The Gross National Debt

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hogs to the trough

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A brief story to set the stage for this discussion.

Hogs get a bit of a bad rap. They are accused of a variety of things they simply are not guilty of. To narrow this discussion, I point you to hogs overeating.
Mr. Creosote, prior to the wafer thin mint.

Given free range and the ability for forage for themselves and exercise, hogs will put on fat. Every animal will do so when given sufficient nutrition. Some animals intentionally put on fat to carry them through hibernation, but they are not maligned like hogs. Hogs will not overeat in one sitting though. Horses will. A horse will gorge itself until its insides are in danger of rupturing.

Human beings will do the same.

Humans are pretty much unique in that given unlimited food, they will eat themselves into an inability to move independently. Yes, such people do require enablers, but that's beside the point at the moment.

The fact is humans will gorge if given the opportunity.
I have been banned from this place, in case you wondered.

Restaurants have long known  this and have set the prices for All You Can Jam Down Your Piehole buffets accordingly. Cheap food, cheap ingredients and appropriate prices keep such joints in business.

In other words, restaurants crunched the numbers. At the same time, the All You Can Eat is a one-time thing. Come back later, you pay again. It's not a buy once, eat forever deal.

Other companies did not bother doing adequate research and are now paying the price. AT&T launched unlimited cell phones, a decision which is now costing the company some serious bucks according to today's Market Place report on National Public Radio. The AT&T guy who pushed this now massively regrets it.

Every cell phone company around, except mine of course, offers unlimited plans at what most people consider reasonable prices. My cell company does offer unlimited plans, but the price is more than twice that of its competitors. (I stay with my cell company for other reasons and a plan which no other company anywhere offers.)
One way to do it.

Once the cat is out of the bag, getting it back in the bag especially after it has spawned a litter of kittens is next to impossible short of lethal capture means.

American Airlines some time back offered a $350,000 fly first class the rest of your life program. The company is now losing more than $1 million a year thanks to this program.

A now defunct satellite TV company offered a lifetime subscription for $350 ($500?). They lasted a few years. Now the folks who had that service are SOL.

The problem is greed - hogs to the trough in other words, albeit a more correct metaphor is horses to the trough.

These All You Can Use companies certainly did plot their own corporate greed. They failed, epically failed, to take into account the greed of their customers. Anyone who could fork out $350K for unlimited first class flights has no problem in taking a weekend jaunt anywhere American Airlines flies. As little as I know about the airline industry, I can see that's a money loser.
Word to the bosses out there.

The cell phone companies can be excused a bit. When the All You Can Use plans were introduced, cell phone use was NOWHERE near the level it is now. While some predicted the current and rising levels of use, they were not taken very seriously. Gotta admit, I'da been one who didn't take them seriously.

You can bet, wager and but hedges on those gambles on anything and win some and lose some. The only guaranteed bet when it comes to humanity is greed, greed at the corporate level all the way down to the personal level. Bet on that to win and you'll be rolling in whatever return your bet pays off.

Companies offering All You Can Use plans will do well to remember humans are nothing more than horses standing in front of an unlimited supply corn.

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