I saw several stories yesterday about the new regulations put on the airline industry touted as a "passengers' bill of rights." Several of the people interviewed had the same response: "it's about time!" As usual I had a somewhat contrary thought. Answer me this question: "what does it say about the state of American business when the Federal government has to force an industry to treat its customers decently?" We have come a very far distance from the notion that good business involved good customer service. We still give the idea lip service. A large part of the proposed regulation on the mortgage industry is much the same. It says something pretty depressing when the government has to promulgate regulations requiring the business to obey the law and treat customers with respect and decency.
When we went shopping on Monday we drove past our favorite little gas station and were very glad we didn't need to fill up. It was packed. We didn't have to look far for the reason. The posted price was $3.92 which was $.22 lower than the other stations in the area. Normally the prices varied only by a penny or two. And that $3.92 was $.25 more than it had been the week before. Some stations in Chicago are charging $4.50+.
Here is another entry in the 'contracts don't mean anything any more' file. I can see the move to assign a PE teacher to 2 schools (depending on how many students are in the school). But to insist that teachers essentially work for free for 5 days during what is left of the school year and to count three snow days as furlough days already paid for requiring the teachers to refund that money to the school board is worse than cruel. And then for a school board member to remark that 'at least they still have a job' is beyond cruel. I am sure the teachers had a contract but no one takes contracts seriously. Just take a look at how seriously the new Superintendent of the Chicago school system took his contract with his current school system just signed in February. He seems to think that just because he didn't go looking for the new opportunity he should be able to skip out on his contract. Would you expect much 'good faith' if you were negotiating with this opportunist?
Two stories in sequence on Chris Martenson's Blog caught my eye. The first involved the dramatic increase in copper thefts in a Georgia town. The second concerned the arrest of two suspects who are charged with stealing catalytic converters in a California. Little wonder given the dramatic increase in metals and other commodities recently.