I’ve only set foot in a Brooks Brothers store once. A $150 dress shirt was all I needed to see. I wouldn’t pay 150 bucks for a dress shirt even if it came with a lifetime guarantee, was 100% stain-repellent, and could magically tailor itself if it ever went out of style.
So, in short, I don’t pay much attention to Brooks Brothers. But as it happens, there’s a new store coming into a building near where I work, and as I was walking by the storefront’s concealed façade today at lunchtime, I noticed something I’d never paid attention to before: the logo. Previously glancing at it only in passing, I assumed it was an anchor or some kind of abstract design or something. But no. It’s a sheep. Suspended in a sling.
Naturally, Wikipedia provides a plausible, and presumably accurate, explanation, but I still think it’s a ridiculous logo. Then again, I also think it’s ridiculous to pay $150 for a shirt, so obviously I’m not their target market. (Though, for what it’s worth, I feel I should note that I’ve heard, but not verified, that their clothing is now made in the same foreign factories, by the same underpaid workers, who produce nearly-identical garments for companies like Gap and Old Navy, which are sold for about 1/5 the price.)
It is always with mild amusement that I listen to people complain about the incompetence of the sales staff at CompUSA or Best Buy or Radio Shack, or of the technical support people they get on the phone late at night or on weekends.
Think about it for a minute. Even though the economy is down, there are still plenty of well-paying high-tech jobs for people with knowledge and skills. If a person actually knows enough to be competent with computers, they will be able to get a better job than a thankless, $6.50-an-hour sales floor job at CompUSA, or working the graveyard shift doing phone tech support!
Now I am not saying there’s anything wrong with these kinds of jobs. Nor am I saying people seeking these services don’t deserve to be met with intelligence and courtesy. But in a market-driven economy, some things have to give.
If you want to walk into a store and pay under $1000 for a brand-new PC that’s roughly 10,000 times more powerful than those used to guide Apollo 11 to the moon, you’re going to have to accept that the place you’re buying it from can’t afford the overhead to hire people who can tell their heads from their asses (much less their hard drives from their RAM).
And if you’re going to get 1.5 Mbps broadband Internet access in your home for a little more than the cost of dial-up, and a tiny fraction of what businesses used to pay for T1 lines (in the “olden days” — about 3 weeks ago), your ISP also won’t be able to hire people to answer your phone call at 2 AM on a Saturday who have any skills beyond basic literacy so they can step through the phone script they’ve been given.
Accept it. Do the research yourself so you know what you want before you get there, and be glad you live in a world where electronics hardware and demeaning, thankless labor come cheap.