Thursday, June 12, 2008

America The Sellout

I would like you all to join me in a collective scream.

Thank you.

It's been a bad day.

The family that runs the distributor I work for has decided not to pay our health insurance anymore. They're probably going to use the money to buy another BMW instead. Or maybe one of their homes in the country club needs a new pool. That large bow-tie shaped one is soooo outdated. I bet one of their gajillion kids (they're Catholic) needs a solid gold retainer. Whatever the reason, I'm sure it's not good enough. The "free" health insurance, if you didn't count the copay and limits, was the last shining perk of this job. Now it's gone. Gone like the Mastodons.

If you subtract what I'll be paying for it a week, on top of what I'm paying for gas, divided by the number of hours I work and the ten hours I commute a week... Yeah, I'm making the same pay as a Wal-Mart employee. Only, Wal-Mart provides free vests and a friendly cult-like atmosphere. All my company provides is a dicKtatorship and a motto of "You'll do anything for job security!" And how. Our parent company announced in the news yesterday that they might be selling-out to Belgium. For years they've drilled it into our heads that they're superior because they're American Owned.

"Born Here! Brewed Here!"

As an employee, I was constantly bombarded with statistics on why I should be proud to work for this company. "The SAB in SABMiller stands for South African Brewed, dontcha know? 68% of their profits go outside the U.S. 100% of our profits stay in the states. Don't you love your country? Support this company because we support America! Buy American goods!" To which I say now, find me something that's American made and I'll buy it. I love the idea of America, much like I love the idea of fat-free ice cream that tastes good. Ideas like that usually fall short in reality.

America has disappointed me.

There, I said it. Bring on the torches. We're like the young hotshot who walks into the board meeting expecting everyone to listen. We're the bully. We think we're beautiful, powerful, rich, better. So it must be so. I can only imagine what other countries must think. Do they sit in the back of the room, older, wiser, and whisper "Who DO they think they are?" Do they humor us just because they have to, or is it because they can't wait to see us fall flat on our faces? Here's my confession. I'm not all that proud to be an American right now. I'm a little ashamed, actually.

If I could, I would scoop everyone up -the poor, the proud, the determined, the scared, the regular Joe's just trying to get by- and build a country worth putting faith into. It's a shame that all these good souls are out fighting for this country, and there's going to be so little of OUR country left by the time they get back.
"N.Y. Landmarks for Sale to Foreigners?" Where did we go wrong? "Sale Of An American Icon." Is it too late to turn around? "Stocks Turn Mixed As Oil Prices Rise." Because America? I want to believe. I do. So, I'll be leaving a light on... Just in case.

In Other (Lighter) News: We got our deposit back!!



At 12 June, 2008, Blogger mrspao said...

Good grief! But I am glad you got your wedding reception deposit back.

At 12 June, 2008, Blogger Peggy said...

I am SO sorry they've fucked with your health insurance. Time to find a new job?

I am so pleased the IDIOTS gave you your deposit back. It saves me having to go over there and be mean to them.

At 12 June, 2008, Blogger the planet of janet said...

i haven't seen free health insurance in a looooooong time ...

At 12 June, 2008, Blogger Chris said...

Good news about the deposit at least!

Do you still HAVE health insurance at least?! I haven't had free health insurance since I worked for the Mayo Clinic back in, um, 1990...

But yeah, your 2nd to the last paragraph really resonates with me. The rest of the world isn't very happy with America... and really, who can blame them?

At 12 June, 2008, Blogger fiwa said...

Tink, I'm so sorry to hear that about the health insurance and your job. Things are getting ugly all over.

I hope you can move on and find something better.


At 12 June, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, Tink!! [moaning to the great wailing and gnashing of teeth] This makes me want to boycott SeaWorld and Busch Gardens, much as my family enjoys going there.

I may not truly understand your pain in this, but I think I've got an "in" on it: my brother works for the other guys...the ones who were bought out by the South African company...and after THAT happened, he was laid off. He works long, hard hours, and this is the thanks he gets?!?
(sounds familiar, no?)
It was a very scary time, because he has a wife and three kids depending on his paycheck and benefits. It took several months before he could get hired again (yes, by the same company) but in a different job capacity.

It *is* a small bit of hope to have your deposit back. I'll be waiting to hear of the WONDERFUL place you end up getting for your special occasion.

It's been a heckuva week just about everywhere, for the past 2 weeks. I'm kinda there myself. My post for tomorrow: gratitude. Because I need a to get a better attitude, and remind myself what *IS* good in my life.

At 12 June, 2008, Blogger Tink said...

Yes, I at least still HAVE insurance. I understand that most people don't get free insurance anymore. I should probably mention that my company offered free health care for singletons and cheap insurance to families in lieu of annual pay raises. There's been no mention of pay raises being implemented again since this policy change, which (understandably) is making everyone a bit nervous.

Re: The deposit. Hoop said that they didn't even argue with him! In fact, the gentleman he spoke with (someone we'd never talked with before), apologized profusely and then offered to mail back our check. I'm so glad I didn't have to kill anyone. That would have made this whole wedding business awfully messy. ;)

At 12 June, 2008, Blogger Jay said...

I wonder how much money John McCain's wife, who's family is a MAJOR stakeholder in Anheuser Busch, stands to make off the sell-out?

At one of my former jobs, every single year they raised the "employee contribution" to the health care costs for almost a decade. Oddly enough, those contributions almost exactly the same amount as our raises. Weird huh? Then they finally just shut down and moved to Mexico as we all knew they would do eventually. Even though they promised, over and over, that they would NEVER do any such thing.

There is one slimmer of hope here though. Many times when an American Company is taken over by a European company, the benefits actually increase. So, if they don't shut down operations it's possible that things would actually get better. Assuming your bosses don't get to stay in their positions as bosses. ;-)

At 12 June, 2008, Blogger Reb said...

Oh Tink, that is the last thing you need right now. Brush off and update your resume just in case and then hope to hell you don't need to use 'til after the honeymoon.

Glad you got the deposit back.

At 12 June, 2008, Blogger meno said...

Sing it sister!

Good news about the deposit. Otherwise we have had to go all Rambo on their ass.

At 12 June, 2008, Blogger Maggie said...

I know how you feel. And the disappointment of hopes dashed is almost too much to bear anymore. But still I hope.

And believe me in other countries (here and France are those I've met so far in the last couple of years) mainly ask what are we thinking? I tell them, I'm asking that too.

Hang in there and keep looking for a place that will be better for you. You never know when a better job opportunes itself. Keep the doors open and eyes wide.

Glad you got that money back, cause if I'd had to fly down there and kick butt, they would have been screaming for mercy - since you know flights are like murder nowadays. In fact, after a flight of no service and wallet draining, I'm pretty sure the court systems would let me off scott free on the grounds of temporary insanity.

At 12 June, 2008, Blogger gr said...

Tink, darling, as you well know: my work is still designed and made in America by an American, and f!cking cute too.
Frankly, your parent company? I heard that on the news too, and: f!ck them too. Jerks.
Will there be a political change in Washington in November, with 5-6 dollar gas (and rising) and hard working Americans with no health insurance? I hope there will be a change, and I hope that dipsh!t W. __________. And McCain? _______

At 12 June, 2008, Blogger LL said...

Ahhhh my young padwan... Welcome to the dark side.

At 12 June, 2008, Blogger anaglyph said...

Yeah, but that's how it works these days isn't it. The slow whittling away of all the things that should be part of your rights as a citizen.

You guys are further down the track but we're watching it happen now. Currently we have in Australia an excellent (but not so excellent as it once was) public health system, so even if you're not on a private plan you are assured of high quality care. But slowly the privatized funds are getting the upper hand and the government falls for the lure of the windfall they can make by selling off the utilities.

Then I expect to see what you see there - health plans offered as part of job incentives... and then, eventually, the removal of those as well.

It's the Boiling the Frog Syndrome. No wonder civilizations almost inevitably end up in collapse or revolution.

At 12 June, 2008, Blogger Gordo said...

Our last major brewer sold out to the Japanese 5 years ago. Just as well, it's only good as a weed-killer, anyway. ;-)

I'll add you and Hoop to my ever-growing list of "If I had a $billion, I'd move these folks up here to the land of socialized healthcare". There may be the odd wait for things (psst, it's nowhere near as bad as the Republicans make it out to be), but nobody has to decide between groceries and a visit to the doctor.

Excellent news on the deposit. There's been enough killing.

At 12 June, 2008, Blogger Mignon said...

I know. Michelle Obama lets it slip that she's "finally proud to be an American" and the media and wingnuts jump all over her for it, as if for the last eight years we've been the paragon of worldly goodness and responsibility. Chuh.

In reality, most people are all, "yeah, me too, sister. Me too."

I told my husband I think I'm becoming a socialist, because look what our capitalism is creating. Our country is being run by the Haves.

/end rant

At 12 June, 2008, Blogger moo said...

Hooray you got the deposit back!

(I'm not touching the health insurance stuff with a ten foot pole.)

At 12 June, 2008, Blogger mamatulip said...

I'm really glad you got your deposit back.

And I'm really sorry about the health insurance.

At 13 June, 2008, Blogger Chelle Y. said...

Ah, Tink, I am sorry about that. :(

At 13 June, 2008, Blogger womaninawindow said...

Sonny, sonny, over here (old man's voice). Ya, you son of a bitch, it's me in my walker (older and wiser Canadian) OH! Yer a girl. Well never mind that. Have you finally taken your head outta the sand?

OK, it's me again but still Canadian, just sans walker. My husband is American and I'm Canadian and we've lived on both sides of the border and it's been enlightening...from both sides! For both of us! What a freaky ride citizenship is! It's good for moments of humbleness though...for both of us.

At 13 June, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's unfortunate, but the age of patriotism has past. America used to make good products and do their own thing. Now we're owned by everyone.


At 13 June, 2008, Blogger Kimmommy said...

I'm sorry your bosses are asses, but I'm Catholic too. That's not a prerequisite for being a jerk. :(

At 13 June, 2008, Blogger Tink said...

Aw Kimmommy, I only meant that they had a ton of kids (which they do) because they're Catholic. They don't believe in birth control.

At 13 June, 2008, Blogger the Bag Lady said...

Oh, dear. Funny how things work, isn't it? Canadians complain about everything being bought up by the Americans.
And yes, some of us do sit back and wonder WTF is going on in the States. But then, a lot of us sit back and wonder WTF is going on in Canada, too!
Personally, I sit back and wonder simply WTF is going on in the world... (the other thing I wonder a lot is "Is it too early to have a beer?")

Glad you got your deposit back and hope you find a wonderful place for your reception!

At 13 June, 2008, Blogger furiousBall said...

get out of there lady, stat

At 13 June, 2008, Anonymous catscratch diva said...

Yah, girl. I'd be going to my local neighborhood WallyMart. The perks are gone and I'd be telling them to sell one of their kids if they're that hard up for funds.

At 13 June, 2008, Blogger Farmer*swife said...

Sheeze, I think we are having the same day. Only, you are upset with America and I am upset and down trodden with people in general (but, not my bloggies).

I pimped your frustration at my place.

Anyhow, I'm gonna' count my blessings to pull me out of my funk and I'm going to wish you a "Happy Friday" and "Happy Wedding Planning!"

At 13 June, 2008, Blogger Mike said...

watch the video.

you'll understand why it's happening, and why your dream of a utopia country isn't possible. At least now.

At 13 June, 2008, Blogger Newt said...

I hear ya girl!

My shirt is made in America. I almost fell over this morning when I read the tag and noticed it.

I didn't think we did that anymore.

At 13 June, 2008, Blogger coffespaz said...

There will always be things wrong with our country, there will always be things right with our country. I have to agree that right now, it seems the negatives are outweighing the positives. By alot!!

I am proud that you put up that needs to be said. needs to be changed.

I am so sorry you have fallen victim to this. Hang in there and keep your chin up. HUGS

Great news on your deposit too. That had to make you feel good given your other news!

At 13 June, 2008, Blogger geenalyn said...

Yippee on getting your deposit back...poo on the health insurance.

Come join me in Canada....

At 13 June, 2008, Blogger Starchy said...

Well, that sucks! There's a Friday the 13th thing for you, even if it happened yesterday.

If they did away with my health insurance, I don't think the door would hit my butt on my way out since that's about the only reason I work anyway.

And can I just've got some freaking funny commenters!

At 13 June, 2008, Blogger Foo said...

“…decided not to pay our health insurance anymore. They're probably going to use the money to buy another BMW instead.”

You hear a tale like this once, and it's a shame. Twice, and it makes you go, “Hmmm.” Three or – though statistically insignificant to everyone but those affected – starts to feel like a pattern.

I have to count my blessings. My company only slightly reduced our medical benefits (as long as we pay double what we paid last year) and halved our raises for 30% more working hours (and 150% more bullshit). But at least the savings are going for a better cause than yours. My company's parent company will certainly buy another vineyard or maybe give the money to some deserving poor people – which actually could be the employees if this keeps up.

Even Employee One (the first guy hired to work for the company) is disgruntled and has registered a web site domain that cleverly plays to that theme. Can't tell you what it is, lest he Google for it, find it here, and trace me back to my lair. But trust me: it was apt and clever.

I'm sure the next administration will fix everything, though.

At 14 June, 2008, Blogger Sparkling Red said...

Oh man. That's awful.

I wonder if you might be better off if your company gets sold to Belgian management. Most Europeans get way more benefits and days off than North Americans. That might extend to an American branch, maybe...

At 14 June, 2008, Blogger Ginni Dee said...

Geez, and I was just bitching because I had rainwater in my basement. That really sucks!

Hope that kid gags on his gold retainer! Or that he drops it in the driveway and it gets run over by the BMW, they get a flat tire and have to fix it themselves because there's no one available to fix it for them! And that the fleas of a thousand camels infests their armpits!


At 15 June, 2008, Blogger Aurora said...

That's terrible. Come away to Canada, where we don't depend on self-interested companies to pay health care bills.

At 15 June, 2008, Blogger Tequila Mockingbird said...

i dont have health insurence. it blows. i am worried about the plate in my leg, but i cant check it out until next jan when my insurence kicks in.

they wonder why young people our age are in such poor health; we cant afford to go to the doctor regularly!

At 16 June, 2008, Blogger Knight said...

I feel you Tink. I consider myself a realist but would like to be an idealist. America embarrasses and disappoints me a lot. We could do so much better if people thought about each other more often and made their choices based on the greater good of the country rather than what's best for their own pocket. I'm surprised you didn't get any hate comments in regard to this. You have some great readers here.
I'm very lucky that the owner of my company is a really good person and they are working really hard right now on adjusting health care and getting our feedback on everything. They could have dropped it but he cares about people more than his personal paycheck. The owner is possibly the only person I truly respect at this place.


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