Pep Rally

Oh dear.

This time last year the same Sunday morning staff rally happened, in exactly the same way, with precisely the same outcome. Blah.

Apathy is not an emotion that comes without effort. First comes enthusiasm, then skill, which is followed by slow realization and the slide towards disenchantment. Bait & Switch managed to compress that sequence into less than six months for me; now it’s a slow sail across a windless ocean.

Two interesting points from the (crap breakfast provided) meeting. First is that although the cast of “managers” is different, the message was the same, almost word perfect.

Second was the info that we’re getting a new tool and die guy, just what we need around here. The new CEO will be hanging around the bait store for a week or (something) after his two weeks with our titular head. Interesting of itself, this news is exciting for the chaos-making possibilities.

Interesting too that his antecedents (hidden here for reasons of anonymity) aren’t exactly shining lights of modern business practice. Predictably this was spun to us on the basis that he’s a people person, and very keen on developing talent.

I can’t even be bothered placing those phrases in quotation marks, so utterly disingenuous are they.

Still the bait and switch goes on. Can you feel my passion?


The week descends into hell at Bait & Switch Inc.

Some species of cosmic dump truck deposited an inordinate number of customers into the store over the weekend, a turn of events that the genii of the Lubyanka failed to foresee. For we inhabitants of the gulag, that meant more people than we could deal with, and a general atmosphere of out-of-controledness. It was bad.

Monday, today, continued the theme, with the added distraction of the store manager being in attendance. You would imagine that the manager of a bait shop would be there more days than not: you would be wrong. He’s off doing corporate…things, leaving lesser mortals and his #2 to run the place.

It’s really not that bad, because – and we serfs say this a lot – it’s only a bait shop. Stuff comes in the back door, we display it, people choose it, and it goes out the front door. Ways to complicate that aren’t that thick on the ground, and yet the apparatchiks find a way. Central Command issues directives and the underlings must follow.

Difficulties lie underneath that last sentence. When the people in the store are not able to modify processes to accommodate local quirks, we’re stuck working inside the plan of someone thousands of miles away. The model dreamed up for this store is not accurate; therein lies the stress.

The place is disfomited for another reason, too. That follows.

End of Days

The seeds of our demise are sown before we even know they exist. Entropy is the force we least acknowledge and most critically affects us all, despite the focus we place on apparently more urgent disasters.

Interestingly, entropy is so clear cut, figuring work-arounds is relatively simple. If we know that everything changes and ends, all we need do is note those as limiting factors and act accordingly.

Bait & Switch Inc is not good at noting big-picture stuff. The model they began with is the model that remains to this day. It’s as if Henry Ford ignored the invention of the starter-motor- deliberately – and required all of his cars to keep the hand-crank. You know, the metal handle at the front which one spun manually to start the engine turning.

The business is 25 years old, and the basic mechanics are the same now as then. Sure, there’s no compelling need to change the product, that’s a given. But delivery is everything. A Model-T is a car in the same way that an Audi RS5 is a car, but there are important differences.

So the end of the business is closer than it need be simply because managers fail to note that all businesses end. If that sounds all quantum, you’re right; superposition is an awesome way to exist. Unfortunate that B&S is stuck at the Newtonian end of things.

The End is Within Sight

Unbelievably and rather freakily, even Bait & Switch is now under attack from Amazon.

The very idea is quite at the edge of believability, and yet here it is; the Monster from Seattle is moving towards us. Slowly, yes, but everything Amazon does is characterized by growth that, if graphed, looks hyperbolic.

Which is to say that nothing is happening right now. We are still selling lots of bait to addicted fishermen, blandly bullshitting punters about the merits of off-brand bait and overpriced chum. Nothing quantifiable is apparent, there are no ripples on the water, and yet if you stand still, slow your breathing and listen, a definite change is in the water.

Tipping points don’t advertise. In the case of B&S v Amazon, all will appear business as usual until a trapdoor appears under the top line and BOOM! Everything falls into it.

Until that hour on that day, nothing will change. Binders will remain, lack of business focus will persist, underpayment of employees will not change and customers will notice that the promises never match the reality. Shopping has changed forever, and the survivors know already.