atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#7523: Well, this map is OLD

I hope no one is relying on the map in the back of the latest community yellow pages book ("HomePages") because it's got the old alignment of the major east-west highway through town, and it also shows railroad tracks that haven't existed since 1981.

Yet it does have the new high school, and the subdivisions that went in since those tracks were torn out.

Oh well; not my problem.

* * *

Ended up flopping for three hours. Mrs. Fungus had returned to bed by the time I got home from my errands, and after I'd finished eating lunch I ended up getting sleepy.

Her car currently has 11,000 more miles on it than my Jeep does, yet it drives quieter and smoother. Of course we just paid $800 to have new tires put on, an alignment done, and the front brakes fixed, so that took care of a lot of the ride quality issues that it was having. (In particular, one tire had developed a "whop whop whop" sound that was, I think and well after the fact, due to the alignment being off.) So it's quieter and smoother than my Jeep is; and I have to admit that the Jeep is nine years older than her car is, and a truck to boot.

* * *

Speaking of which, I saw one of the new Ford Broncos today. Not sure if it was the cheap "Bronco Sport", which is front-wheel-drive plus part-time 4WD, or if it was the more expensive version. I only got to see it in my rear-view mirror and it looked rather smaller than I'd expected.

Got me to thinking about vehicles in general, though. Having read through the hype over Ford's product annoucement I thought one of those would suit my needs fairly well, although "turbo four cylinder" does not really grab me when we're talking about a five thousand pound truck...and yeah, they're heavy-ass bitches. The V6 adds something like $3,500 to the price tag because it requires the 10-speed automatic transmission. I'd go with an auto anyway, since I'd only want to row gears in a sports car, but holy crap.

The Bronco is pretty nice, I have to admit, but I'm not sure it's that nice.

Jeeps tend to run less and they are very popular. Mrs. Fungus wants a Renegade, and to be honest with her commute I think that'd be a great idea. You don't see them on used lots, they're so popular.

But around all this thinking I was doing, as I ran my errands, it occurred to me that sometime in the last couple of decades I stopped caring about imports.

Used to be I was highly protectionist. I've talked about that here before; I went from highly protectionist to being all-in on free trade to some mixture thereof. But today I hit on an entirely new paradigm for me, which is that a lot of American corporations no longer deserve to get my custom. You see, while corporations lean on H1-B visa holders for the kind of work I went to school to do, they expect me to buy their products instead of ones made by their foregin counterparts.

The same corporations that exhort me to "buy American!" do everything they can to import IT and engineering staff from India or other cheap places, rather than, y'know, buying American in the labor market. It's cheaper to employ a guy from India or China than it is to hire an American, just because those people will cheerfully work their asses off for a lot less money. Just look at the abuse our H1-B visa system sees, and you'll understand what I'm saying. And don't get me started on outsourcing and the location of factories in other countries.

So if it's perfectly fine and dandy for a corporation to consider price before other considerations when making purchasing decisions, why am I supposed to be the one who has to consider country of manufacture first?

"Well, you see, as an American, it's in your best interests to buy American-made products. 'Earn it here, keep it here'! Otherwise no one will have any money!" Sure. But American corporations have the same sort of "best interests", don't they? By taking their manufacturing outside of the country, by importing cheap foreign labor, by advocating for immigration policies that depress wages, American corporations are keeping American citizens from maximizing their earning power, thus reducing the disposable income they have to buy products from American corporations.

That's the thing: I chose my career based on a number of factors, but by the time I got to the place I wanted to be, there wasn't a there any longer. Technical publications largely are not generated in-house any longer, but they've either been subcontracted or simply loaded onto already overworked engineers. Seriously, when was the last time you got a manual with a product? A paper manual, one that included more than just setup information, and wasn't written in some variety of "Engrish"? You get a link to a web site which, more likely than not, is a bewildering labyrinth of nonsense, and the older the product is, the more likely it is that you end up looking at a "404" page.

So my fallback position was to do what I did while in school: computer technician. And I've managed to rebuild that career almost from scratch, starting out as a part-time Geek Squad agent; but how much better off would I be if American manufacturers bought, y'know, American?

That being said, why do Ford or GM automatically deserve my trade, just by virtue of having their corporate headquarters in the same country I live in? (Chrysler is owned by "Stellantis" which is some mixture of foreign manufacturers...I think? Curse this nonsense.) And further, a lot of American corporations take public stances which are inimical to my interests. (Gilette and Goodyear being two examples of corporations I no longer patronize.) Why do these corporations have any claim to my money?

They don't.

So, screw 'em.

* * *

When I got up from my snooze it was snowing. It's not snowing much, an inch or less (we are told) but of course tonight and tomorrow it will be cold.

I'm going to try to stay in tomorrow, of course, but Monday I must be at work early so I can watch a field service engineer replace a battery in a file server. *sigh*

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