Or what one learns if one rents a car and it gets a flat tire?
It wasn’t just a thought of A’s graying CEO,
The bright idea of some young fellows at company B –
There was the young woman, thought cutthroat and sexy, at company C,
And the security guard who watched nature shows on company D’s TVs,
And, gee . . .
The fact is, it just made all the sense in the world –
Something at an odd angle a customer would happen to glance
Damaging one of our excellent products in ways seen and unseen and also by chance,
Too young or too old, or too drunk or too worried – absent-minded victims of circumstance –
Who still could not overlook how we had them by the wallet, the balls or whatever else was in their pants,
And, gee . . .
A “profit center,” I believe the term is.
“The bucks don’t stop here,” Ms. Cutthroat might be heard to say,
Smiling as nodding boardroom heads agreed: another good way to get people to pay,
And pay all the more since they’d be feeling incompetent, at fault, embarrassed and dismayed,
Because, gee . . .
When they opened the e-mail or the company’s letter –
It’s not like for the bill and the notice they wouldn’t have been well prepared,
And well informed by the careful detailing of the company’s enhanced costs for replacement or repair,
Referencing as well what, once upon a time, they’d signed: the lengthy contract our lawyers will have prepared,
Defending each and every one of the additional surcharges and taxes (which will happily involve governments in the affair).
If you can’t you see, you ought,
And whether you have an MBA or naught –
There was genius in this.
There was money in this.
There were promotions in this.
As far as an ambitious eye could see, there was bliss, bliss, bliss and more bliss.
— Poem and watercolor and gouache by William Eaton
N.B.: It is perhaps not for nothing that during the time I was working on this poem I stumbled upon a whole book of Ogden Nash’s poetry and stayed up late one night reading, until I was more than blue in the face, prosody like this, from the opening of Nash’s Will Consider Situation:
There here are words of radical advice for a young man looking for a job;
Young man, be a snob.
Yes, if you are in search of arguments against starting at the bottom,
Why I’ve gottem.
Let the personnel managers differ;
It’s obvious that you will get on faster at the top than at the bottom because there are more people at the bottom than at the top so naturally the competition at the bottom is stiffer.