Greece, BofA, Netflix: Recalls Show Grownups Failing to Run World

Greece, BofA, Netflix: Recalls Show Grownups Failing to Run World

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Among many pleasures of childhood is the belief that the big, bad, complicated world is being run by grownups who know what they are doing. Growing up in Iran, I believed particularly in professional capability among the ranks of policemen, military officers and ayatollahs.

Having just turned 63, many of the grownups who now run this sorry world of ours are younger than I am. And it frightens me to no end to realize that most of them have no earthly idea of what they are doing, as demonstrated by the recent flurry of recalls.

The roster of recalling incompetents includes the fallen prime minister of Greece and the head honchos at Bank of America. Dishonorable mention also goes deservedly to the conceited souls at Netflix. They have let it go to their collective heads merely for having mastered the means to provide a movie nut of my insatiability with all the eye candy I crave.

Outgoing Greek Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou was insufficiently grateful when the Eurozone reached the consensus and pooled the funds necessary to bail out his bankrupt country. Simultaneously violating two common dictates, he did look a gift horse in the mouth, subsequently deciding that beggars could be choosers as he opted to put the bailout to a national referendum.

Stock markets tanked worldwide the moment he declared his sage resolve. I was bewildered to hear of it also, thinking to myself, would I put it up to the vote of somebody who is bleeding to death before applying a tourniquet?

It took a few days, but Papandreou, a Saint Paul native, finally came to his Minnesota senses and recalled his decision. Good thinking, Georgios, but what possessed you to broach the idea in the first place?

Bank of America, alias B of A, aka Bank of Adversity, is the institution to which I trust my few tattered, essentially worthless articles of U.S. currency for alleged safekeeping. Just as Americans were preparing to flog plastic of every description with an eye toward the glittering litter whose acquisition they believe to be a holiday season requisite, the B of A financial phenoms announced that they were soon to levy a monthly five-dollar fee for the mere privilege of swiping their debit cards.

Howls of American protest drowned out even the shouting at Athens.

Each monthly bill received, be it for phone, utilities or credit cards, is freighted with more hidden fees than there are clues in a Where’s Waldo puzzle. All routinely abide by these violations, believing blindly that there are good reasons for them. Yet the geniuses of Adversity had to publicize their latest robbery by a bank with a megaphone at the worst time of the year imaginable.

After contemplating so many imprecations bestowed upon them so generously, they recalled their latest attempt at larceny, leaving nothing but a bad taste in the public’s mouth.

As many others who consider the Cineplex with its alienating interiors, chatty audiences and intellectually challenged staff the consummate Hell on Earth, I was one among millions who embraced Netflix wholeheartedly. My enthusiasm made me an unofficial, unpaid salesman who often compelled even perfect strangers to subscribe to the website.

Yet when I displayed my avidity by watching Netflix DVDs and mailing them back in record time, the company decided to “throttle” me, which is to say it made me wait for weeks on end before sending the movies most recently released on DVD that I had requested. That they were punishing customer loyalty was only the first sign of trouble.

Netflix, when it decided to create separate websites for DVD rentals and streaming video, saw its stock value plummet as it also jacked up its rates for people who wanted both services. Within weeks, it lost 800,000 subscribers. I opted for streaming, having an innate distaste for scratched DVDs bearing Dorritos thumbprints, not to mention the hassle of going to the mailbox to return them.

Netflix recalled its disastrous decision to have separate websites after displaying to the universe that it was no different from most other big corporations in its greed and miscalculations.

Being of an analytical yet associative mind, I believe Papandreou, my Bank of Adversity and my purveyor of video streaming pleasure have in common a sense of institutional hubris compounded by a dearth of concern for the very people they are supposed to serve.

Don’t mess with success and don’t try to fix it if it ain’t broke, I advise, abiding simultaneously by two common dictates. Be like Coca-Cola, I say. Does it ever modify the secret formula for its core product?

But come to think of it . . . didn’t the company once bring out an item of its own called Coke Classic?

It recalled that one, as I recall.