Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Fat cat mating call -- "Shut up and give me your money."

I’m looking at a news report that Earthlink is slashing its workforce in half. Over 900 jobs are about to be shed and the concerns that yet another ISP could go by the wayside. Ten years ago you had a choice between using a local mom and pop style ISP, a larger regional ISP or one of the major national/international ISPs. Those days have been gone for quite some time. However, as a person who moved away from the horrible mess that ATT created when they slurped BellSouth into their clutches, I will be pretty much at the mercy of the mega-corporations if Earthlink sells out or is forced to close it’s doors.

This is another of those bad signs of what this nation has become. If Earthlink goes away, one way or the other, my choices are slim. I can go with Comcast, AOL or ATT. That’s about it. I have no other choice than to use Comcast for cable, unless I want to stick one of those stupid dishes on my balcony. I refuse to go back to AOLhell or give ATT a penny more than I have to because they will stick it up my ass with a complete disregard for my privacy.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is why a “business friendly” government is bad for its citizens. This is why big business is NOT a good neighbor under any circumstance and this my friends is why the corporate lackeys in Washington, Republican and Democrat, need to be chased back into the private sector, post haste. They have allowed the large corporations to play ball in any way they choose and we, the consumer, are left with fewer choices, higher rates, sloppier service and a complete disregard for what is best for the consumer. The market does not weed out the weak; the market is a bloodbath where only the deepest coffers and least civility survive.

It’s not just the TelCos where this is found. It is the same in the financial sector, the health care sector, manufacturing, it is the same across the board and from what was once a wide variety of choices we are left with whatever they decide to throw at us. 10 years ago I had many choices for even the act of grocery shopping. From the corporate stores I could choose from Publix, Kroger, A&P, Harris Teeter, Winn Dixie, Sav-A-Lot, Cub Foods or Ingals. These stores were all located within 15 minutes of my apartment in Atlanta. Now that same 15-minute radius gives me Publix, Kroger and Wal-Mart.

Those are my only choices for typical grocery stores within that radius and even a small locally owned and operated store is no where to be seen. I shop for most of my groceries at one of the 2 farmer’s markets that I live between. Both are 20 to 25 minutes drives but they are well worth the trip even if it is out of my to get to either store. I would be spending approximately $100 to $150 per month in the corporate stores if I did all my shopping there, but instead I spend between $75 and $100 per month for the same food in those farmer’s markets. The money is much better spent there and it is one of my ways of saying no to big business.

I can’t really do that with Internet access, phone service, banking, health needs or when I need clothing. In the big war being waged against us by the big conglomerates we eventually loose the war but the consumer can win the small battles against their unethical practices.

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