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Weak Economy Is No Excuse -- DeWese

June 2001
I will be 59 this month and I'm getting crotchety. Lots of things annoy me.

Our era of excess communications annoys me. Everyone, including many adolescents whose voices haven't changed, have cell phones. Cell phones really annoy me in airports and on airplanes. I was on a flight recently where the guy next to me, the people in front of me and behind me were all speaking on cell phones just before takeoff. The flight attendant had to insist that all five hang up for takeoff. Here is some news. All five of those self-important louts were having trivial personal conversations—in loud voices I might add.

Of course, as soon as we were in the air, all five opened their laptops, you guessed it, to play games. Furthermore, all five boarded the plane with three bags, all hooked together on wheels. These wheeled bags, of course, enable them to depart the airport quickly so they can call some other friend to announce, "I'm on my cell, leaving the airport and I just scored 25,000 playing Tetris." My personal reaction to this airport behavior is to board planes carrying nothing. Yep, I've got nada—no cell phone, no bags, no newspaper, nothing.

Long-winded voice mail also irritates me. Long-winded e-mails anger me. Excess communication abounds, and I'm mad as hell and can't take it anymore.

Here is something else that goes with my crotchetiness. I don't believe everything I read or hear.

Here's an example. Both the Printing Industries of America (PIA) and the National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL) reported that commercial print sales were up seven and a fraction percent for the year 2000. That means that if commercial print sales were $1.00 for the year 1999, then sales were $1.07 for 2000. Now PIA and NAPL are reporting that print sales are up only five and a fraction percent for 2001. If this growth holds for the entire year, it means that the 1999 $1.00 will be $1.1235 for 2001. Make sure you understand now that our two trade associations report that sales are up a modest percent. They did not say that sales are down 20 percent.

Okay, store that information for a minute. Several big printing company CEOs lately have blamed their company's poor results on the "soft print demand associated with the weak economy."

Wanna know what this crotchety old Mañana Man suspects?

I suspect that some of the big company plant presidents, seeing that they'd had a few bad months, told the big boss, "The economy is weak out here in Mayberry; our competitors are cutting prices and we didn't make our budget. So, big boss, it's not my fault."
 

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