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piz

Mixed Economy, Mixed Premises

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This morning, my son's high-school band played at the grand opening of a new department store at a local mall. I have a bit of a personal attachment to this particular chain, because it started in the town where I grew up and I patronized their stores a lot in those days (this is their first store in the area where I live now).

The company's CEO was master of ceremonies for the event. After some warmup music and the national anthem (just before which the poorly secured American flag on the stage blew over in the wind), he read some opening remarks and spent a few minutes introducing a number of company executives and employees involved in the project (a major renovation of an existing facility). There was polite applause by a crowd composed mostly of lower-level store employees and those of us there to watch our kids in the band. It was all quite positive, if not terribly exciting.

Unfortunately, things then tuned sad. The CEO next started speaking about how the company has tremendous dedication to "giving back to the community" and "serving local needs." He followed this with an introduction of local charity "leaders." What was sad was that at least four times as many of those people came to the stage as company people. There was more applause (from everyone but me :blink:), more enthusiastic than for the employees.

The CEO's final remarks were just as bad. He introduced a number of local politicians (again, more than there had been employees) who were "involved" in the project, handing out kudos as if they had contributed something besides regulatory hurdles. His worst remark was when he said that these petty bureaucrats "outrank us all."

The final insult was that they had two ribbon-cuttings. The first was a long ribbon held by the charity people with hundred dollar bills attached to it, representing all the money that's going to be funnelled off to those parasites. The very last, and shortest, part of the event was the cutting of the unadorned ribbon to actually open the store. By that time nobody was paying much attention any more.

I was mildy nauseated by the whole thing. But the band sounded good (especially my son :)).

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I work at a supermarket, and there are little charity tins at my checkout.

People always say "well I better give back" when they put money in them.

Peeves me off just as much as hearing your story.

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