Monday, August 24, 2009

Is the Bad Economy Tempting Corporations to Do Bad Things?

Even when Corporate America was making tons of money, there were a lot of shady things going on with that gang of thieves; usually, revolving around that dynamic duo of "greed & hubris".

Economists and other experts close to the scene have written books by the score, recounting the worst global financial crisis since The Great Depression.  The failure of capitalism, the housing crisis, the failure of common sense, and the failure of Wall Street have been the most compelling topics of failure. 

Naturally, these books recounting all these failures have been bestsellers; at least something's succeeding in this economy.

In the meantime, as corporations continue struggling with layoffs and less than stellar earnings, I wonder how many of them have begun cutting corners and started doing some unethical things in order to make a few extra bucks.  And when they get caught, their response is to blame it on a "glitch".  Sure, a "glitch" explains it all.

Sorry, I'm not buying it.

Recently, Enterprise Rent-a-Car purchased approximately 66,000 Chevrolet Impalas and decided to save $175 per car by deleting the passenger side panel air bag.  In other words, they callously decided that $11.5 million in their coffers was more important than putting thousands of customers (and employees) at risk while all those cars were in service.  Let's assume that they had those cars in service for an average of 18,000 miles per vehicle.  That's nearly 12 million unsafe miles for those cars to be driven.  I wonder how many accidents occurred in those instances where a passenger was hurt or killed due to the missing air bags?

It gets worse.

Enterprise recently turned around and sold hundreds of those air bag challenged Impalas to unsuspecting buyers, claiming the cars were fully equipped, air bags and all.  Luckily, they got caught and the story was exposed in a recent Kansas City Star investigation.  Enterprise was caught red-handed.  It was bad enough they put the cars in service without the air bags; but they lied about it when they sold the cars to people who apparently paid for the phantom air bags and drove those cars with that nice feeling of safety thinking those air bags might save their passengers' lives if they were plowed into by some drunk driver.  Nope.

So now Enterprise has been exposed.  The cat's out of the bag.  What's their explanation?  "Uh, it was a glitch."

A "glitch"?  That's nice sounding business jargon that completely skirts the issue.  Exactly how did the "glitch" occur in so many different vehicles in so many different locations across the country?  I'd really like to know.

I'm wondering if any investigation is going to be performed on this "glitch"?  Or has Enterprise PAC money bought their way out of trouble with the political power brokers?  I've got a feeling that this story is going to be buried and the public relations spin doctors will concoct a convenient explanation how this whole thing was still just some mysterious "glitch"; but don't worry...It's fixed now.  Thank you very much and have a nice day.

I'm sorry, Enterprise.

I still not buying it. 

I know how you operate. 

This time, your cost cutting measures went just a little too far.