Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The "Easy Button" Circle Jerk

After months of stir craziness, I'm about to take the first minimum wage job that comes along. Yesterday I went to Staples' job site. What a pain in my ass some of these HR sites are. An HOUR minimum to complete their form pages?

So the first mine in the turd field was this credit check disclosure statement (this is for a minimum-wage job stocking printer paper and holding up a wall):

This application contains a number of disclosures and consent forms which usually are provided in written form. I understand that I have the right to receive such disclosures and give my consent or authorization on paper instead of electronically. If I do consent (blah, blah, blah) applies only to the electronic transactions related to this job application, and that I can access the electronic records by contacting Unicru. I further understand that I may request a paper copy of any consent or authorization I give electronically. I may receive such paper copies at no cost within the next 60 days by contacting Unicru at 1-800-338-6321 or visiting www.unicru.com for contact information.

Translation: We're going to ask for a lot of unnecessarily personal information and then we're going to get this fly-by-night outfit, Unicru, to snoop around in your credit rating. Don't sue us.

(Actually, I've read the FCRA and I don't remember the plot line going quite this way)

Fair Credit Reporting Act
I understand that a background check (Consumer Report) may be obtained for employment purposes only at Staples.
Staples may make inquiries to Sterling Testing Systems, Inc., a Consumer Reporting Agency, concerning your employment suitability and qualification. You may contact Sterling Testing Systems, Inc.: 800.899.2272 or Find contact information on Sterling Testing Systems, Inc. using any computer connected with the World Wide Web at: http://www.sterlingtesting.com. [Please do not contact Sterling Testing Systems, Inc. for the status of your employment application. Sterling Testing Systems, Inc. does not have access to this information and will not be able to respond to your request.] [Please do not contact Unicru for results of the background check. Unicru does not have access to the report and will not be able to respond to your request. Sterling will provide you with a copy of your consumer report upon written request.] Staples may verify all or part of the information I give Staples. (Translation: we probably won't even read your application). I hereby authorize Staples to procure a consumer report and, to the extent permitted by law, make any inquiry into my credit history, motor vehicle driving record, criminal and civil records, prior employment (including contacting prior employers), education as well as other public record information.

If any of you, like me are tired of this corporate home invasion crap, feel free to call the number above and tell these people that they're violating both federal labor and credit law.

But wait, it gets better. In the Employment History of this form page which is longer than a tape worm's rectum, they give only these options for why you are no longer with your last employer:

* Why did you leave this employer? (check all that apply)
  • Accepted a job somewhere else
  • Returned to school
  • Moved to a new location
  • Did not like the work
  • Dissatisfaction with my supervisor
  • Unhappy with my pay and/or benefits
  • Terminated due to attendance
  • Terminated due to poor performance
  • Terminated for not following policies
  • Terminated due to economic downsizing or store closure
  • Lack of steady work/not enough hours
  • Had conflicts with the work schedule
  • Lack of advancement opportunities
  • Wanted a job that better suited my abilities
  • Did not get along with coworkers
  • Unhappy with company policies or rules
  • Seasonal job
  • I am still working for this employer

Translation: Hey Fuck Up, how'd you lose your last job?

When you file for state unemployment insurance, they offer only three possible reasons:
1) Laid off due to lack of work,
2) Fired/terminated for reason and
3) Voluntarily quit.

Apparently three simple answers is just not good enough for ol' Staples!

Then the real fun begins. A 36-page psych test to determine whether or not you're going to be 5 bucks short on your till. And then companies like this one or FedExKinkos and Mall-Wart scratch their bloated corporate heads and wonder why they have such high turn over and why it's costing them so much annually to go through the laborious process of hiring people?

Maybe, Mr. Corporation, if you didn't start by treating prospective employees like they were felons ...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Forgive Student Loan Debt

Robert Applebaum and Kevin Bartoy are better than super heroes. They're ordinary people who are questioning WHY in the fuck former college students should be straddled with unbearable debt FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES?!

How does crippling debt and non-existent credit = healthy free-market capitalism???

How are we supposed to be good little mindless consumers and help drive the ponderous engine of the Western World forward when we can't even afford the cheap plastic crap at Mall-Wart?

What I've been wondering for the last half dozen years is, what's next?

Will debtor's prisons make a come back ala Charles Dickens?

Or will we just have privatized corporate prisons where everybody gets let out for the day to go work and then comes home to lock down?

Forgive Student Loan Debt.

Friday, May 08, 2009


I went and saw "Star Trek" yesterday. I got to the downtown megaplex waaay too early, so bought my ticket and then had to wander and look at all the stuff I couldn't afford and didn't really need.

Anyhoo, the flick was pretty good. Abrams has a knack for gathering casts that have a fair amount of synergy. Zachary Quinto was delish as the new Spock and Chris Pine was surprisingly good stepping into the Spandex of Bill-the-Pregnant-Pause-Shatner. At one point, the actors were doing such a good job feeling out the whole Spock/Kirk bromance I thought they were gonna kiss, like with tongue and everything. Ah well, hopefully in the next installment.

My only complaint: Abrams used the now industry-standard, rapid fire editing. You barely have time to process one scene and the camera is lurching off to show us the next explosion or flying debris, whatever. I know it's the norm now, but I still don't like it.

Ursula Le Guin is right: we're now substituting violence for drama.