A Piece of the Action
This is not something Ive ever done before, doc. I feel a little strange talking to someone on the outside about family business. But the stress They got me in a box out there. Maybe thisll help, you know? Just one thing, though. No names. And nothing incriminating.
I tell ya, business on the street was good. We were getting to a point were we could work together the suppliers, the people inside, the independents theres enough action for everybody, you know? Sure, we mix it up occasionally, but nobodys gettin whacked. We cooperate. A guy inside does a little contract for the supplier, so the supplier shaves a few points off the insiders nut and everyone looks good in front of Joe Customer. Sharin the wealth without getting greedy, we all make enough to pay for a nice house at the shore.
And we have names for it: first responder or tiered response. You know, something with a legitimate sound. Only it is legit, and the customers do good by all of us. Theres respect. The customer has someone he can count on for service, and we have a customer that we can count on for business year after year.
Then the young punks moved in, doc. Information technology upstarts. Outta town software companies that blow their money on Super Bowl ads. They show no respect for the organization and no respect for the customers. Tax em all till theyre broke. Thats the motto of these wise guys.
Ill tell you what they do. Say you got an agreement with a customer. No strong-arm, they could go somewhere else, but youre family, so they give you the action, maybe three, four large to cover a system. And when they reach out late some night, youre there. No questions asked, you take care of business.
Not these computer punks. Theyre hooking citizens like some dope-pushing clocker. They give the customer a few hits of the product, like network or record-keeping software, you know. They get em to the point where they cant survive without the computer. By that time, the customer is into the punk for 75, 100 large. So what happens when the customer reaches out for a little service?
Nuthin! Thats what. The customers told that terms changed since the original agreement. Theyre told they aint covered and that nuthins getting fixed unless they pony up more dough.
The system doesnt work, the customers out of business and the computer companys whacking im with points to talk on the telephone, more points for mandatory upgrades and theyre making customers perform their own contract work and if they dont pay, the punks goons will swing by and bust up the software.
Oh, theyve got a fancy name for it, a service level agreement. Back in New Jersey, we call it a protection racket.
The punks even got state politicians to make this legit. The Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA) is the law in Maryland, and theyre working over other states right now.
With that kind of juice, it wasnt long before they started leaning on my people. You make a scanner, you gotta kick back to the operating system mob, and so on down the line. Soon, you start leaning on your foot soldiers, who lean on their customers. Taxing em for calls, for upgrades, for ordering parts. Infringing on their right to earn.
Its trouble. People are getting greedy and its gonna lead to a war, doc. How long we gonna kick upstairs without seeing nothin for it? How long before the healthcare technology families are forced to go to the mattresses, and Im stuck in some apartment in Newark, watchin The Sopranos on bootlegged cable?