Miscellany

GIVE ME A WELL-DONE SUSHI BURGER American service industries of all kinds are ripe for invasion, both Stateside and abroad. [...]

January 1 1989 by Chief Executive


GIVE ME A WELL-DONE SUSHI BURGER

American service industries of all kinds are ripe for invasion, both Stateside and abroad. The Japanese have shown that they can focus resources and talent on virtually any industry they choose. So far, they have chosen mostly manufacturing industries. But now they’re moving aggressively into banking and financial services. They are getting strong in international air travel; they are nibbling away at the retail sector and the hotel industry, and we can expect them soon in the restaurant business.”

-Karl Albrecht, At America’s Service

NO BIMBOS FOR GORBY

Mr. Gorbachev is known for having an unpredictable streak. So when a man who looked just like the Soviet leader strolled past Tiffany’s and began greeting shoppers with a Russian-sounding “Hi,” hundreds of shoppers on Fifth Avenue crowded around eagerly…

Donald Trump, hearing that Mr. Gorbachev was in front of Trump Tower, rushed from his office to see if the Communist leader had changed his mind about viewing the Manhattan billionaire’s lush capitalist empire.

Mr. Trump and his bodyguards wedged their way through the crowd and shook hands with the man who was a dead ringer for Mr. Gorbachev-right down to the distinctive mark on his scalp.

As it turned out, it was not the Soviet leader at all, but an actor named Ronald V. Knapp, the winner of a Gorbachev look-alike contest.

“He looked fabulous and he sounded fabulous, but I knew it couldn’t be right,” Mr. Trump said. “For one thing, I looked into the back of his limo and saw four very attractive women.”

“I knew that his society had not come that far yet in terms of capitalist decadence.”

-Wall Street Journal

INSIDE GREED

Blathering about greed is on the march. The blather seemed, for a while, to be focused on insider trading, but the jurisdiction now seems to be expanding geometrically, and the liberal commentator corps has lately unearthed greed at Wrigley Field and in the Soviet Union…

On the analysis of the New York Times correspondent, the emerging private sector in the U.S.S.R. has brought with it “a general rise in the level of greed,” not to mention “unbridled greed,” and, to really complicate the story line, “government greed.” The last-named awfulness was manifested by the Soviet finance ministry, which proposed a 90 percent tax.

There were over 200 Nexis citations on greed in July alone. The big news in Indianapolis was that the Star’s Indy car-racing correspondent resigned his beat because the race is now permeated with “greed and secrecy.” And here is U.S. News & World Report editor-in-chief Mortimer Zuckerman trying to explain how we can have rich people, but also homeless people. Parsimonious explanation: “greed gone berserk.”

In fact, many greed-bashers are obviously trying to sneak in a different message that acquisitiveness in general is naughty. And that, being naughty, it must be outlawed. What a lot of liberal commentators are ultimately trying to tell us when they carry on about greed is that the country needs more taxation and regulation of economic behavior. We have been picking up that nuance ever since the Democratic convention. Mike Dukakis, Jesse Jackson, and Senator Bob Byrd, not to mention the party platform, have all aligned themselves foursquare against greed. Jesse’s lament (“consumers gouged by corporate greed”) is, as usual, the least subtle, but we confess to worrying about all those guys. As is well known, “government greed” is not limited to the Soviet Union. -Daniel Seligman, Fortune

EMPLOYEES SAY THE DARNEDEST THINGS

A recent survey asked top executives of some of America’s leading corporations, “What are some of the most unusual reasons you have heard that employees have given when asking for a salary increase or promotion?”

Here are some of the more uncommon responses:

·               “I deserve a raise because I spend more time getting my work done than anyone else in my department.”

·               “It’s getting very expensive to feed all my birds.”

·               “Anyone who can last three years in this company should automatically be made a vice president.”

·               “I need another raise to pay for the new car I bought to celebrate my promotion last month.”

·               “My therapist says I deserve a promotion.”

-Journal of American Insurance