Wimminz – celebrating skank ho's everywhere

July 2, 2014

10 items or less

Filed under: Wimminz — Tags: , , , — wimminz @ 10:22 am

DMJ has a piece up, partly about self service checkouts.

Given a choice, I’ll use them every time, despite the fact they are as flaky as fuck and keep telling me to place the item in the bag even though I haven’t scanned it yet, and the assistant gets called so I can continue.

My reasons are many and varied, there aren’t any “10 items or less” or “baskets only” aisles any more, and I want to pay and get outta there, not queue behind some hambeast.

Queueing isn’t an option, because most of the till isles are unmanned, saves the company money, and they will stay that way just short of the point where people do the shop, see the queue, and abandon the entire trolley and go somewhere else.

The “manned” tills, there really isn’t a fucking difference any more, some clown who swipes each item over a laser scan head instead of me having to do it for myself, that really is the *only* significant difference.

This issue behind this, and everything else, is we have come to this point, thanks to technology, where every single possible aspect of the job that might require any kind of skill or experience or knowledge or intellect has been automated away.

This is the point that I believe DMJ and others and missing, staff are now a fungible commodity, you hire a worker, since no skills or intellect or training is requires, one worker will do as well as any other, just start them at 8 am, they are in the tills by 9 am and unsupervised by 10 am, apart from the ever present 24/7 hands on supervision and control of the machines and the system itself of course.

During the original industrial revolution, this was what the people rebelled against, it wasn’t so much the fact that one machine could put 50 weavers out of business, it was the fact that that one machine required no skill to operate, a 12 year old boy was good enough, and right there you have the same thing, staff as the fungible commodity…

12 year old boys and checkout staff are a lot CHEAPER to hire and easier to replace at a moment’s notice than the old way of doing things.

Again, if you thought the industrial revolution = the end of craftsmanship, you are a bloody fool, and you have clearly never seen a skilled miller / turner / welder / engineer at work.

There is a fundamental principle here, and it is vital, other wise you *utterly* miss the point and get everything else wrong.

The various new technologies, in and of themselves, does not turn the workforce into unskilled fungible worker drones.

NO matter what the technology, be it belt driven workshops, jacquard looms, electricity, computers, automated checkouts, it is always and without exception HOW THESE TECHNOLOGIES WERE APPLIED BY MANAGEMENT that turned the workforce into unskilled fungible worker drones.

This is the primary function of workforce management, if 99.9% of your workforce is as utilitarian and fungible as a basic 2×4 lego block, you just solved 99.9% of your potential problems, from the management perspective, and workers are *always* a problem from the management perspective, never an asset.

DMJ currently has a piece up about the Prisoner’s Dilemma, hello, what did you think the workers throwing their clogs into the machinery was, except the 99th iteration he talks about in that piece.

What did he think the old Guilds were? I’m not saying they were a perfect solution, or even a desirable one, but they did ring-fence being say a smith, from employment, a boss can sack you, you are no longer a smith, and hire someone else in your place, fungible… in the guild you were a smith for life, or until the guild itself kicked you out…. the boss could sack you, but he couldn’t employ just anyone to fill your role, it had to be another smith.

In a sense, when marriage was *only* the business of the church, and none of the business of the state, then that too was in many ways a guild, and if stable marriages and stable families was your goal, it too worked better than the present system, albeit at a price.

Everything, you see, has a price, always has, always will.

Something else everyone has forgotten the true meaning of, and it is also fundamental to the whole prisoner’s dilemma thing, is trust.

Trust does not mean what you think it means.

I trust that falling 100 feet down a vertical cliff onto boulders is going to kill me, every, single, fucking, time.

trust != fair

Ergo “trusted working practices” do not equal “fair working practices“, and so on, but nowadays we have the two mixed up irrevocably, another trick of management.

Since time immemorial, this has been an issue for “management”, by whatever name management went by at the time, getting the maximum output from a given worker, for the minimum outlay in return.

In prisoner’s dilemma speak, management will always fuck you over as much as they can.

To be sure, the Guild would fuck you over too, but the Guild could not reduce its members to a fungible commodity, without at the same time utterly destroying itself.

If management, or the baron, or king, or the industrialist, wanted ten silversmiths, he had to negotiate with the guild, the guild for their part could simply refuse to supply them, either the price wasn’t good enough or whatever other reasons there were, the guild could not be coerced, only destroyed.

You want an heir, you’ll need a wife, which means you’ll need a marriage, which means you’ll need the church (which in those days meant the church of Rome) which worked OK until ‘enery de 8th, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Not however the history as taught in schools, that is itself anti-guild and pro-management worker drone.

Nor am I sitting here and claiming that a return to 14th century methods will solve any, much less, all, our modern ills.

I do however state that what we have now is not in any way different, just because we are now dealing with a computerised automated checkout, and not a weaving loom powered via overhead shafts and belts from a waterwheel, sure, the technology is different, but the technology isn’t the issue, the management attitude is the issue, and that is the same.

The public clock tower and chiming bells was created for no purpose other than to ensure the worker drones all got two work together at the beginning of a shift, in order to maximise production…. and the later tradition of being given a watch upon retirement was nothing more than a symbolic gesture that once again, your time was your own.

The guilds were not all good, every system has it’s fucking problems, but it was the guilds who gave rise to universities, and guilds who have rise to the local community management via the guild hall…. but when guilds were basically abolished by management by the 1600’s, the thing the worker offered the guild, effectively indentured labour, was carried on, almost until the present day, but now that labour was indentured directly to management, and not to the guild.

We’re back to “trust” and “fair” being two separate concepts.

The guilds were of course chastised for being a burden on the economy, stifling innovation, and rent seeking behaviour, not that any of these things were necessarily untrue, not that the capitalist system that replaced it did not suffer from the exact same drawbacks.

Twain said history don’t repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme.

Twain was right, because throughout history we have the human animal, who has essentially remained unchanged, Machiavelli would fit right in at the UN.

The automated checkout is like the industrial spinning loom, it is basically just a tool.

The important question you should always ask is this, why was this tool made just so, instead of being made just so… and then you start to see that far from having nothing in common, the automated checkout and the industrial loom are actully identical in one way, they are designed to be “attended to” by fungible unskilled worker drones.

90% of my day job is providing teh intertubez for just about every high street business you can shake a stick at, and they all have basically the same management approach to worker drones.

Do you have any idea what the modern version of clogs in the machines is?

Do you have any notion of the purely observational and personal opinion that I’m starting to see sabotage now, and I do NOT mean disgruntled employee types format c:

Do you have any idea what the modern version of clogs in the machines is?

Really… think about it

Do you have any idea what the modern version of clogs in the machines is?

How do you, undetectably (or rather, unattributable to you personally) take down these modern weaving machines?

  • 8 x AA batteries and the guts of a plasma ball and a marigold glove
  • a quick shot of abs melting strong contact cleaner
  • a quick shot of salted or sugary water spray
  • cycling the power switch when nobody is looking
  • googling destructive console commands, for when a fellow drones terminal is left open and unattended
  • intense UV LED’s (wiping/corrupting EEPROM)

The list goes on and on, and I am starting to see all of them, or in some cases symptoms, because proof is impossible, unless they are caught in the act.

Like clogs in the machinery, in the early days, it was literally insect bugs, bzzzt, zap, and so even if you can identify the agent, you cannot identify the individual who introduced the agent.

95% of the time if an individual on site hangs around when you are doing a break fix, offers you a coffee, chats about this and that, that is the individual.

I just smile, if nobody threw cogs in the machines, there would be less work for me.

And people think I just do my putty logs and documentation and photos up the wazzoo to cover my ass from management, I just love being vastly under-estimated.



  1. in a follow up to myself, two things…

    1/ what was stuxnet, but a clog in the machine, albeit an organised massed clogging?

    2/ so when shit “goes missing” and I’m asked about it, several weeks after the event, when any hope of retroactive proofs are impossible, so I dig out my stash, find the form documenting that particular item with that particular serial number was shipped by me, and find the form from the shipping agent acknowledging receipt of that particular shipment on such and such a date and time, and all I get is a “thank you”, not a “well done, great organisational skillz”…

    Comment by wimminz — July 2, 2014 @ 10:40 am

  2. In regards to 2/, perhaps the reason you get a begrudging “Thank you”, and not the appropriate answer, is because they were hoping to find someone to lay the blame on. This modern world is a shark tank, and nobody cares about anything but themselves. If they can lay the blame on one of the worker drones, it means less work hunting down the real culprit and a pat on the back from their superiors.

    I recently had a lesson in this: I received a letter stating that I owed back taxes to my locality. After 4 days and a long email chain, they admitted that they had no proof that I actually lived in the locality at the time they claimed, but that the burden of proof was on ME, not them. Thankfully, I keep ample records and was able to exonerate myself. I wished them good luck on avoiding future negligence, but I doubt it will change anything. Imagine if the tables were turned, and Germany said the US owed back taxes for land usage, adjusted for inflation, plus interest, for land usage of colonies during WWI, without any proof provided. Lois Lerner of the IRS can destroy 1 year old records without penalty, while the rest of us must keep 7 years of meticulous financials records if we wish to exonerate ourselves against tax errors. But even though she destroyed the records, those emails must have passed through a server somewhere. I expect that the corruption went much deeper than just the IRS, and she is being protected by those higher up. It is becoming ever more clear to even the people on the street that the rule of law is shattered, and different standards apply based on your lordship.

    While my experience is a simple case, it bodes ominous signs of what’s to come. We live in a society where people are accused of various crimes or costs and liabilities, without any checks or burdens of proof on the accusers. When the accuser has nothing to lose and everything to gain, socially, politically, and financially, you will see more of the same. When will we live in such a society? A moot question, look around you, we’re already in it. This should be all the reason anyone needs to follow your advice of maintaining ample exculpatory records of anything and everything we’re involved in. Yes, there are cases where said exculpatory records are thrown out in courts, but it’s better than nothing. Better to be a potential liability for the courts and major corporations than a pushover.

    Getting back to your post, I think the massive encroachment of the surveillance state is partially an attempt to capture and harshly punish those attempting to throw clogs in the machine. According to google, Steve recently searched “destructive console commands”, and according to his credit card records, he recently bought 8 AA batteries, marigold gloves, a plasma ball, and UV LEDs. Fred did the same thing, except with cash, but when we use footage from the store camera and our persistent facial recognition algorithm, we were able to confirm this. They were both sentenced to 8 years in a maximum security prison to set an example to all the other peons, I mean, for destroying the glorious tools of the proletariat. Of course, as I alluded to earlier, the panopticon will not be turned in on the management, unless they get any crazy ideas and try to change the system. Even if they’re a clean slate, they can always be set up, just ask Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

    Comment by freeman — July 2, 2014 @ 3:38 pm

    • I am in 100% agreement with everything you say, particularly the first para….

      Comment by wimminz — July 2, 2014 @ 3:53 pm

      • I forgot to add, Fred received double time for transacting in physical currency, a crime that was retroactively introduced last month. :*)

        Comment by freeman — July 2, 2014 @ 10:01 pm

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