Musings of Navigating The Finite remainder of life from Porchville, with the hope of a glimpse of The Infinite

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Too Busy To Earn a Buck?

So you buy a new car.  One of the reasons that you chose this car is because that for its size and horsepower,  it gets an advertised 30 MPG which is pretty good.   You own the car for a year and it never, absolutely never gets better than 23.7 MPG.  So you talk to a couple of people that own the same car and they get close to 30 MPG, sometimes more, sometimes less, but they are satisfied with their mileage.  OK everyone knows that mileage will vary, but c'mon this is ridiculous.  So you take the car back to the dealer and tell them "Hey my mileage sucks.  I never get better that 23.7 MPG.  Never!"

So the service manager takes you into the office and says,

"You know we have been studying this problem, actually for a decade now."

You reply, "Oh great! So you have a repair procedure to fix this low mileage problem?"

The service manager then says, "We believe that drivers want and deserve good mileage, but honestly,  we don't believe repairing the vehicle is what's going to solve that problem for drivers.  We believe that drivers want real world solutions to this problem, not more rhetoric.  We believe that if the manufacturer was serious about solving this problem they would focus on more models on the showroom floor and increased access to driver education."

You then reply "So what, then, is the solution for better gas mileage do you think?"

The manager replies "Well if you look at it, drivers are, are extremely busy.  They lead busy lives whether working professionally or whether working from home,, and ah...and times are ah, extremely um  extremely busy.  Its just ah, its a busy cycle for drivers and they have a lot to juggle.  And so when we look at this issue, we think what is practical?  And we want more access to models.  We want  ah...we want to be able to get driver training at the same time that we are working or raising a family.  That's commons sense and we believe that real world solution is a more practical way to approach the problem."

So do you find this to be a reasonable answer to the question of "what are you going to do about my car's lousy gas mileage?"  No, oh well, let's go talk to the executive director of the dealership.

You say, "I don't understand why I get only 23.7 MPG when my neighbors and colleagues at work with the same exact car gets around the advertised figure of 30 MPG."

The director replies "Well some drivers are better negotiators.  I would encourage you, instead of pursuing the courts for action, to become a better negotiator.”

So you leave the car dealer, wondering "what the hell am I going to do to improve this gas mileage?  Look at more car models...become a better negotiator?"

You stop at the grocery store, pick up a few items, and go to the checkout line.  The cashier rings up exactly $100 of groceries, and says "That will be 126 dollars and 58 cents."

You look at the cash register and it says $100.00.  "But the register only says one hundred dollars."

"Well I am sorry it is one hundred twenty six dollars and fifty eight cents.  You should have negotiated for a cheaper check out line."

So you think think this story is somewhat absurd?  Well think again.  Because if you are a woman, or you have a wife, mother, daughter, or sister that works in the US that is exactly what they are told regarding wage inequality.   Don't believe me, watch for yourself:

EDIT 5/30/14:  The above video mysteriously disappeared from YouTube.  It is still available in the Washington Post Link shown below.

So what is it like to make 79* cents on a dollar?   Well it is sort of like driving a car that gets 23.7 MPG instead of the promised 30 MPG.  But it is also like paying $1.2658 for a buck's worth of goods and services.  It is like thinking you saved $10,000 for a down payment on your home and find out that you only have $7,900.  It is like earning an average of $9,349 less a year.  It is like being told that you are 21% less valuable to society.  Why?  Because you are a woman.   

And what is like to hear your concerns about equal wages answered by a bunch of babbling bullshit about how you are too busy or a poor negotiator?   Well I would imagine that one would find it down right insulting and a good talking point to bear in mind next November. 



  1. Hmmm, I think you might enjoy reading this blog post. I know it really irked me when I read it.

    I'll come back to re-read your post this evening. I just sort of skimmed it while waiting on the phone for a conference call. But I remember this post that Matt Walsh had written. Have you heard of him?

    1. Well Walsh seems to makes a good point, but is it true? If the statistics are that simple, then why isn't Walsh's arguments being made by the woman in the video? She is an expert in policy with decades of experience, so why is she babbling about women being too busy? Why didn't she declare that wage inequality is a myth and here is why?

      But let's presume that Walsh's blog is right on the money. The only wage disparity in the US is due to employment choices. How can a law that states that female waiters will make the same as male waiters in the same organization or female professors will make the same as male professors, or female mechanics will make the same as male mechanics hurt anyone? No one is proposing that a bus driver should make the same as a airline pilot. No one is proposing that someone who works 30 hours should be paid for 40. But are female airline pilots be enumerated at the same pay as male airline pilots for equal time and equal responsibilities? Are female executives being paid the same as male executives with similar responsibilities? If so, fine, a law that states the status quo is the law of the land should not bother anyone. Why would any particular party object to such a law? If it only reflects reality then everyone should embrace it with open arms.

      Yes that is a simplification. But I don't understand the bitter fights that go on in this country over equal pay. Pass laws to ensure it and it should no longer be an issue.

    2. And I agree with you! Having worked in HR and done payroll for both men and women doing the same job, I've seen first hand the disparity in pay. Now mind you, this was back in the day, around 1994 or so and I can remember my then boss telling me when I questioned the disparity, "You have to understand Alicia that men are supporting families and a wife, woman are simply working for extra money." Ummm what the hell? I was a single mom at the time, with two kids and living with my parents in order to avoid being homeless...and I was simply working for fun? For extra money? As a hobby?

      Hmmm, the word hobby actually brings up another memory of my husband (now my ex). I remember once during an argument when he said that as the higher wage earner his opinion was more important than mine. And I said to him something to the effect that we both worked 40 hours a week and the fact that I made less that he did should not matter. He said...and I quote, "Alice, your job is a hobby, mine pays the bills." Wasn't I just a ditsy clueless little woman to rush off to my 40 hours a week hobby and then come home and do ALL the cooking, cleaning, shopping, laundry, bill paying and care-taking of the children? What a wonderful hobby I had then.

      Unfortunately I think this Cari Christman person is not a very good spokes person for the women of the State of Texas and she either was very nervous or she's someone that does not think quickly under pressure in an interview of this type.

      More jobs and higher education won't level the playing field. We will just be doing what women have always done; work just as much or more and harder than men for less money, recognition and respect.

    3. That's them cojones that you carry around in your purse, talking!

      Alicia, great post. My hat is off to you. You have been around the block once or twice, have you not?

      Thanks for stopping by and providing such a well reasoned, detailed, and personal comment.