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Time for a Boycott!

December 12, 2017

Company B is a big houseware products retailer in New Zealand.  Up till now, I avoided going there was because the stores are always understaffed.  You can never find any salespeople to answer questions and there are always big lines at the checkouts because there are usually only two or three checkouts open.

Plus, they have really, really irritating advertising.

But things have changed.  Even if you don’t mind bad service and obnoxious ads and really need a set of sheets, you may want to rethink shopping there.

The managing director is a gentleman who we’ll call MD.  His stated mission is to make Company B profitable.

For his effort, he earns $1 million a year and also has a net worth of about $600 million because he’s owns most of Company B.

Nothing new here, I’m sure you’re thinking.  But wait.  Earlier this year, The Listener, a NZ news magazine did an article about executive compensation and sent a questionnaire to twelve NZ companies to find out about their executive compensation practices and how they compared to pay rates for line employees.  Only three companies responded and Company B wasn’t one of them.

Further research revealed that line workers at Company B earn a little more than minimum wage (but that’s not what is considered a living wage).  The article includes the interesting statistic that the average employee’s annual earnings are about what Mr. MD earns in two weeks.  For seven years, the employees have been trying to negotiate a collective pay agreement with management, but management’s not talking.

I know what you’re saying.  “But, Tom, if we boycotted every company that acted like that, we’d never buy anything.”

True, but get this.

Yesterday’s top news headline in the Auckland papers was that Mr. MD is taking the Auckland Council to court.  Why?  Because they will only let him have three helicopter flights a week from his suburban Auckland home and he wants six.  Wah!

He is building a $12 million house in a very fancy inner city Auckland suburb (median home value is $3 million plus) on a beach front lot.  The house, of course, needs a helipad and the approach will be directly over a popular public beach.

Mr. MD is no life-saving doctor who needs to rush to emergencies.  He is quoted in the paper as saying that he doesn’t own a helicopter but hires one to fly up north to his golf club.  He would have to drive 16 kilometers, (about ten miles) to get to the heliport, but is quoted as saying “I don’t want to have to drive . . .” and that Auckland Council is being “manifestly unfair.”

I can assure you that most of Mr. MD’s employees drive more than 16 kilometers to get to their just above minimum wage jobs.  And they do it every day, twice a day, not just when they are playing golf up north.  And by the way, it sounds like he wants to play golf six times a week.  How is he going to provide $1 million worth of service and make Company B profitable on the golf course?

In case you haven’t figured it out, Mr. MD thinks he is better than his employees.  And he thinks he’s better than you, his customers and just about everyone else.  He is too busy and too important to drive for half an hour.  Normal rules don’t apply to him. It’s “manifestly unfair” if people think they do apply to him. Plus, he clearly thinks that there’s nothing wrong with not sharing the profits that Company B makes with its employees.

The reason Auckland Council wants to restrict helicopter flights in leafy suburbs is because they make a lot of noise and kick up a lot of dust. It bothers people who are using the public beach.  Sort of like kicking sand in their faces.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 13, 2017 2:49 am

    I could wish that I lived there so I could join a boycott. Alas, here in the US, as everyone knows, we have a whole Cabinet made up of people like this. It induces paralyzing depression. You can’t boycott them.

  2. December 14, 2017 6:01 am

    Well, Thomas, I guess Mr RD thinks his needs(?) override everone else’s and to think the Auckland City Council are not bowing down to his needs. Whatever next. Did you hear John Campbell on this the other vening?

  3. February 11, 2018 10:32 am

    I have no idea why I am not getting alerts or seeing this in my reader. I had no idea I was so far behind!

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