Monday, June 29, 2020

Million Dollar Accounting Mistake.

Do you manage a chain of supermarkets or other retail establishment that offers buy one get one free?

Are you losing $1,000,000 a year or more due to a pricing or accounting mistake?

As a consumer, I love what you're doing
If I were on the board, you'd be out of a job

I don't do forensic accounting or financial analysis & consulting.
Especially where my grocery store receipt is concerned.
However, in a moment of whimsy, 
I looked closely at my grocery receipt one day.

This is what I saw.

London Broil...........$14.00
Discount 50%..............7.00
Your price.............................. $7.00

London Broil............$10.00
Discount 50% ..............5.00
Your price.............................. $5.00

Total Cost............................ $12.00

You exceeded customer expectations &
Cost yourself considerable revenue.

The result will be ill considered attempts to
cut costs by cutting corners and failures in 
shelf-space optimization.

This is what I should have seen.

London Broil........... $14.00

London Broil.............$10.00
Discount BOGO......-$10.00
Your price.................................. FREE!

Total Cost.................................$14.00

The smaller the price gap, the smaller the loss.
The greater the price gap, the greater the loss.

You work with a 1 to 1.5% profit margin.

How do you intend to cover your loss?



P.S.  If you find anything here to be helpful,
please don't hesitate to send me a really tricked
out MacBook and to tuck a few dollars into the
envelope along with the thank you note.  Slim.

Robert Asken
Box 33 
Pen Argyl, PA  18072

Copyright © 2020 Robert Asken
All rights reserved.

Friday, March 20, 2020

EU Virus 19


While the Covid Virus 19 may have started in China and while it may have come from bats, the epidemic became a pandemic when EU officials fed the disease.

"Did you ever notice how some people, when confronted with a problem, will coagulate like white corpuscles, to defend the body against the medication intended to heal the illness."
The Quotations of Slim Fairview © 2020.

Ursula von der Leyen issued a bold statement recently.  The politicians underestimated the severity of the epidemic.  While this statement may exhibit the worst of politics, there are two overriding issues.

Politicians did not underestimate the severity of the epidemic.  The politicians caused the severity of the 

Using the word politicians is a transparent effort to hide EuroLeaders, read: Brussels, behind a smokescreen of all European leaders.  Brussels owns the blame. Blame is not a game. Blame is not the name.  Say responsibility.

President Trump took bold action early.  People called the China travel ban racist.  His actions were not racial. his actions were geographical.  Proof of this came late.  It came when the EU recently banned travel into the EU.  Still, they did not formally ban travel within the EU.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Union cited the World Health Organisation when she announced that such bans were or would not be effective.  This, before shifting blame from Brussels to the politicians for underestimating the severity.

Then, in an effort to help The WHO save face, border control measures were put into place, surreptitiously, while Italy, the epicenter of the epidemic in Europe sequestered regions.  

Paris shut down business activity, as did Italy and others.  

Brussels is now a ghost town.  

The WHO embraced what I call Merkelism.  More on that later.

Then, in what I consider to be veiled capitulation to common sense, The WHO issued this health warning to Africa. 

Prepare for the worst.  Don't assume you won't get it. Assume you will get it.  Prepare for the worst.

The mishandling of the epidemic by the WHO is one reason I suggested, among others listed in my PowerPoint Presentation, the Forming of an Emerging World Health Organisation.  An EWHO.

And why I issued severe warnings about Africa doing business with Europe.  I cited the mishandling of the European Economic Crisis by Brussels.  Read: Germany.

For a decade, I inveighed against Merkelism with the celerity of a honey-badger.

Merkelism: an economic system based on the fear that someone, somewhere is earning a living.  At the heart of the matter was German economic hegemony.  And that played out when EuroUnion officials placed ideology over the lives of the Europeans.  EuroCrats were more concerned about the concept of open borders in the Schengen area and enforcing policy, than they were about taking propter hoc action to save lives.  They should have followed President Trump's lead.  But that would contravene the foundations of Merkelism.

 And we see that playing out in this country.

California is finally calling for shutdowns after health officials predicted that half the California population will become infected.  

Florida kept beaches open for Spring Break to insure the infections spreads among the party hearty crowd before they returned home to spread the disease around their local communities. Profits over people.

Governor Cuomo of New York issued a blanket "No Shutdown Policy" despite The WHO updated warnings and advice on containing the disease.  In other words, the shutdown will happen when it's too late to save lives.  To Governor Cuomo's credit, he is taking pro-active action to protect the lives of people and clarified a remark to emphasise that his remark was not political.

Ursula von der Leyen criticised President Trump for the EuroTravel Ban days, or perhaps weeks, before the EU banned travel into the EU zone.  This to save lives.  A day late and a Euro short.

If you remember Austerity--the failed policy of Austerity--you will understand.  When a group of youngsters majoring in Economics attempted to duplicate the numbers in the original paper, they were unable to do so.  When they notified the author(s) of the paper, the reply was less than satisfactory.  

However, austerity did justify German economic hegemony.  It allowed German leaders to feed the German economic machine at the expense of satellite nations in Southern Europe.

Brussels fumbled. Ursula von der Leyen fumbled.  Ms. von der Leyen should receive a yellow card.  

Merkel should be shown the red card.  And Brussels should put The WHO under investigation.

Sincerest regards,


EU Virus 19
Copyright (c) 2020 Robert Asken
All rights reserved.

Bob Asken
Box 33 
Pen Argyl, PA 18072

Aux Etas Unis.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Perk Addiction

As I was flipping through the latest issue of Oprah Winfrey's magazine: "O The Oprah Magazine" I was not surprised to come across the article, "How to make the Open Office Work for You" by Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, PhD. It was prompted by a "Dear Ann Landers" style letter from a woman who feels uncomfortable in the open floor plan workplace.
Dr. Bradford attempted to reassure her by assuring her that she is not alone. To quote Dr. Bradford, "Companies told their employees that these layouts were meant to boost collaboration and community, but research actually suggests the opposite."
The actual result caused workers to "socially withdraw from co-workers, talk less, and communicate by email and IM." Also, this layout increases anxiety. The research, according to Dr. Bradford, caused women in particular to feel "anxious about the idea of being watched, evaluated, and judged".
My interpretation: A hostile work environment. And not just for the women. This brings us to the question, "Who told the companies that these layouts would boost collaboration and community?" In my original post from yesterday, I said that this article takes a sad turn. That sad turn was when the article offered techniques to deal with the problem. This, obvious from the title, "How to make the open floor plan work for you." The message to corporate America is simple: Don't get rid of the problems caused by management. Help your employees cope with the problems caused by management. The reason for this should be obvious. Rather than come out with it, here is an analogy.
Remember the cartoon character Wile E. Coyote? I once quipped that "Wile E. Coyote didn't realise that if he ever caught the road runner, he'd be out of a job." Then I realised, that yes, he does know that. And that is why he never catches the road runner. And, apparently, so do the people at the Acme Jet Ski Company. The Acme Safe Company, The Acme Anvil Company, and so on. If they sell the Coyote a product that works, they won't sell the Coyote any more road runner contraptions. And therein lies the problem.
Corporate America and labor has had a contentious and often violent relationship. And much of this is nothing new to students of History. But it is a sad position to say, "We've always blundered. What's the problem?" The problem is that in a world that is growing smaller with competition growing greater and with a larger gap between the haves and the have nots to fuel the fires of resentment:
When I look at Corporate America I see Lemmings driving Lamborghinis.
The crash brings to mind, Slim's Admonition. "How come there's never enough money to do it right, but always enough money to do it over?"
Jim Cramer posited that oil may be going the way of tobacco. Let's look at some other corporate issues. Boeing, GM, Johnson & Johnson. Let's remember asbestos, nicotine, ignition systems and a few other problems in corporate America. Wells Fargo? JCP? Ford, for firing Lee Iacocca? Chrysler before hiring Lee Iacocca?
What prompted me to write this article, however, was the news report that Vanessa Bryant is filing a wrongful death suit against the company that owned the helicopter that crashed, killing her husband Kobe Bryant and others.
The death of all the passengers is tragic enough. What makes it more tragic is that this accident did not have to happen. This is one among many tragedies caused by what I will call "credentialism". That, and the new Corporate Addiction. Alcoholism? No. Drug addiction? No. The answer is PerkAddiction. But the PerkAddiction is actually a result of bad management, not the cause of corporate problems.
Perks are now a palliative to ameliorate the problems caused by management. They are not working. Alcoholics Anonymous has a saying, "One drink is too many. A thousand are not enough."
While some of this can be imputed to changing social norms, feeding the disease is not the same as solving the problem.
"Did you ever notice how some people, when confronted with a problem, coagulate like white corpuscles to defend the body against the medication intended to heal the illness?" ~Slim Fairview.
If Corporate America doesn't understand it, Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan certainly does.
Like a Rolling Stone: "Ah you never turned around to see the frowns, On the jugglers and the clowns when they all did tricks for you." Bob Dylan © Audiam, Inc
And it was Einstein who said, "You don't get yourself out of trouble using the same thinking you used to get yourself into trouble."
And Corporate America proves out my quotation, "We are the architects of our own destruction."
If your employees are happy, they are not going to focus on the media fed frenzy for over five star chef's in the employee cafeteria. But inflict an open floor plan that leaves them exposed to every employee with issues, deprives them of privacy, increases their anxiety over being watched, judged, evaluated, and leered at, and you will find little in the way of results from holding an awareness seminar to help employees cope with the misery you've inflicted on them. The question for you is,"Jjust who are you listening to?"
At he end of the movie, The Godfather, Don Corleone is giving his son Michael some advice about what to expect after he dies.
"Barzini will move against you first. He'll set up a meeting with someone that you absolutely trust, guaranteeing your safety. And at that meeting, you'll be assassinated... It's an old habit.
"Now listen, whoever comes to you with this Barzini meeting, he's the traitor. Don't forget that." ~ The Godfather by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola.
If you haven't read, Management and Machiavelli by Anthony Jay or How Manipulative People Use these 7 Tricks to Control You by Keld Jensen, then you should at least read, Life Before Man by Margaret Atwood.
In my parlance, The one who comes to you to say, "Boss, I think we should bring in a consultant," and, "I volunteer to handle it for you." may very well be the problem. Or, from among my fictional characters, Odious Bilgewater and his wife's sister's middle boy, little Odious Pill, named after his uncle Odious, "We attended the all day leadership training seminar. We were each given a 3-fold brochure and a smiley-face keychain.":
He's not a team player
He has control issues
He always wants to do things his way.
If an assignment results in disaster, "I even assigned my wife's sister's middle boy, Odious Pill to help him. But when I first suggested it, he said he didn't think he needed any help. He's not a team player."
If the assignment is a major success, "You see, I was right to hire my nephew, Odious."
A new broom sweeps clean or a new broom raises a lot of dust?
Help yourself avoid many of these problems. Hire your own consultant. However, you no doubt already have someone working for you who is capable of doing the job. Just as long as you don't let Odious Bilgewater interfere. "It is very hard to criticise someone who is always so nice to your face. And in front of everyone, too." Slim Fairview.
Best wishes and good luck.
Sincerest regards
If you find anything here to be helpful, please send me a really tricked out Mac Book and tuck a few dollars into the envelope along with the thank you note. Sincerely, Slim
Copyright © 2020 Robert Asken
All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Outrage of Nobel Proportions

If you can believe the Bloomberg Headline

Taxing the Rich to Fund Welfare 

Is the Nobel Winner’s Growth Mantra

You will be enraged by the paradigm of keeping poor people shackled to poverty by keeping poor people shackled to poverty programmes as a pathway to closing the gap.

And I haven't any Nobel Aspirations.  My outrage is a moral one, not a personal one.

And I don't know which is more repugnant.

The economic legerdemain or the linguistic legerdemain.

As the article reads I must focus on two points

1.  Giving tax cuts to the rich to create jobs is a fantasy because the rich have massive funds available and they will only invest the money to make more money.

2.  I never said anything about giving tax cuts to the rich to create jobs.

Years ago I emphasised this.

"Mr. Widget will not hire one additional widget maker until he has an order for one widget more than he can produce when operating at maximum capacity and optimal efficiency."

The Quotations of Slim Fairview © 2019

One of the few things Robert Reich ever said on the topic of economics that I believe makes any sense:

If you want to close the gap, you give tax cuts to the people who spend money.

This was adequately demonstrated by Henry Ford who doubled his employee's wages from $2.50 a day to $5.00 
a day.  And cut the work week to 40 hours.

In so doing, Henry Ford made it possible for his employees:

To buy a Ford
To buy a washing machine
To buy an ice box
To buy a radio
To buy a Sears Roebuck house. Some assembly required.

He, in effect, launched the middle class.

Needless to say, the African American community was left out.  Racism, segregation, and discrimination were operating in full vigor.  And still are.

Robert Reich is also the fellow who extolled the virtues of the 93% tax rate.  He told of how well the country was doing. Peace, employment, factories humming away....

What Reich did not say about the 93% tax rate is another example of economic smoke and mirrors.

When the tax rate was 93%

A Black man earned half of a White man's wage.
Women were kept barefoot and pregnant.
Mexicans and Filipinos were picking lettuce and grape for pennies a day.
There was no EPA and those factories were polluting the environment.
We were rebuilding Europe after WWII.

The 93% tax rate is a celebration of 

Throughout the Obama administration, we heard about creative, innovative, high-tech entrepreneurs.

Richard Nixon had a plan for promoting entrepreneurship within the African American community.  Congress would not fund it.

Not too long ago, a Black civil rights leader said, "When White people die, they leave their homes to their children. This keeps the wealth in the family."

So, too, "When White people retire, they leave their businesses to their children. This keeps the wealth in the family."

A solution to closing the wealth gap is to close the income gap. Help the disenfranchised start their own businesses. Make profits. Grow their businesses, Buy their own homes, and, ultimately, keep the wealth in the family.

You can't leave Public Housing to your children.

Let's now focus on Slim's Paradigm:

Capital Investment + Economic Stimulus =
Economic Development + Growth

When people who spend money buy things
People who make things must make more things.
To make more things, they must hire more people.
They make more money.
At this juncture they can afford to pay hire wages. That or end up subject to competition, regulation, institutional investors dumping their stocks.

This is the paradigm established by Henry Ford.

When China elevated 700 million people from poverty to the middle class, China 
Created a consumer class.
Created an investor class.
Gave the Chinese people a buy-in.  A vested interest in the success of the Chinese Economy.

The alternative would be for big business to continue as it has with stagnant wages and ultimately triggering a backlash. Routinely at the polls. 

However, before you worry, there is little evidence that Congress ever raised taxes on the rich. Or that they will.
The ruling party notwithstanding.  

Conventional Wisdom: The Democrats don't want to tax the rich. They just want to blame it on the Republicans.
~ Slim Fairview

Well, how do we move from here?

If you want to close the gap you redistribute the money.
Henry Ford did not redistribute his wealth.  He redistributed the money.

Wealth is what you have.
Money is what you make.

One idea, which needs some economic modelling, runs like this.

A corporation gives its employees an immediate $5. an hour raise.  In exchange, the corporation takes a $10. write-down for labor costs.

The benefit to this is the multiplier effect.  
The multiplier effect is NOT trickle down economics.

In the illustration on PowerPoint on SlideShare, I created such an illustration.  Caveat: This has nothing to do with an $800. coat.  The $800. coat represents all the small purchases of the middle class, the working class, the working poor, in a one month period to coincide with that $5. an hour raise. 

(40 hours a week x $5. an hour = $200. x 4 weeks = $800.)

There are several other articles on the matter.

Sincerest regards,


If you find anything here to be helpful, please don't hesitate to send me a really tricked out Mac Laptop and, in lieu of a Nobel Prize, tuck a few dollars as a gift into the envelope along with the thank you note.  Slim

Bob Asken 
Box 33 
Pen Argyl, PA 18072

Copyright © 2019 Robert Asken
All rights reserved.