Today’s Staff Senate meeting sucked.
I sat behind FB, the guy who made the decision to close the store.
I sat next to my friend Jack (one of the senators), who stopped me from taking a measure of floss from my purse and using it as a garroting wire. There was ample opportunity, since FB didn’t move until it was his turn to speak.
When he sat down, I looked at the sheet of paper in his hand. It was titled, “Reasons I Made This Decision”. There was a number 1 with a circle around it, but nothing written next to it.
He proceeded to sit there and write out some things, and I read them over his shoulder. All the reasons were lies. I knew before the meeting that he’d lie to us, but it didn’t make it any easier. If you knew in advance that someone was going to hold a burning cigarette to your arm, it still wouldn’t make the process any less painful.
Once it was his turn to speak, FB almost seemed a bit nervous, but soon remembered that he “doesn’t have to justify this decision to anyone”, much less a bunch of staff members. He also said that he wanted everyone to know, “I made this decision. No one else made this decision. I made it. I’m committed to the decision and I intend to see it through to the end.”
The podium was right in front of me, and I made sure to stare at him the entire time. Jack had a legal pad and was writing down some of the flamingly insane things FB was saying, like that the university would save $500,000 if the store were closed. He based this on the amount of “revenue” we generate, so it must follow that we’re making that money off the backs of other departments by charging a 4% markup on Dell computers.
FB kept on about our “4% markup” on Dell computers. In reality, there’s no markup on Dell stuff. We have a contract in place to run all university sales through the store, so we qualify for a mass quantity discount that we pass on to the departments and we charge NO markup on those sales. For our time and trouble, Dell sends us a check for 2% of the total sales. No departments are fleeced. But if the university went direct, they’d have to pay the higher price to Dell, and Dell won’t reiumburse people for just using their Higher Ed sales site.
About the fourth time FB used the “4% markup” as justification for closing the store, I whispered to Jack: “Where’s The Boss of the Boss? Where is he that he’s not standing up to correct this misconception? Where is he in this room?”
Jack looked so sad… so sad. He gently leaned over and whispered, “He’s not with you. I’m so sorry.”
I looked at him and said, “I know you’re right. I just didn’t want to admit it.” All he could say was, “I’m sorry.” Because, really, what else do you say when you’ve just told someone their own fucking director is a spineless bastard who won’t stand up for the facts because he’s too damn scared of losing his own job for going on record as disagreeing with a VP’s decision?
Once FB finished spewing his line of misinformation, the floor was opened for questions from both senators and visitors.
TAC: If you remove the store, you’ve removed a valuable service for students. How will they know what they should buy for use on campus and where will they go to buy technology items?
FB: We’ll tell them what they should bring when they come to Orientations.
TAC: But, the university has just raised tuition… shouldn’t the university provide some sort of service to them?
FB: I’ll be the first to admit that we are raising tuition and cutting services to students.
Senator: What about the other universities in the state that buy from the computer store?
FB: I’m not aware that we sell to anyone else.
Me: Yes, we sell to every other university and all 120 county agricultural extension offices.
FB: Then they’re on their own. Let THEM figure out their own problems.
Me: Flagship. University.
“Moderator”: Next question….
The majority of answers were, “I don’t know”, “That hasn’t been determined”, and “Information Technology will take over all of that”. In the end, FB said that there would be a reduction in service provided to departments, but that he was determined to “make this work”.
He also claimed that Human Resources was giving all computer store employees “1st priority” in the hiring process. Jack had to stop me from standing up, walking over to the podium and punching the bag of hot gas in the face. I wanted to ask him if he really believed all the lies he was spouting. HR helps no one, and if we really had 1st priority, the people who’d had job interviews on campus would’ve been *hired* somewhere else already.
So, there it is. The biggest bag over the head, punch in the face I ever got. Where’s the Tylenol?