While trying to hook up our TiVo today, I was subject to about three hours of CNN, and among the pieces of “journalism” I ingested therein, I found out that companies are bitching and moaning about “water cooler” talk after the Super Bowl, saying it costs them about $820 million in lost output. This is so horrible on so many levels that I have to number them:
1. What is this, pre-Industrial Revolution? Is there so much corn to be de-tassled that a bunch of guys can’t sit in the cafeteria and talk about the last football game they’ll see until August? The mere fact that this chit-chat is seen as $820 million in losses, and not just Part of Being an American shows you what is wrong with America and the Korporate Kulture.
2. There is certainly just as much chit-chat every two weeks dealing with other subjects. My guess is, using their math, that the following deficits should be true:
This week: talking about Dean’s Iowa mishap: -$147 million
Three weeks ago: various Michael Jackson gossip: -$468 million
Last Spring: Ruben beats Clay: -$288 million
Last December: We nab Saddam: -$974 million
3. It is my understanding that the average human worker has only about three real hours of hardcore “work time” they can handle each workday, and that may be WAY overstating it (it’s probably more like an hour). I’m not talking about people stitching soccer balls together on some Javanese island, I mean workers for companies that have a water cooler and enough self-management that employees can chat with co-workers whenever they want. I’m leaving out doctors, and some of my more nutty friends on Wall Street.
Anyway, if that is true, then we’re talking about at least 25 hours of doing something else: email, Web-surfing, phone calls to friends, reading, and yes, talking to Randy in Marketing about the Carolina Panthers. I’d like to know where and how these companies are finding the $820 million lost when there’s so much other effluvia to dilute their numbers.
4. What are you paying the legions of people hired to find out how much money you’re losing in chit-chat after a Super Bowl game? Put all the companies together, all the efficiency experts and focus groups and spyware, and how much has Corporate America spent? Perhaps somewhere in the neighborhood of $820 million?
Whatever. This shit makes me angry, but not half as much as another statistic I’ve heard: the worst day for domestic violence is Super Bowl Sunday. Just the thought of some redneck fuckwad in his mustard-stained T-shirt beating the shit out of his wife because the New England Patriots just lost