Mad as Hell
Channeling Industry Frustrations and Anger
by Max Perilstein
I have always tried to be a positive person. The key word in that sentence is “tried.” At least that is always my intention. But seemingly, my negative, grudge-holding soul takes over. And when I sat down to write this column several examples of why I am negative came to mind.
First up, a few situations of the just out-and-out lack of class that some folks in our industry have. In the last few months I have been told of instances where a customer has “stolen” an employee of a supplier. One was a glazier taking from a fabricator and the other was a general contractor taking from a glazier. Now I must say, there is nothing wrong with anyone taking a new gig to improve his or her lot in life. I don’t think any sane person would stand in the way of that. In these two cases, however, the thing that set me off was that the company “taking” the employee showed no class or couth. In both cases the companies that got the “new” employee felt it was “unnecessary” to make a fair and cursory phone call to their suppliers to say “Hey, no hard feelings but (insert name here) is someone we felt we could add and she/he wanted to come with us.”
Now, if it were a competitor-to-competitor situation, obviously, phone calls such as that would not happen. But when it’s a customer/ supplier set up, why can’t the one party step up and do the right thing? Yes, this may seem minor and at the end of the day all parties moved on, but the moral of the story for me is that it is sad and downright pathetic when you work with a customer, supplier, etc., and you can’t make that phone call; it really leaves you looking quite poor. After all, everyone professes to want to have good working relationships and, in the two cases above, the companies had worked together for several years, so it was not as though the principals did not know each other. Hey, everyone has to keep hustling to improve his business and his lifestyle; it’s just sad some people can’t do it the right way.
Back to China
Well, I am rolling in negativity now! With more typing this could have the makings to be my last USGlass column ever (though I sure hope not). So while I am at it, I have to once again bring up communist China. USGlass in its May issue did what I considered a strong piece on China’s influence on the industry. That piece was actually somewhat even-handed unlike a piece in a competing magazine that was a fluff-filled, five-page love fest about one communist Chinese company. Anyway, the one thing that always comes up in the great China debate is the fact that eventually Chinese companies will get into installation or sell direct to the general contractor. Whenever that comes up, it is shot down dismissively: “No way it will ever happen!” Well folks, go back to that same May issue of USGlass and look at the want ad on page 116. Yes, Far East Aluminum, a Chinese exporter, is looking for an engineer, but not just any kind of engineer. They want one who will work on the “jobsite and installation team.” Am I reaching? No way. It’s coming down the pike, folks, so when you place that order thinking about all of the money you are saving, make sure you remember it when that same company starts competing with you.
So, at the end of the day, hire who you want, do it how you want, buy what you want from where you want. It really doesn’t matter to me. But I do believe that karma exists (and not because I love the show “My Name is Earl”) and I believe in the old saying “what goes around comes around.” So when you do things without class or you support angles that are truly bad for your business and industry, it will come back at you. And if that doesn’t get you, just wait until the NFRC does.
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