Something Happened, Something Changed: So We Must All Pay

I know, it’s a long title, but I wanted to lay it out in its proper sequence so you know what I’m getting at. It has to do with my work place, an indecent that took place there in which a probable cause was made based only on an assumption of an alleged crime from what could be a mistake. A large order was made, it was sent to us by a shipper, and we received it and discovered that it was missing a substantial amount of units. Three employees counted the shipment and agreed that the amount that was requested, counted and sent via the packing slip was incorrect.

Next, the manager placed a call to the vendor telling them of the shortage. Usually in these types of cases, depending upon small amounts of missing pieces, both parties just accept the loss and usually the vendor rights it off and gives credit. However, in this case the loss was significant, and the vendor claims that the shipment was double checked because previous shipments had shown inconsistencies with quantities in the past. So, the poor manager now has a dilemma on his hands.

Because the cost of the shortage is significant, and both side stand firmly in their duties and actions  according to the agreement, a series of events now unfold. Behind the scenes, the decision must be made on how to reconcile it. This means that three outcomes are possible:

  1. Forget that it occured and just accept the loss, however, change the method of receiving product and put in place mechanisms that would catch discrepancies in the future.
  2. Demand the remaining pieces and threaten with a legal action.
  3. Mitigate the loss, rewrite the agreement and change the procedure of ordering product from that vendor.

The first knee-jerk reaction by the manager was to talk to the employees, an informal investigation. Then, once that was completed, setting up changes in order to deter future situations from occuring again, or at least mitigate them. The thought proposed solution is to consider installing Closed Circuit Cameras to monitor the shiping and receiving area 24/7. Next, to immediately start bag searches of all employees when leaving the premises.

Although these are band-aid solutions to age old problems, the mark left on the staff maybe marked more than the crime itself. The issue of trust now comes into play. For the employer, who just suffered a huge loss, now has to reconcile it by taking preventative measures to avoid such possible situations from occuring in the future, or at least be reassured that the mistakes/thefts will not occur within the company. For the employees, they are now faced with the possibility that the watchful gaze of the employer now monitors them, every waking hour while on the job.

For me, I wonder what is worse, the crime itself, or the control to prevent the crime?

2 Thoughts on “Something Happened, Something Changed: So We Must All Pay

  1. Well Tom,

    That one’s easy. The control is worse.

    We’re living in a societal business climate where it is not only acceptable but common practice for companies (through action, inaction and policy) to diminish a person’s sense of worth and dignity, and reduce their identity to no more than a unit of production. All the while feeding you a line of bullshit about how valuable you are in an attempt to make you feel good about it.

    The real question is not which is worse, as really that’s like choosing between cat shit and dog shit. They both stink, both come from assholes, and while they might have different colours… ultimately it’s all still shit.

    The real question is how long do you put up with it? As an individual, as a society and (in this age of globalization) as the Human race.

    But hey, what do I know? I’m just a unit of production…

  2. Thank you for your time and the response, La-dee-da.

    I would suggest that you not give up on the idea that privacy is gone and dead because there are some very influential people who have dedicated themselves in creating and keeping a freer society, i.e., one without big brother watching over you all the time. A good example is the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, who does not have legislative powers, but has influential powers nonetheless. Today she made a statement regarding the Government’s use of ordering ISP’s logs and data of its customers’ email, possibly without the need for a warrant. Brining this to the public’s attention is part of fighting to keep your right and freedoms.

    QUOTE: “Lawful access is back. Two developments this month suggest that there may bi-partisan support for the always controversial attempt to establish new Internet surveillance powers for law enforcement. First, the Globe and Mail reports today that new Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan has indicated that lawful access legislation is being prepared that will force ISPs to allow law enforcement to monitor Internet-based conversations. The power to compel will apparently be subject to court order. Second, Liberal MP Marlene Jennings has reintroduced her lawful access private member’s bill, called the Modernization of Investigative Techniques Act. The Jennings bill is a virtual copy of a failed Liberal lawful access bill that died in 2005.”

    So from the work place to your own place, surveillance is on the rise.

    Also, it is interesting that the “Harpper and Whinner” government says that these measures are needed to catch criminal behaviour, so would that not drive up the need for encryption in emails?

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