The ThanksgivingChristmasNewYear retail circus is over.

Now comes the snowbird population expansion, in which our otherwise medium-sized town triples in size and quadruples in Canadans.

Our cousins from the north emulate geese from their homeland in that their behaviour varies little from individual to individual. One can pick them out in Bait & Switch muttering to themselves at how inexpensive their bait is here, south of the 49th parallel.

That is because unlike in Ontario (and perhaps sundry other provinces about which I have no interest) we have a free-ish market. There, by contrast, lies the beast of statist control, because the Good Lord knows that control of bait supply and price rightly lies with government. Gasp: a monopoly leads to high prices. Whodathunk?

While the pathetic Lumbermen buy up their awful and awfully predictable bait, the store lived it up in the last weeks of the year. Much money was taken, many hours were worked, owners were (presumably) happy counting the gold.

None of which improved the mood around the place. Managers all seem subdued verging on morose, despite the big numbers. Ah, yes, but the important Bait Direct number which controls the bonus didn’t work in their favour. Oh well. Still, you’d think they’d be vaguely upbeat.


A team, you might think, would be an inclusive concept. At Bait & Switch, the “team” isn’t a team at all: it’s two teams.

The two teams are Them (boooo) and Us (hooray!)

Them – Managers and Supervisors – currently attired in ridiculous “seasonal” sweaters and jackets, are the ones with the quality health insurance and wages upon which one can live.

Us, the Foot Soldiers, are the ones who do all the work, rewarded only with minimal benefits and starvation wages.

These two teams live in uncomfortable proximity. We’re kept apart by the clear-cut monetary divide, and kept close by a modestly shared personal attachment. At the moment, in the weeks after Black Friday, the putative glue should be The Bonus.

Should the Bonus ever emerge, Theirs, although this is never made clear, will be multiples of Ours. Their Bonus though, is dependent upon sales of house brand bait, whose sales are partially a result of Our efforts on the sales floor.

Therein lies amusement. Our bonus is risibly small, so if we don’t receive those rancid scraps, it makes little difference. But if They don’t receive Theirs, it will hurt. Expectation is cruel like that.

The news, therefore, that the store has fallen down the Bonus Rankings, and so to the small end of the bonus pool, comes as a satisfying payback for crap fabricated “team-making”. They’re nice people, but are instinctively out only for themselves.


Worthy of a brave someone’s PhD thesis is the way in which employers prey upon their employees by understanding human weakness.

A case in point is the multiple younguns at Bait & Switch. Some have primary jobs and are there for extra cash. Others work forty or fifty hours a week for reasons that escape me entirely, and yet others are there part-time inbetween studying or child-rearing. It’s a grab-bag of twenty-year-olds who need money and a place to belong.

Sadly – in the strictest sense of that word – they end up in a hamster wheel. For all the pressure and expectation over and above the money, just enough happens on pay day for them to stay, and not make the quantum leap to another job. Somehow or another the recipe is sweet enough.

That’s a shame. Amongst them are some truly brilliant people who will, fingers crossed, leave for better places. Even those for whom selling bait and catering to crotchety old assholes is a tertiary gig deserve so much better; the mystery is why they stay.

Inertia explains most of it. Once in a groove of habit and relationship, continuing is (or appears to be) exponentially easier than beginning again. No-one wants to be the newbie. Again.

All of which works in B&S’s favor. Poorly paid and competent workers who hang around mean productivity and sales. It is as simple as that.

Bonus: Not!

Haha. Third-hand, as always, I learned today that our end-of-year bonus will not reach the max. Haha.

Haha. In the New Serfdom, those with influence reap the rewards. Forgotten in that mix is the power of those who live in the squalor below the Princes. At Bait & Switch, that’s us, the bods on the retail floor. Haha.

Haha. This is the weakness of Serfdom; Serfs must perform. Someone (or something) must do the work of selling. Haha.

Haha. But if we don’t sell, or subtly shift customer attention elsewhere, the convention falls apart. Failure to convince us to work for you results in the opposite, the circumstance in which we work against you. Haha.

Haha. It worked. The corporate scoreboard revealed, per my insider, that we brought down our lords and princes, meaning that their bonus is reduced to not much. Haha.