Reading the Toilet Paper
When you hear all the hard numbers about the lagging economy the human reality is often lost. But I was talking with a young tech guy from the silicon valley and the story he told made the human tragedy of these tough economic times universal in the way of a great novel like Cannery Row or painting like Guernica. He told me he can always predict when his company has another round of employee layoffs coming because about a month before the layoffs begins the company starts buying cheaper toilet paper.
And doesn't that bring it all home? If you have traveled the world you know the American standard of living is pretty high and leading the way is the quality of our toilet paper. In fact, the vagaries of toilet paper quality you're forced to encounter is one of the most stressful things about foreign travel.
First, I'll bet the tender types in the executive office suites at this company aren't suffering through the same coarse toilet paper hell the average workers have to face. But almost certainly the money this company saves on cheaper toilet paper isn't going to save them from another round of employee layoffs. So why even do it?
Efficiency experts would say, well, when cutting costs you gotta' look everywhere. But after hearing about the salaries and perks of many CEO's and their CFO, COO minions it doesn't take a rocket scientist (but I am sure a rocket scientist could) to figure out there are more places to save money up in the executive suite than down in the employee bathroom. So much savings perhaps the company may not have to fire any workers or the good toilet paper.
I don't want to sound like a communist here or even a liberal but shouldn't there be a law? Not about grades of toilet paper, but should any company be able to cut back on its workforce when its CEO continues to make 40 million a year or has a daily floral arrangement allotment in his retirement package? I know capitalism says every worker including CEO's should get the best deal they can extract from the company but when people are getting fired and those that aren't fired have to use cheap toilet paper it just isn't good for the overall economic health and/or mood of the country.
But until we can get some laws on the books, when your company puts you through the hell of recycled, cheap, thin, toilet paper, start brushing up your resume. Because that cheap toilet paper is just the first way the company is putting your butt on the line.