Friday, April 24, 2009

Cafepress ruins lives

Ok so, Sheryl is on the warpath now. We happened to read one too many stories while on the cafepress forums about handicapped veterans, stay at home single moms, and even some less personally engaging but still heartbreaking accounts of highly successful shopkeepers facing financial ruination by the end of May.

The most interesting part of this greedy money grab by the Cafepress corporation is that I don't see how it can possibly work for them. I asked myself, what would I do if I ran that business and really wanted to tank it. Hmmm, I know ! I'd slap the faces and steal the profits from my top producing sales-people. Yeah, you know, the ones who make 50-100 grand a year and earn my company triple that-- the very same ones who can afford LAWYERS. And a lot of them, being so good at reaching a massive audience also are very good at writing PRESS RELEASES. Yup, that's what I'd do. Oh, wait, I could go one better and do the same to ALL of my salespeople/artists and designers, just in case any of the 6.5 million of them might want to look into a class action law suit, or perhaps just one of them is very well connected to a mass media outlet.

You betcha, I'd make this announcement right away from management: "Good morning everyone, just to let you know that from now on we're reducing your commissions by about 70 percent. In good conscience I feel that I owe you an explanation-- after all many of you have been with us for several years, working tirelessly with no guarantee of any earnings whatsoever, no benefits, no salary, and I really must admit that the success of the entire company rests squarely upon your backs. So here it is: we're not cutting your commissions because we need to. No, we're just fine. In fact, profits are up this year. We're not lowering prices to the consumer, scaling back our overhead-- nothing of the kind. We're taking that money just because we want it. So that's the announcement, you can all go right back to work now."

So, that's what I would do if I ran Cafepress and wanted to flush the whole multi-million dollar corporation down the toilet. Oh, wait, that's what they just did.

Conversely I know exactly what refinements to make in order to bring Cafepress to a higher level of profitability, and as a side effect (when you're talking corporate, apparently morals are accidental side effects) everyone would find it fair and equitable. But I ain't tellin'. I will say this though, it's not rocket science, far from it, but if CP wants my rocket science they can damn well pay me for it. I'm available.

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