Wednesday :: Jul 21, 2004

Now - Even Fast Food Work Is Outsourced!

by pessimist

I've said before that The Last American With A Job will be the person takes down the American flag for the last time. Every week, I swear that day comes closer.

Once the land of a job for almost everyone, America is rapidly becoming the land with a job for almost no one. When I read this article, I didn't know what to think:

Want fries with outsourcing?

Pull off U.S. Interstate Highway 55 near Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and into the drive-through lane of a McDonald's next to the highway and you'll get fast, friendly service, even though the person taking your order is not in the restaurant - or even in Missouri.

The order taker is in a call center in Colorado Springs, more than 900 miles, or 1,450 kilometers, away, connected to the customer and to the workers preparing the food by high-speed data lines.

The next step is to use this call center to take cellphone orders, something the futurist Paul Saffo said would become commonplace in the next two years. The owner plans to test cellphone ordering this summer.

Even some restaurant jobs, it seems, are not immune to outsourcing.

My own employer is about to take a similar step - and for many of the same reasons. The following is NOT about my employer, though.

The man who owns the Cape Girardeau restaurant, Shannon Davis, has linked it and three other of his 12 McDonald's franchises to the Colorado call center, which is run by another McDonald's franchisee, Steven Bigari. And he did it for the same reasons that other business owners have embraced call centers: lower costs, greater speed and fewer mistakes.

Cheap, quick and reliable telecommunications lines let the order takers in Colorado Springs converse with customers in Missouri, take an electronic snapshot of them, display their order on a screen to make sure it is right, then forward the order and the photo to the restaurant kitchen. The photo is destroyed as soon as the order is completed, Bigari said. People picking up their burgers never know that their order traverses two states and bounces back before they can even start driving to the pickup window.

Davis said that he had dreamed of doing something like this for more than a decade. "We could not wait to go with it," he added.

Bigari, who created the call center for his own restaurants, was happy to oblige - for a small fee per transaction. McDonald's Corp. said it found the call center idea interesting enough to start a test with three stores near its headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois, with different software than that used by Bigari. But it added that it was more focused on other, continuing customer service improvements, like adding wireless Web access, or Wi-Fi, to restaurants, and introducing ways to let customers pay with credit and debit cards.

So the question I came up with, once I got over the shock of the new(s), was:

Why Colorado Springs? Why not Calcutta?

Thousands of American jobs flee the country every week. Thousands of Americans fall off the Labor Department rolls of the unemployed. Millions of Americans have no clue that their country is being stolen from them.

The economic boomlet this spring is really the only thing George Wastrel Bush has going for him. People have short memories and aren't going to remember the last three years of un- or under-employment as long as they can run down to Wal-Mart or Best Buy and pick up that new DVD unit with the blue neon display remote to replace that 'ancient' unit they bought in 1999 with the first paycheck they had earned for a while. Besides - it's dusty.

But I have been hearing for a while now, as well as reading industry reports from financing and construction - some of which I have posted - that this boomlet is a Potemkin Prosperity. Just today, yet another piece of evidence supporting my contention showed up:

Housing Starts Tumble Unexpectedly

U.S. housing starts plunged unexpectedly in June to their lowest level in more than a year as rising interest rates slowed the hot housing market, a government report showed on Tuesday. Permits, a sign of builder confidence in future demand, fell to their lowest level since February, posting the biggest monthly decline in more than ten years, the Commerce Department said.

Permits dropped more than expected by 8.2 percent to 1.924 million units from a 2.097 million pace in May, the heftiest decline since an 8.7 loss in February 1994. Wall Street had expected 2.02 million units to be authorized. Single-family starts fell 9.5 percent to 1.489 million units from 1.645 million the month before, the lowest level since May 2003 and the biggest drop since February of last year.

I don't understand why this is so hard for some people to understand!!!!!

Good paying jobs are eliminated in favor of cheaper foreign labor. Displaced workers are only able to get fast-food jobs, which as I show above, are just as susceptible to head for Hyderabad as they are Hartford.

Having lost twice in a short succession, a mortgage can't be paid, and the new house in escrow falls out. Too many houses in the inventory, and builders stop taking out building permits and start laying off construction workers, who are just as unable as their friends to find a low-wage part-time fast-food job to replace the good-wage full-time installer's job which paid the mortgage on a similar house that now cannot be afforded, which goes into foreclosure, adding to the excess inventory of unsold homes, which causes builders to stop taking out permits, ...

Because of all of this, one would think that effigies of George Wastrel Bush would be visible everywhere! But since it's obvious that the Reagan educational 'reforms' have done their job - too many people now believe that Might Makes Right, Unemployment Is Prosperity, and Ignorance Is Bliss!

But this is good for BushCo because they get to continue to plunder their way to world domination! There are few who could affect this progress in any way!

But wouldn't you know it! The Best Laid Plans of Rice and Men didn't take something else into account: The nation's governors are not pleased that they are expected to bear the burdens of running their states without sufficient personnel, funding, or Federal government backing, all thanks to the maladventures of George Warmonger Bush and the BFEE/PNAC Petroleum Pirate Posse's Rampage for Resources!

Governors Tell of War's Impact on Local Needs

With tens of thousands of their citizen soldiers now deployed in Iraq, many of the nation's governors complained on Sunday to senior Pentagon officials that they were facing severe manpower shortages in guarding prisoners, fighting wildfires, preparing for hurricanes and floods and policing the streets.

Concern among the governors about the war's impact at home has been rising for months, but it came into sharp focus this weekend as they gathered for their four-day annual conference here and began comparing the problems they faced from the National Guard's largest callup since World War II.

On Sunday, the governors held a closed-door meeting with two top Pentagon officials and voiced their concerns about the impact both on the troops' families and on the states' ability to deal with disasters and crime.

Many of the most outspoken governors who expressed concerns here about the National Guard deployments over the weekend were Democrats, including Mr. Kulongoski, Tom Vilsack of Iowa, Mark Warner of Virginia and Gary Locke of Washington. But even during a meeting that featured plenty of partisan sniping, Republicans also sounded worried about whether the deployments would leave them vulnerable in emergencies.

Maj. Gen. Timothy J. Lowenberg, commander of the Washington State National Guard, who attended the Sunday meeting with Pentagon officials, said in an interview that he heard worries voiced by plenty of Republicans. "There are absolutely no partisan pattern to the concerns being raised," he said.

"They are being articulated by governors of both parties."

There has to be a reason for all of this job destruction, and mere profit maximization doesn't explain it all. George Wastrel Bush and his Warmonger alter-ego could easily be assisting this outsourcing effort with a purpose in mind: the plans for world domination require boots on the ground, and where better to raise these forces than from the unemployed who have nothing to lose and three squares to gain?

They mal-calculated (mis- doesn't do this travesty sufficient justice!) this aspect of their plans as well - the economy wasn't supposed to falter until just after the election was safely secured - by whatever means. They couldn't risk a draft yet, even though there are reports that the two bills in Congress are on the move through the Maze of Passage once again. Even the morons that think they are in control of things are quite aware that there is a finite limit to the tolerance of We, The Sheeple. Even today's vote-thieving GOP can't deal with being on the losing side of a Bush-Dukakis-style landslide!

But politicians, such as state governors, are not yet appointed by King George. They still have to face their constituencies when seeking reelection. These governors aren't interested in taking the fall for the Crawford Kid! They will abandon the Kid's Posse as quickly as they realize that they are expected to do that very thing!

Here in California, despite all of his 'girly-man' bravado, Arnold is losing his grip with the wildfires, a late budget, and the federal government threatening to take over our state prisons!

Oh! The Humanity!

The SCLM has its work cut out for it to keep people from noticing that higher gas prices, dealer lots full of unsellable SUV's, and a neighborhood full of friends without incomes isn't what they are told is a prosperity.

People will vote their wallets - unless someone picks their pockets - and I wouldn't put THAT past the Bush junta either!

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pessimist :: 4:40 PM :: Comments (4) :: Digg It!