Coping: With National “Screw the Little People” Day

Millions of American’s are under the wrong impression.

They believe today is Presidents Day and that’s why government offices and banks are closed down.

But the truth of the matter, at least in the states of Texas and Washington, is a little uglier…in fact so ugly that I’ve decided to refer to this as national “Screw the Little People” day.

Here’s how it works:

Suppose for a moment that you own a company that provides social services.  And, let’s further assume that your money is dispensed by a state agency, and is released on the first and 15th of each month.

Now, fast forward to this weekend.

The 15th happened to fall on Sunday.

Since today all banks are closed, guess what?  No money is being dispersed by states – or at least so the contractors tell their employees.

That means the money will move tomorrow (17th) and in order to ensure that the money is actually in their accounts to cover checks, some of the Little People (also known as “invisible people”) will not get paid until tomorrow or even Wednesday.

I assure you, the bureaucrats got paid in a timely manner.  Even most corporations, as sleazy as they might be in other policy areas (like buying legislation favorable to their own self-interests) likely paid people on schedule.

But the “Little People?”  Who cares…

So I’d like to begin this morning by thanking Presidents Washington and Lincoln for collectively providing several days of float to ill-managed private corporations that don’t keep a payroll’s worth of float in their bank accounts and then go cry poor to the little people.

Like the old saying goes:  Everyone is equal in America, exceptin’ some is more equal than others.

And those who believe slavery ended in Lincoln’s time missed that child support orders past age 18 are their own special kind of slavery and this other example (financial slavery/abuse) are still doing just fine and well.

Thanks a bunch.

An Exceptional Company

Not all companies treat their workers like doggie treats.

I was pleasantly surprised back in December to learn of one exceptional company here in Texas which actually walks-the-talk when comes to employee relations.

The WhatABurger here in Palestine closed down in December to be torn down and replaced with a brand new (presumably bigger and more efficient) store.

But you know what they did?  Paid all their full-time workers while the old building was raised and the new one is being built.

THAT, my friends, is a QUALITY COMPANY and it’s why Texans who like burgers will go out of their way to find a WhatABurger location.

They are also the only burger joint I’m aware of that will let you have your burger’s meat done without adding salt to it…So when I have the double meat, everything on it except the Jalapenos and extra dill pickle and ketchup, I convince myself I’m still watching my diet.

When they reopen?  I’ll be there in the first 48-hours.

Ure Doesn’t Get It

We’ve had several interesting comments (see the comments section of this site) on my remarks vis-à-vis the Post Parenting world.  I raised some questions about whether playing a video game with a child (like a first person shooter game) really constituted parenting.

Here’s one of the thoughtful replies to roll around since the non-invisible class has play-time today…


Regarding your piece of Friday about the video game magazine and your musings; you’re but another of the baby-boomers (and older) who’ve missed out on something of a social entertainment revolution. This is a bit longish, but I think you’ll find it of interest.

FWIW, I too am a boomer, (b. 1962) but have also been working as a GameStop store manager for nearly 10 years now. I’ve noted over time that few above my age are much aware of, let alone into, video games, but most of following generations are. While I did enjoy one of the first games as a teen, Pong, I had a long hiatus in between. Because, like you, I grew up building things out of the scrap pile.

Treehouses, floating down the canals, playing outside, 4-H. Of course, that was back in the day of being able to play in empty lots, of which there were quite a few. This was before the dark age of liability lawsuits for kids that stubbed their toes on someone’s property, then a lawyer sued and someone lost their land. It also was a time that, short of living in the tall cities, there were plenty of “unimproved” spaces. Now, most kids only have grassy stretches that are almost as sterile to creativity as a parking lot. This is especially so for the teeming masses who live in beehives of apartments with carefully manicured lawns in between.

But I digress.

Game Informer is now the 4th largest circulation publication in America, and only after two AARP publications and the Costco flyer.

GI is coupled with what, in 3 years after its inception, became the largest and most successful customer rewards membership ever on the planet. It is estimated that the PowerUp Rewards memberships are in at least 1 in 5 US households. The magazine is part and parcel of the premium membership benefits.

The video game industry surpassed Hollywood back in 2008. Indeed, there are a great many known actors, conductors and other creative types you’d know from Hollywood, that also have given their talents to games.

GameStop has over 4,300 locations in the US and about 6,000 worldwide. It wasn’t always GS, and has grown over time by merging and buying out former competitors. Though its spiritual godfather, Len Riggio, was also the guy who started Barnes & Noble

GameStop is a Fortune 200 corporation! NYSE: GME And despite the economic downturn over the past decade, has actually grown YOY sales and profits most years! Pundits who have long forecast the company to go the way of the dodo, due to increased sales of digital downloads of games are still wrong. GS sells games, but more importantly, buys used games and resells them. This includes scratched up discs and defective systems. All are sent to the Refurb Operations Center (near the company headquarters in Grapevine, TX) where an army of nearly 1,200 people do nothing but refinish and repair for shipment back out to stores for resale. At our annual company convention last fall, we were told that GS paid out over $1 Billion (yes, a ‘B’) in buying used merchandise from customers.

(And with diversified business in used iPhones, tablets (funny story there!*) and other related electronic mercy, the ebb and flow of games is offset) (* The story is told that when the game business took a downward turn a few years ago (2009-2010), officials determined that tablet sales would be a good addition. Knowing that Google was soon to unveil its very first tablet, a representative went out to silly valley to make a pitch to pre-sell (reserve) tablets as well as sell them in stores. They were nearly laughed out of the building, but were given the allowance. Upon launch, and for some time thereafter, GS sold more tablets that all other retailers combined, Amazon included.)

When you and I grew up, a movie played the same way every time. Video games allow the player to become an active protagonist in the story, or even the world, of the game. And just like books and movies, there’s no end to the variety of places you can go and people you can play as.

So yes, its really big!

But more to your point of what this has to do with practical life…. as I’ve long said to close (and understanding) friends, here, during the downfall of the Empire, I work for the circus!

(What’s more, I worked 20 years in the pizza delivery business, therefore, I’ve also done the bread side too!)

I personally think that when (not if) the SHTF hits us all, especially with no more grid electricity, there’s a whole lot of people who don’t know diddly.

For many, its live to play, play to live. I wonder what all these people might be doing in a non-electric world. Granted, with all the messed up mental and autistic children, vid games are a great way to babysit them. But back in our day, did they not have menial jobs in most communities where they could stay busy and contribute? A day where before so many Federal laws were passed that it became not worth the effort to have those outlets anymore?

And I can say that with so many Americans out of work, a great many spend their days living on the dole and whiling away their lives as others in a multitude of cyber worlds.

Like you, I remember changing oil, points and plugs, repairing before tossing, fixing things, building things. This generation does not know this as most of their parents are gamers too. And the schools no longer have shop and repair classes like they used to. There is also a side to this that you’ve touched on before. It is that so much of the current technology is so solid state, so computer driven, that the average joe cannot fix it. Not like breadboard electronics, (remember Radio Shack’s free battery a month card? I do. And now they’re out), engine cavities you could almost stand next to the engine, while under the hood!

I will miss the ‘net. So much nicer to email someone across the world and have an answer within a day compared to sending and waiting a month or more. Looking up info at 3am without getting the library to send off for a book residing in Timbuktu. Instant world news, instead of waiting for the BBC, HCJB, Duetsche Welle or some other station, to come on the air and then suffering through the local Cricket matches before they got to the regional news.

Anyway, I love how you are able to draw on so much knowledge from so many fields of endeavor to write as you do. As its still impossible to know everything, I hope this will give some insight that so many your age have missed. Had I not been hired into it almost 10 years back, I’d have largely been nearly oblivious too.

73’s  (A ham radio reader) in Log, Yootaw!

Ah, but Mr. Ure does grok the game deal.  But he shares your concern that as soon as some asteroid hits, the Great War will start shortly thereafter.  An d it’s likely to be a short affair, with one to five small nukes just above the “legal” boundary with space will set America back 200-years… and it’s why I get up on Presidents Day to write and why next week we’ll still (likely) have columns, even though we’re on a cruise.

It’s like driving by a house fire sometimes, back in my news days.  You know it’s just a smallish house fire, but you’re compelled to pull over the news cruiser, grab the old Sony TC-110 recorder and go cover it anyway.

Like watching a train wreck, it’s always surprising to see which car is actually next to leave the tracks.

We’ll have the binoculars out tomorrow morning, too…

Write when you break-even,


4 thoughts on “Coping: With National “Screw the Little People” Day”

  1. The latest in the gun world. The BATF is going to ban the sale of XM855 (green tip) 5.56×45(.223) ammunition. This is basically the old military semi-armor piercing. Tons and I mean tons of it have been sold the past few years. Now, I reckon TPTB are getting nervous about sometime!!!

  2. Hey George,

    Longtime problem with Social Security BENEFIT. One of our checks comes on the 15th of the month, the other at the end. If the 15th is a Friday,( sometimes a Thursday,) the deposit hits the bank on the following Tuesday. The end-of-month check, on time.


  3. ‘Tis a shame WhataBurgers aren’t as good as their company – thanks – I’ll take Hardee’s (may be called Carl’s Jr. there).

  4. Whataburger also allows you to order a ‘wheat bun’…so I like my double, with no Whataburger seasoning (salt, etc.)…and on a wheat bun….

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