Have you noticed that we still have some bosses in America so tight that they squeak when underpaying their employees? However, those aren’t necessarily the most splendid and successful capitalists in today’s business world.
For instance, have you heard about those creative businesses that treat their customers and their employees like kings? Not surprisingly, the world is throwing money at them.
Places like San Francisco and Seattle are hotbeds of treating employees well – for the sake of the business owners, as well as for the workers. Such companies are reaping the rewards of treating employees to larger cuts of the action. Generally speaking, better-paid employees work harder and are more dedicated, thereby maximizing profits for the company.
Consequently, I wonder about those companies today that are led by individuals who pay themselves historically huge amounts while their workers fester financially. And it’s not like the wealthy corporate leaders are in dire need of money. They are rolling in money. The late conservative Republican writer William Buckley called that “redundantly wealthy.”
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Why do some bosses do that, especially when up against the truncated pay of their employees?
It’s the bragging rights. They don’t even remotely need all that money. It’s a jocular way of telling colleagues “My corporation can whip your corporation.”
Oddly enough, something so ethically rancid reminds me of yogurt. I am a dairy farmer’s kid. From an early age, I saw cows treated like queens – all they could eat and a warm place in which to be milked. That was a level of life a bit better than today’s human minimum-wage workers.
I enjoyed hanging out with the cows as they were milked and fed. No wonder Carnation Milk has boasted over the years that its milk comes from “contented cows.” Wise dairy farmers (almost all of them) correctly believed and personally witnessed that cows treated poorly don’t give as much milk. They aren’t contented.
Something even larger has happened: A highly successful founder of a yogurt business is treating his workers exceedingly well. He is sharing the wealth with his employees. In a dairy industry, contented workers can become as valuable as contented cows.
Thus it was that Chobani yogurt founder Hamdi Ulukaya suddenly announced his employees will share ownership and profits. The astounded and delighted workers hugged and cried when the change was announced.
“We built something,” Ulukaya explained. “Now we’re sharing it.”
Businesses that can’t find a way to pay workers better should listen to progressive merchants who tell you they can’t afford not to pay satisfactory wages.
An added dividend of Chobani’s progressive way to run a business is how popular the product is with consumers. That yogurt is a godsend for people like me who have to watch our waistlines. The yogurt is smooth and creamy, and yet it is fat free. Somebody should nominate Ulukaya for the Nobel Prize for getting people skinny. (And no, I don’t have any shares in the company.)
As for Carnation canned milk’s contented cows, I used to regret that canned milk isn’t as fresh and tasty a product as regular milk. It is primarily a substitute for fresh milk in camping situations and without refrigeration. But it’s not my favorite flavor. (Don’t tell the cows; I wouldn’t want to hurt their feelings.)
Eventually, there came a day when I encountered the most flamboyantly delicious dairy dessert I had ever tasted in a long life of gulping sweets. We were in a Boston restaurant specializing in South American food. The dessert was like a thick caramel pudding – so flavorful that my tongue slowed to a crawl forbidding me to eat rapidly. One bite and I was giggling and slobbering at the same time.
Later, I looked for information on how to obtain the manufactured delicacy or its recipe. I found dozens of recipes, most of which actually warned that the cooking process was dangerous. The cooks take a can of sweetened condensed milk and cook it – unopened! – in boiling water for two or three hours. The recipe warns not to let the water level drop below the top of the can. (Go on line for details and pay attention. I kid you not.)
The result is called dulce de leche (“sweetness of milk”).
Did I enjoy it? Suffice it to say, like well-served cows or a Chobani employee, I am contented.
Contact Bill Hall at email@example.com or at 1012 Prospect Ave., Lewiston, ID 83501.