Monday, August 15, 2016

Do companies put homeowners or renters at existential personal risk by hiring door-to-door sales people?

Back in 2002, after my “career-ending layoff”, I did field an employment ad from Time Warner that suggested possible earnings of $75000 a year.  When a recruiter called me back, yes, this was a door-to-door selling job, mostly of cable systems in new real estate developments around the Twin Cities.

Of course, with me that ended the discussion.

It is true that overall crime rate is down, but brazen crime that can ruin individual lives forever is surfacing in menacing ways.  Opening your door to an unannounced solicitor risks home invasion.
Most communities have ordinances requiring solicitors to carry ID.  It probably has to be visible.

 Yet, my experience is that very few people who canvas neighborhoods for sales or for donations or even electioneering display ID properly. People will say they are here to "present" not "sell".

So, a company says, it is providing otherwise economically challenged people jobs as door-to-door salesmen.  People who are better off have a moral obligation to play ball.

Maybe.  But it isn’t far from saying, employer, you’re asking homeowners or renters to take existential risks with the rest of their own lives to even open a door to someone they don’t know -- home invasion.  Imagine being crippled and pitiful, in a nursing home for the rest of your life, because of something someone else who had nothing to lose did.  The term victim gets “useless”.

Here are a couple of missives on the topic, from Crime Doctor and Patch (California).

Okay, we can get into some side discussions.  Insularity of the “well off” is a huge political problem, as well as social, that may feed resentments and divisions further.

Or, we can make the same remarks about other kinds of marketing jobs, including sending emails (spam), or telemarketing (robocalls).  Yes, people are getting desperate to make a living.  Companies want to hire them and want consumers to accept some risk.  After all, you take a risk whenever you drive a car, right?  You can wind up a vegetable because of a drink driver.  It’s the other person’s fault, but you’ll still be what you are.

End-consumer sales used to be a more respected way to make a living than it is today, in many quarters, at least.

Yes, there is a problem.  Many people, who seem stable and productive, have weak social capital, and don’t communicate well with people who really have needs.  They don’t have relations with others where they have each other’s backs against “enemies”.

But in the short run, companies (and political campaigns) have a moral obligation to consider how they run door-door operations.
As the video above says, the ultimate test may be door-door selling of home security.  But why not just sell by appointment when a consumer calls?  

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Delta outage said to reveal airlines' aging IT systems, but this was more about hardware

The weekend (August 12) issue of USA Today features a cover story by Charisse Jones and Elizabeth Weise, “Airlines at risk from aging technology”.  Online, the text of the story is slightly updated, “Travel trouble?  Herr’s why your flight is delayed

I recall a little bit about the airlines from my own explorations of the job market in Dallas in the 1980s, when Sabre was touted as American Airlines’s start-of-the-art reservation system.  Airlines have built upon older mainframe systems, and it seems that there are a lot of pieces that have to fit together.

Various media reports indicate that Delta had reported a fire at its server farm in Atlanta, and that some servers did not connect properly to backup power systems.  But this seems more like a “field engineering” issue (as it used to be called) than applications or systems programming.

WJLA has a story about how a missed flight because of the Delta outage saved a family from being in the Silver Spring apartment when the gas explosion happened, link.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Massachusetts bans employer "do ask do tell" policy on applicant salary history; more on why middle class wages and wealth stagnate

A recently passed and signed law for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (the Pay Equity Law) not only requires equal pay by gender for equal work, but it also bans asking salary history.  Kathryn Vasel has the story on CNN Money.

While the bill may be motivated by gender-related potentialities (like gaps for motherhood), in practice people often have trouble getting jobs if they “make too much” or are euphemistically “overqualified”. But this is part of our economic stagnation in the middle.  We can’t make individual work more productive for enough people.

Timothy B, Lee of Vox offers a "Bottom Up" perspective that seems related on his own site as to why middle class wealth is stagnant, here.  (He sees Pokemon Go as a proxy for the post-capitalist economy.) Yes, Tim, you’re barely old enough to run for president, and the GOP would be better off with you as their candidate than Donald Trump, because you articulate reasonable arguments well.  Will “socially liberal” (including loving animals, and respecting the climate) and “fiscally conservative” solve our problems?  I think so, yet there is too much call for “revolution” from the Sanders crowd (read “expropriation”).

Yet, the last comment (Carbalossa) on your “About me” page may getting to the heart of the matter.  In fact, her comment seems more directed at material like my three DADT books than your “Bottom Up” blog.