bastards at Scott, known as an economy brand, have shortened their roll of toilet tissue by about half an inch. Now, depending on how you, um, use this product, you're probably not going to miss that half an inch. But somebody's paying a lot of attention to what that savings has gone to...wiping out Scott's falling rate of profit.
Scott's parent company is Kimberly Clark. Speaking of not missing half an inch, Kimberly Clark's CEO Thomas J. Falk made approximately $9 million dollars last year. Poor guy, he didn't get a raise from the previous year either! And speaking of a lot of crap, in the first quarter of 2011 Kimberly Clark did five billion dollars in business, up from last year. On the other hand their actual profits are down. Maybe with all the money they're saving they can buy a billboard in Times Square like Charmin did.
A quote from George Orwell's 1984 is in order:
"As short a time ago as February, the Ministry of Plenty had issued a promise (a 'categorical pledge' were the official words) that there would be no reduction of the chocolate ration during 1984. Actually, as Winston was aware, the chocolate ration was to be reduced from thirty grammes to twenty at the end of the present week. All that was needed was to substitute for the original promise a warning that it would probably be necessary to reduce the ration at some time in April. ...
As though in confirmation of this, a trumpet call floated from the telescreen just above their heads. However, it was not the proclamation of a military victory this time, but merely an announcement from the Ministry of Plenty. ...
It appeared that there had even been demonstrations to thank Big Brother for raising the chocolate ration to twenty grammes a week. And only yesterday, [Winston] reflected, it had been announced that the ration was to be reduced to twenty grammes a week. Was it possible that they could swallow that, after only twenty-four hours? Yes, they swallowed it. Parsons swallowed it easily, with the stupidity of an animal. The eyeless creature at the other table swallowed it fanatically, passionately, with a furious desire to track down, denounce, and vaporize anyone who should suggest that last week the ration had been thirty grammes. Syme, too-in some more complex way, involving doublethink, Syme swallowed it. Was he, then, alone in the possession of a memory?"
Don't worry, there's no inflation! The economy is recovering!