This post is an eclectic collection of workplace conversations that I’ve culled over this first week back from Christmas vacation. We’ve all been off from work for a while, some like me for a long while. Now that were all back at work, it’s sometimes difficult to get the workplace’s machinery gears to smoothly mesh again. The social lubrication resulting from these stories that I’ll relate here seemed to help to expedite this process.
We are always watched at work. We watch each other and we watch ourselves. There is even a dedicated cadre to watch over all of us. We don’t have to worry about the secret NSA spying, because we’ve already contracted with the government to spy on us, but unlike the rest of the country, we’re at least getting paid as part of that contract. Anyway, the main complaint in this conversation was about private companies collecting on us. Here are two examples that were discussed after supposedly being reported in the news:
After the NSA, Walmart is the next largest acknowledged collector of metadata in the world. In an interview, a company spokesman surprised everyone with a fact culled from their collection of metadata that after a Florida hurricane, the single most sought after item was Pop Tarts.
Target also uses metadata. Its example is both more personal and egregious. A father complained to Target about the chain’s practice of sending diaper and baby formula advertisements to his 15-year-old daughter. Then he learned a week later that she was pregnant. Target knew before he did.
After actually writing up these two stories and then rereading them, they do smack of urban myths, conservative myths. I am now skeptical about both stories, but I’ll leave it to the readers to decide this for themselves. This next story is totally unverifiable, but considering its source, I’ll vouch for it, even if it comes from the likes of Duck Dynasty.
It occurred on a camping trip and involved a Dalmatian. Now this Dalmatian had only one spot. It certainly was not Budweiser advertisement material. This story also included a brother-in-law. Don’t these stories always? Sitting around the campfire and after a twelve pack or two, or more, the brother-in-law announces that that is a city Dalmatian. Further, with just one night out in the country it will become “spotted out”. After almost everyone else went to bed, this nefarious brother-in-law went to his truck and pulled out the biggest black Sharpie that you have ever seen. He then proceeded to spot out the dog. The dog seemed to love the attention. I got no clear read on the owner’s reactions, because the guilty parties had already left in the predawn hours.