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Big Greed's Dream

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To Big Greed you are a consumer. A consumer is a human person that needs things to live and can be forced to pay Big Greed for part of that privilege. Big Greed thinks nothing more of you.

Even should a human persona be affixed upon your entity, i.e. the television machine depicts your plight of being chewed up by Big Greed and spit out onto the thoroughfare, any compensation you may receive is a financial calculation weighted against potential sales to other consumers.

Big Greed loves the fact that the aggregate noun for the U.S. population of all ages is consumers. Babies are consumers, showered with a swag bag of offers for goods and services at the moment of birth. The dying are the best consumers of medical services, for example.

The term consumer makes you into nothing more than a machine that devours goods and services. It's dehumanizing. It implies that you are indiscriminate and insatiable, a glutton with little redeeming value and you deserve the rawest of raw deals. The consumer as parasite.

Under the capitalist system every potential trade begins with a conflict between buyers and sellers over the value of goods and services. Every completed transaction is the resolution of that conflict. Don't be fooled, Big Greed does not succeed by complying with such win-win fairness of a negotiated trade when it comes to consumers.

Corporate persons ( corporations current are endowed with the rights of personhood via a fluke in the U.S. law, see: ) would never disparage fellow corporate persons by labeling them consumers. They are business-to-business customers or clients. Together corporate persons forge supply chain alliances.

Suppliers, notice how sellers in the business-to-business transaction set themselves up as subordinate to buyers with the idiom supplier, pride themselves on being the single source or the preferred source to the team that is creating this or that service or product at their client/customer.

"Microsoft consumes our computer servers..." "Merck is a consumer of our feed stock #86..." No, I don't think those are phrases you will ever hear uttered in the corridors business. It's more like, "We supply Wal*Mart's __________," this sentence now usually spoken in Chinese.

Businesses treat other businesses like persons. Businesses recognize that fellow businesses must to be treated fairly otherwise they won't survive, and they must survive because they're all in it together.

Many businesses do treat you the human person like a client or customer, with respect and transparent offers of good value, but usually their prices are higher then those offered by Big Greed. Why is this?

These businesses are usually owned and operated by persons of the human type. This doesn't mean that all human persons in business are fair, but they generally don't have the means to manipulate the market or the luxury of living cloistered safely away from the consumer rabble. Notice how the market does operate more fairly within a smaller human community.

Big Greed, on the other hand, cons consumers into believing that Big Greed brands are better, cheaper and faster. We've all fallen for this scam when we refuse pay a nickel more than Big Greed's price for a given product or service.

Big Greed Box stores, known among themselves as "category killers," are an excellent example. This is Big Greed's strategy to eliminated "Mom & Pop" businesses in entire retail groups by promising lower prices and better selection. This con has worked. What consumers don't get is service and quality, even though both are excessively promised. And, until recently, we consumers have rarely factored the cost of fuel, wear and tear on our vehicles and our own time in transit into the cost/price bottom line.

The real price also increases when Big Greed emporiums surreptitiously persuade us to purchase impulse items, both large and small, that we didn't need or want previously. And, finally, after the local competition has be neutralized, category killers raise their prices, especially on the necessities, i.e. your choice four wood screws $1.59 or fifty for $7.59, while the local hardware store charges ten cents each, any quantity.

To keep this myth strong and unchallenged, Big Greed does a song and dance about how highly they value your business. They shout it from the television machine constantly.

In reality, Big Greed has a number of advantages, all to your determent, which they neglect mention. In the world of economics these sloughed-off costs are called an externalities. For example, they pollute legally in foreign countries where they have a low labor cost because they can exploit workers there in a way they can't here and their materials are cheaper because they are inferior, sometimes dangerous. Think lead paint on children's toys and melamine plastic in baby formula.

But Big Greed's knows "perception is reality" and if you believe they are cheaper and better, they are.

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Chaz Valenza is writer and small business owner in New Jersey. He earned his MBA from New York University's Stern School of Business. His current feature film project is "Single Point Failure" an insider's account of how the Reagan Administration (more...)
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