Good Morning and Happy Hump Day!
It is amusing for me to reflect on ‘water cooler’ conversations amongst friends or co-workers. A co-worker, who has a military service background, was discussing a recent plane crash with another co-worker. He was recalling that for some air drills the pilots would remind their human cargo that the planes they were traveling in were built by the lowest bidder. That simultaneously struck my funny bone and also sent a shiver down my spine. I laughed because somewhere along the line I remember some forgotten movie where a character spoke these exact words. But then the gravity of the truth of that statement was like a bucket of cold water against my unsuspecting back.
This is the world we live in today. Your plane, your car, your phone, you shoes, your pooper-scooper – nearly everything you use or come into contact with is produced by a company that is operating on the cheapest principal. Based on the minimum specifications and the materials needed, everything is factored on lowest cost to be profitable on the back end the quickest. According to the Google machine, the average cost of a 737 commercial airplane is somewhere between $51.5 – $87 million dollars. That is for a single plane. Doing a little rough math, if you figure a plane has 300 seats and you charge $100 per seat (or 100 seats @ $300 each works too), it would take 1,717 trips (using single flight, non-stop for simplicity) at full capacity to pay just for that one airplane at the low end of that cost spectrum. This of course is not taking into consideration: fuel, staff, maintenance on the mechanical parts, wear and tear on the interior, unforeseen damage repair (interior/exterior), inventory, safety accessories, cleaning and inspections et al. Now obviously some airlines charge more and that would factor in the number of trips needed to ‘break even’ on the cost of the plane but you can, in a narrow view, see how the economics play out and the need to minimize costs.
Take a look at your own daily life. If you own a vehicle, chances are you financed it and pushed for the best deal (cheapest in most cases) based on your available finances. In addition to the down payment (if any) and sales tax (if applicable), you now have to contend with a monthly payment, the periodic fuel needed, oil changes, scheduled maintenance (if following the recommended schedule set forth by the vehicle manufacturer), unscheduled maintenance and a plethora of other associated expenses with owning a vehicle (registration, emissions, parking/city permits, etc.). Whether you are looking at a product expense from the viewpoint of a CEO or just as an individual, the cost is just one piece of your financial puzzle. Usually people in an average income position are skewing toward the less expensive bottom line so that it leaves more dollars (or enter your host country’s currency here) for other facets of daily life and/or operating expenses.
Moving from the topic of flying in an airplane that was made by the lowest bidder, the co-workers veered into politics and Trump bashing. I’m not going to validate or rebut any of their arguments about Donald Trump’s alleged sanity but I will take some umbrage with their generalization that ‘people who voted for Trump are ignorant and racist’. Are some of the people who voted for Donald Trump ignorant and racist? Sure. Statistically speaking it’s almost a certainty. But for that measure so are some of the people who voted for Hillary Clinton. These co-workers missed the irony of their statement. In saying what they said about those voters (that they are ignorant and racist), it in turn showed that they were also guilty of at least being ignorant.
How many people in this country, or any country for that matter, have had grandparents or great grandparents? Now of those who have had grandparents and/or great grandparents, how many of you have heard them speak or convey something along racial lines that is just a stereo-type or vulgar with no valid reason? I’m raising my hand. I had grandparents and more than one of them spoke about people of a darker skin tone. They threw out generalizations and used racially derogatory names to describe the darker skinned people. That was them, not me. Were they a bit racist? Honestly I would say so but that doesn’t make me a racist because I have their blood inside me. But these people who call Donald Trump a racist (he may or may not be one) and also say the same about all of his supporters because they support him, pardon me but that is bull hockey. I like baseball and support the product on the field by watching streamed games and going to stadiums but that does not make me a professional baseball player. Heck there are people inside baseball stadiums who do not even like baseball (parents who brought their kids, stadium workers, engineers, security, etc.) but someone somewhere would say that baseball stadiums are full of nothing but baseball fans. If I haven’t mentioned before I hate speaking in absolutes!
Obviously I am using some liberal examples to make my point here but society likes to bully public opinion to win their cause. No one wants to use good old common sense anymore. If you’re not first, you’re last and no one wants to be last. Everyone, no matter how big a loser they are, wants to be a winner. Everything seems to have devolved from having multiple opinions and ideas seen as a good thing, to now there has to be a clear cut right (answer) and everything else is wrong no matter how close it may be to the ‘right’ answer or idea or solution.
Sorry about that. Got up on Ye Old Soapbox and started rabbling to the messes, er…masses. Just a little virtual tap on the shoulder to remind you; whether you are traveling on a train, subway, airplane, taxi/Uber, rickshaw, ski lift or what-have-you…someone probably fashioned it as cheaply as they could afford. And chances are it is in need of or overdue for maintenance. So good luck and may today not be the day that the buck stops with you.
As a side note from your favorite blogger (making a bit of an assumption here), it goes to show that even smart people can be ignorant. Do not pigeon hole people just because they do not think exactly like you do. There was a world leader for Germany in the 1940’s who wanted everyone to think alike and look alike. Aside from being a moustache icon…not too many people speak highly of him today. Keep thinking outside the box and for the love of Pete (Rose I’m assuming) please stop bemoaning the Trump/Clinton election outcome.