Orwell: A Bard Navigating the World of the Gutter Crawlers (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 213)

The interesting thing about the New Albion was that it was so completely modern in spirit. There was hardly a soul in the firm who was not perfectly well aware that publicity—advertising—is the dirtiest ramp that capitalism has yet produced. In the red lead firm there had still lingered certain notions of commercial honour and usefulness. But such things would have been laughed at in the New Albion. Most of the employees were the hard-boiled, Americanised, go-getting type—the type to whom nothing in the world is sacred, except money. They had their cynical code worked out. The public are swine; advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket. And yet beneath their cynicism there was the final naïveté, the blind worship of the money-god. Gordon studied them unobtrusively. As before, he did his work passably well and his fellow-employees looked down on him. Nothing had changed in his inner mind. He still despised and repudiated the money-code. Somehow, sooner or later, he was going to escape from it; even now, after his late fiasco, he still plotted escape. He was in the money-world, but not of it. As for the types about him, the little bowler-hatted worms who never turned, and the go-getters, the American business-college gutter crawlers, they rather amused him than not. He liked studying their slavish keep-your-job mentality, He was the chiel amang* them takin’ notes.

One day a curious thing happened. Somebody chanced to see a poem of Gordon’s in a magazine, and put it about that they “had a poet in the office.” Of course Gordon was laughed at, not ill-naturedly, by the other clerks. They nicknamed him “the bard” from that day forth. But though amused, they were also faintly contemptuous. It confirmed all their ideas about Gordon. A fellow who wrote poetry wasn’t exactly the type to Make Good.

*the chiel amang = the young man (Scottish) among

Keep the Aspidistra Flying

George Orwell          1936

Thank You for your Enrollment in our Life-Sucking Apathy Torture Plan (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 146)

Pretext Comment: I am a Veterinarian who is currently witnessing corporate America invade and remake our industry into the same immoral pillaging demon that they turned human health care into many moons ago…and it is more than obvious that it has nothing to do with Government interference, now as it was originally then. This wayed on my mind heavily during my supremely blissful and oh so brief engagement with my open healthcare insurance enrollment that I was forced to be drawn and quartered with yesterday. My original thoughts and obscure humor regarding these matters follow. Laughing at the insanity is surely part of it’s cure.

After navigating once again through the life-sucking process of deciphering the misleading fine print of various levels of denying care Health Care Plans and tolerating unavoidable misdirectional pisspoor customer service, including being endlessly accosted by the demonic gatekeeper of automation and hangup/disconnect hell, not to mention, being blessed by the ridiculous required financial raping of being mandatorily charged a month prior to the beginning of whatever service will actually be rendered, I would just like to remind anyone stupid enough to read this of 3 points;

1) The insurance company created this tortuous, complicated, confusing, outsourced, automation plagued, fineprint activity, all on their glorious own. This absurd process, that I just went through and barely managed to survive with my somewhat of an above average intellect, is a quagmire and tarbaby of the worst intent and the most obscure clarity imaginable.

2) The cost of Veterinary Medicine is currently being exponentially raised right under your noses, as the true quality declines, by numerous sly, parasitic, and super-misleading-marketing, corporate entities who are invading the field. They are selling you a lot of glittering shit and setting their hooks solidly, while making you feel all nice and cozy and special with their psychopathic pseudo-charm lullaby. It ain’t be the government that be bastardizing the hell out of veterinary medicine and that will most assuredly continue to aggressively generate super-duper-revenue off of your love for your pet. You ain’t seen noth’in yet in regards to Fido’s future bills.

3) The most real and polite and dare I say organic part of all this madness, was when I spoke to one particular customer service person on the phone. I don’t know where she was sitting, but I would lay money down on the country of India or Pakistan. She actually spoke to me like a real person and appeared to be genuinely interested in helping to end my Blue Cross Blue Shield torture session. Those damn foreigners, so lazy, and just so damn unAmerican.

Cribb          2016

The Veterinarian – An Opinion from Behind the Scenes

The following is a brief synopsis of a college paper that was written for an assignment in an economics class by a student who interned at Veterinary Care Center (VCC). This student was privy to witness and participate in, as desired, genuine discussions, actions, policies, and information that normal clientele are not exposed to. I am specifically referring to the “actual business approach” and the “undocumented policies of revenue generation” that exist in all businesses, but almost always differ dramatically from the proffered “made-up marketing face” of those same businesses.

 

The student, a person I respect and have come to believe possesses above average intelligence, received an 83 on her paper. I have read the complete 13 page report myself and I do not believe the grade was a fair assessment (objective graded). When the student approached the teacher to inquire as to why she received the grade that she did, the first response from the teacher, her visceral opening response, was “There is nothing wrong with making a profit.”  

Selected Quotes     

1) The only way to be successful as a businessman is to make more money than everyone else (she is stating the overriding, sometimes spoken and sometimes unspoken, perceived notion projected by the majority of businessmen and business owners in our country). While this approach is lucrative, at what cost are these profits made? Not in the manner of physical capital lost, but rather (in) the integrity of the man and his employees? Staff members as well as the customers are replaceable. The owner does not truly care for or get to know the person with whom he is doing this business with, nor does he truly care about the well being of his staff just as long as they complete the allotted work at hand.

2) When these owners come to VCC, then (many) are unable to trust Dr. Cribb and his staff completely because they have been fooled so many times. Therefore, it makes it that much more difficult for VCC to gain customer trust and loyalty. But that is what distinguishes VCC from all of the other clinics in the area: patience. Not that they generate the most revenue, because they do not; not because they lure pet owner’s in with false promises, because their collective conscience as a clinic will not let them do this; but because they actually care about the pets and their owners. They are willing to wait for the customer to open their eyes. But, being a good veterinarian and charging a fair price is not enough in this medical field anymore. Customers perceive that there need to be coupons and incentives to get them through the door. In return, veterinarians believe that the only way customers will venture to them and remain is through these same tactics. It is a vicious cycle that can only be broken through one side seeing the difference.

3) There are many competitors that seemingly offer the same products and services as VCC, but in fact, VCC is a unique clinic.  

4) As Dr. Cribb articulates “Competitor A bastardizes the professional aura into a cold, sterile, corporate, parasitic approach.” Instead of focusing on what the client truly needs, Competitor A’s doctor has tunnel vision focused in on ultimate profit. The value of the customer is only as important as the money he or she is willing to give for what is perceived to be the best and necessary care for the pet. VCC, on the other hand, abides by higher standards of conduct that are directed more towards a small business (i.e. “local farm to table”) atmosphere.

5) In this tactfully “real” approach, VCC maintains far less of a corporate policy: At VCC, the main objective is not to solely maximize profit, but to “obtain a fair profit and revenue stream that is associated with real, true, tangible service” (as summarized by Dr. Cribb)

6) Online pharmaceutical companies (such as PetMeds) are a key proponent in the raising of local veterinary clinic prices. The loss of this (pharmaceutical) revenue must be compensated for by the raising of other prices present within routine veterinary care.

7) At VCC, however, there are two primary determinants of pricing: time and expertise/skill/knowledge.

8) Comparatively to Competitor A, VCC maintains superior services that cost 20-40% less. Furthermore, VCC rejects corporate policies and ensures a strong, caring, connection between doctor and patient/owner. Though Competitor A is of primary importance, there are other surrounding clinics that charge less than VCC. Though how Competitor A acts would seem to primarily affect VCC, these low charging clinics are actually what harm VCC the most. Dr. Cribb appears to be between a rock and a hard place. If he charges too high, as Competitor A does, he embodies precisely the attitude and values he has worked for years to reject. On the other hand, he cannot charge as low as the other clinics, because he will go out of business. Therefore, his only real way to achieve a high status while maintaining his moral ground is to generate a very loyal customer base.

9) Dr. Cribb devotes the entirety of his marketing strategy to getting people to trust him.

10) Before visiting VCC, pet owners could go to an establishment that prides itself on cheaper services. However, the reason that these clinics are usually able to price so low is because they provide a much poorer level of care/service.

11) For Dr. Cribb, this is the ideal loyal customer: “A rational customer who is looking for a mutually beneficial relationship will stay, most likely, for a long, long time. [A person] who is looking for exceptional medicine and honest answers, for a fair exchange.”

12) Dr. Cribb recognizes that his opportunity cost of the potential revenue from the sale made to “coupon customers” is not nearly as important as maintaining a wholesome atmosphere for his employees and loyal clients. According to Dr. Cribb, those types of customers are parasites (to veterinary clinics) just like the corporate business owners tend to be parasites to their customers. An ideal relationship is the business owner who is fair and just and provides a real service for a client who is also fair and just. If either side of this relationship becomes parasitic or deceptive, the system should and eventually will fail. In the words of Dr. Cribb: “Anyway, that is how I like to picture the world.” 

13) The motive becomes: run a business by tricking people or through gaining their respect. Dr. Cribb does the latter, but it is nowhere near as profitable. He believes that there is an added responsibility that comes with having a professional degree in this world. A person must be a leader in the community and be an honorable role model for all employees and customers.

Summarized by Cribb     2013