Bilking the Elderly, With a Corporate Assist – New York Times

I’ve been working on a theory recently.  It says that business in modern America is operated with a “carny mentality.”  In other words, businesses, even very large ones, in this country, are operated exactly like a traveling carnival.  I’m sure you’ve been to a carnival at some point in your life.  Remember how you thought you won that big stuffed animal on the top shelf but the guy operating the game explained to you how you broke some rule you didn’t even know existed so you didn’t really win after all?

Carnivals operate that way because they’re only in your town for a few days, perhaps a week, once a year.  You’re probably only there one day during their stint so, from the carny’s perspective, what’s the down side of screwing you over?  He isn’t going to see you any time soon, so his best bet is to take your money and fuck you out of the big pink gorilla you thought you won.

On the other hand, normal businesses, especially big businesses, DIDN’T operate that way, not because they were more moral than carnies, but because they WERE going to be in the same location next week.  They didn’t want to have to deal with you coming back, all pissed off.

For some reason, that seems to have changed in recent years.  Even VERY LARGE businesses don’t give a rat’s ass if they screw you out of the money you pay them to provide you with goods and/or services. 

Doubt my theory?  I have one word for you: Enron.  Remember the recording of their traders laughing about taking money from old ladies on fixed incomes with artificially inflated electric bills?  Look me in the eye and make the argument that the sixth-largest American corporation operates that way but NO OTHER big company does, I dare you.

Still need further proof that this country is run by people indistinguishable from your average carnival worker save for their nicely-tailored suits?  Read this article from the New York Times and despair for the future of America.