The Arrogance Of The 1%

  As America approaches another Presidential election, one of the central tenets of this cycle is the widening gap between the haves and the have-nots.Today there is data which suggest that 99% of the world’s wealth and resources are actually owned and controlled by less than 5% of the world’s people. What that means in the reverse is that up to 95% of the world’s now 7 billion and climbing inhabitants are actually left to fight over the 1 % that falls off the table of the rich and powerful.

The Republican candidate for President Mitt Romney, his  party and surrogates, argue that those who seek to talk about these disparities are envious and resentful of success. Romney himself is reportedly worth a quarter of a billion dollars and counting. I doubt that there are many people who would not gladly trade financial positions with Mitt Romney. How then are Republicans able to make the envy argument?

They do so by convincing low information people to believe in ideas and ultimately vote against their own best interest. My focus today is not to talk about republican deceit , but to frame what is actually happening not just in America but all over the world. The defeat of French President Sarkozy of France may actually shed some light into that feeling of hopelessness the world’s people are feeling at the unmitigated greed of those who have everything yet have an insatiable rapacious desire for more.

In other parts of the globe movements are springing up, people are demanding their share of the world’s resources , whilst at the same time decrying the immense gluttony of major corporations, and what some perceive to be their wanton disregard for the little man. 

Several years ago as a small business owner I was approached by a representatives of a large corporation called Sprint, Sprint had just launched their pre-paid line called Boost, This new prepaid line was to operate on the IDN network, IDN uses a sim card and allowed Sprint to offer users  walkie-talkie service, a move which was revolutionary then.

At the time they would have been happy to have a homeless person selling the product. Fast forward to today, Boost has revolutionized the pre-pay industry with their $50 per month plan with no contract, this plan offers  internet , unlimited domestic talk and text, and the ability with on time payment to shed up to $15 from the $50 plan over an 18 month period.

What’s not to like?

The idea took off beyond the wildest dreams of Sprint and the planners, in addition Sprint offered cheap phones to the consumers which they argued they subsidized . Sprint then started arguing that small retailers should not purchase too many phones all at once because they placed much finincial resources into mass purchasing of the devices and it was bad business to have them sitting on store shelves. So they cut off supplies, sometimes for weeks on end , in an effort they argue would dry up merchandize being held by retailers. Never mind that small retailers like myself had to deal with customers who came to my establishment and could not find the devices , sometimes for weeks on end.

As the popularity of the plan grew so did the desire for more sophisticated devices commensurate with the times. In effect consumers wanted all of the trappings of the internet, talk and text, up to date devices, low monthly payments and no constraints of a contract. So the bigwigs decided that the product was now strong enough to support direct stores . So they embarked on enticing potential small business people to invest in stores carrying nothing but Boost and virgin mobile phones and accessories, yet Sprint  bears none of the cost and over-heads of the operational costs associated with those stores.

Of course yours truly said thanks but no thanks. One of their reps told me recently quote”Mike we have countless dealers and you are the only one with a Barber shop in the same facility as your store.” I told him my Barber shop stays you may go.

What Sprint is seeking to do is to dictate to small business people how they should conduct their business, they want to add certificates to business people’s computer on the premise they want to discourage unauthorized retailers from selling pre-paid pins, they frame it as a means of driving business to the door of business people like myself, in essence it is a tracking device. A tracking device which is similar to their attempts to tell retailers how many phones they must sell per month , how their products must be displaced in the retailers own store and how much space and merchandize retailers must devote and stock respectively.

The threat?

Do not do as I say, we de-authorize you”. Never mind that Sprint’s name is so bad in certain circles many people discard their Sprint contracts to get Boost and Virgin Mobile services, unaware they are both owned by Sprint. The arrogance of Sprint in assuming that small businesses will take on over-heads to market their products is staggering , yet some small business people unaware that I am myself an authroized retailer, have confided in me that it is extremely difficult to operate the direct stores with all of the cost and risks selling only the aforementioned products.

None of the other providers of cellular services I market in my store have ever approached me with any of the demands Sprint has the audacity to demand.

I mention this story to highlight the blatant disrespect and disdain large corporations have for small business people and the ordinary man. At the same time they chose this audacious path ,they give away American jobs to poorly trained people in the Philippines and other Countries who are extremely rude and incompetent , frustrating customers who then return to stores like mine to sort through Sprint’s customer service problems.

Many large corporations have come and gone, America needs to constantly seek to encourage and facilitate small businesses in the Towns cities and hamlets all across the nation, our people are better served when we offer intimate friendly service.

We wait to see how Sprint will eventually evolve.