Corporate Man is called in to investigate reports of vile, unethical business practices at Great American Business Company. What he finds there just might destroy him (except we all know the ending to The Tragic Death of Corporate Man so it should be fairly obvious that it can't really destroy him, though it can come close).

Enslaved by the Bonus Whores is an all new Corporate Man Adventure Serial. Chapters will post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

After nearly a decade of imprisonment, Corporate Man returns to find the economy in ruins and his deadliest enemies in control of all but a fraction of society's wealth. He embarks upon a quest to set right the wrongs of the business world; a task that will ultimately destroy him.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Chapter 213

The first level of the pyramid structure was wide and flat.  A stubby guard rail ran along its edges, the chief function of which was to keep the furniture, various desks and tables, from toppling over the side.  The floor was highly polished wood and a carpet runner divided the space unequally leaving twice the width toward the center as the area nearer the edge.
General Apathy led them down the carpeted path.  He gestured half heartedly at the executives who sat comfortably behind their desks or gathered around tables, and said, “The aforementioned financial advisors and corporate strategists.  Please do not pet or feed the animals.”
As they walked along the path, snatches of conversations drifted in the Union’s direction.  Corporate Man paused.
“Look,” a man at a desk said into a chrome plated phone, “it’s a surefire way to increase sales.  Yeah.  Change your label.  Go with something simple.  Lose the serifs on your font and do away with anything ornate.  Customers are having a rough go out there and an expensive looking label with just make them think you’re flaunting your wealth in their face.  No it’s true.  Focus groups have proven it.  I understand that you’ve had the same label for decades and that it’s considered iconic, but that’s going to work against you now.  Customers will see the new label and know that you gave someone a job.  You sacrificed your iconic branding to do this.  Yes.  Yes, exactly.  No, you’re the first I’m sharing this with.  Exactly.  Alright.”
He hung up the phone, consulted a list on a chrome clipboard, and crossed off an entry on the fourth page with a chrome pen.  He dialed a number from the next line down and after a moment he said, “Dick!  How’s it hanging?  Yeah, I’ll bet. Listen, I’ve got a line on something big.  It’ll boost sales through the roof.  Yep.  No, it’s simple.  Change your label.”
“Corporate Man,” General Apathy said.  “Please.  Let’s not delay too much, shall we.  No need to steal industry secrets or anything.  All will be available soon.”
They continued along the path.
More conversations wafted past them like rancid gas.
“…thinking?  I told you–  No.  No!  That whole ‘I can help you’ line is tired.  Everyone is using it now. Same with the ‘is there anything else I can help you with?’ closing.  From here forward…”
 “…the next level.  It’s time to add a big screen television on the sales floor to broadcast the game.  Everyone’s wearing paraphernalia of the local team, the TV deepens your commitment in the customer’s eyes and they will shop longer because they’ll want to…”
“…solely black and white.  No color unless it’s on a tie.  Clean and clinical, that’s what we’re going for.  Yes.  Yes.  I understand there’s an element of fashion to your industry, but try to think of your employees as displays upon which the fashionable eyewear is to…”
They turned the corner and walked down the next side of the pyramid.  There was more milling around in this area.  More tables, less desks.  Executives grouped around each other like gossiping teenagers.
Near the guard rail, each indulging in fantastically small cups of Turkish coffee, were two executives.  One said, “I told him, listen, outsourcing is good for America.  We save a ton of money by sending jobs to foreign countries.  This helps build up those country’s economies, right?  Then, down the line, when those countries have amassed a measure of wealth, they’ll want to cut some corners, save some cash, and they’ll outsource a bunch of crappy jobs that no one living there wants anymore.  And who do you think they’ll try first?  Us, I say.  So really, outsourcing is a way of creating jobs for Americans.  It’s an investment in our future.”
Corporate Man stopped again. 
The callous, shortsighted greediness.  He was about to step off the carpet and approach the two executives with his slapping hand when he felt a light touch on his wrist.
It was General Apathy.
“And what good would that do?  What would you accomplish?” the General asked.
Corporate Man opened his mouth, ready to fire off a string of benefits that his actions might bring about. 
Be he could think of nothing.
So they moved on.