Pret à mourir

I borrowed the title for this post from my friend Anton of Generation Bubble, who forwarded me a link to this NYT article by Stephanie…
I borrowed the title for this post from my friend Anton of Generation Bubble, who forwarded me a link to this NYT article by Stephanie Clifford about Pret à Manger, sort of the Target of sandwich shops, assuming Subway is the Wal-Mart. If you want to see a horrific application of all the principles of immaterial and affective labor, Virnoesque virtuosity, lateral surveillance, obligatory reflexivity, emotional management, gamification and so on, you need look no further. How does any company encourage teamwork? At Pret a Manger, executives say, the answer is to hire, pay and promote based on — believe it or not — qualities like cheerfulness. There is a certain “Survivor” element to all of this. New hires are sent to a Pret a Manger shop for a six-hour day, and then the employees there vote whether to keep… Read More...

Rioting Nonconsumers

Is rioting an expression of envy, or something more political, or something that is ultimately inexplicable? From Zygmunt Bauman’s response to the London riots: We…
Is rioting an expression of envy, or something more political, or something that is ultimately inexplicable? From Zygmunt Bauman's response to the London riots: We are all consumers now, consumers first and foremost, consumers by right and by duty... It is the level of our shopping activity and the ease with which we dispose of one object of consumption in order to replace it with a “new and improved” one which serves us as the prime measure of our social standing and the score in the life-success competition. To all problems we encounter on the road away from trouble and towards satisfaction we seek solutions in shops. From cradle to coffin we are trained and drilled to treat shops as pharmacies filled with drugs to cure or at least mitigate all illnesses and afflictions of our lives and lives in… Read More...