Here’s an “employee plan” worth emulating: GM, Ford, Chrysler, Are you listening?

In Other News Dept:

The business pages of the New York Times reports [free registration required]that Mazda in Japan is paying its employees a bonus if they walk to work.

In the story, it says “Mazda employees who live more than two kilometers (1.24 miles) from the office and walk more than four kilometers (2.48 miles) in round trips at least 15 days a month” will be eligible for a cash bonus (of 1,500 yen (US$12) a month). Notable is the specific mention that workers who take the train have to get off at least the two km away in order to be eligible.

We wonder how many workers take the train to the plant in Oshawa or Windsor? We wonder if there even is a train to the plant. Hey, take the train to work at GM, Ford or Chrysler, you’re guaranteed a two km walk! Hey, where’s my 12 bucks?

Last summer, the “Big Three” car companies [henceforth known as “the big 2.5” –ed.] had a “big sale” offering “employee discounts” to the buying public. They did great guns clearing out the overstock of gas-guzzling SUVs just in time for the record oil and gas prices that followed in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (we wrote about it here). Of course the ad campaign was a scam [is there any other kind? –ed.], and of course it duped a huge crowd into new and greater forms of debt. Most of the news that got reported in the Daily Car Advertiser (a.k.a. the daily paper) was about how cool a sale this was, how neat it was to be on a par with the employees, and gosh, just how long can this great sale go on anyway? (a notable exception was the story in the Toronto Globe and Mail, Nov. 8 2005: “U.S. consumer debt level falls for first time in 10 months; Sputtering car sales seen as biggest factor” –[ooh, guess heads rolled at the news dept after that one –ed.]).

But now it’s GM that’s sputtering (with Ford and Chrysler not far behind in the race to bankruptcy), and they’ve taken out ads in the paper disguised as charts: “HERE ARE THE TEN IMPORTANT THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT OUR GREAT COMPANY,” or some such bumf (for this kind of ad they invented the term “my eyes glaze over”). How long until the rest of the troika [what’s Russian for “2.5” anyway? –ed.] copies the theme: “CHRYSLER: A GREAT, IMPORTANT COMPANY, AND HERE’S WHY:” or “WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FORD AND THE NAZIS: (with footnotes)”?

We at the ALLDERBLOB have another suggestion for the gang of 2.5: take the Mazda theme, and one-up them: pay not only your employees to walk to work, but the general public too.

Now, there’s a campaign that would make the ALLDERBLOB tremble: Car companies paying customers to leave the car at home.

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