Talk about not getting it...
December 6, 2001 11:39 AM   Subscribe

Talk about not getting it... "Polaroid Corp., which slashed jobs and retiree benefits before filing for bankruptcy protection in October, wants to reward top executives with up to $19 million in bonuses and incentives as it dismantles the instant camera and film maker to pay off creditors." Clueless or evil? You make the call...
posted by kasnj (20 comments total)

Enron awarded $55 million in executive bonuses the day before declaring bankruptcy. Uncontrolled capitalism cures all ills. Pay no attention to the sympathizers of the EvilDoers.
posted by nofundy at 11:46 AM on December 6, 2001

Neither clueless nor evil: typical. Companies are, for the most part, run for execs by execs. Shareholders are only a concern if the stock price is low enough that the execs are suffering, and employees are only a concern if the company is trying to polish it's image for some past offense.
posted by aramaic at 11:47 AM on December 6, 2001

new name. Same old game.
posted by Postroad at 12:03 PM on December 6, 2001

I work in production design and have been following this with interest; the film and still photo business has probably been what's kept Polaroid afloat this long. While there's been a migration to digital, a lot of people still rely on Polaroid for on-set applications. Anyone else actually use Pola film in a regular application?
posted by videodrome at 12:04 PM on December 6, 2001

posted by alumshubby at 12:09 PM on December 6, 2001

Stupid and evil. Stupid that they've run the company virtually vertically into the ground and evil by that they never cared and never will. They make money off it.
posted by tiaka at 12:20 PM on December 6, 2001

Well yeah, I've been pretty attached to Polaroid products -- my I-Zone, my Land Camera, etc. For purely selfish reasons of creative expression I don't want their products to go off the market. It's a damn shame.
posted by edamame at 12:22 PM on December 6, 2001

What aramaic said. My company does niche financial services for exactly these sorts of guys. They are truly a separate breed. And they definitely get it. It's we that don't. It's neither stupid nor evil - it's greed, which is rooted laziness and narcissicism, which are the two banes of human existence

Anyway, if you want a good life with lots of money, you should try to join them if you can.

aramaic: why is it that we are not in control of the world yet?? (scroll to bottom)
posted by UncleFes at 12:23 PM on December 6, 2001

Yeah, edamame, I agree. The particular eh, bias, that Pola film brings to color reproduction is truly unique. Most of my favorite photos (that I've taken) are blowups from Pola 600 or 679 film. The digital's fun, but I'll be sad to see Polaroid go, despite it's shameful treatment of long-time employess.
posted by videodrome at 12:28 PM on December 6, 2001

More likely: the higher-ups have minimum bonus percentages written into their contracts and Polaroid won't declare the execs as 'creditors' in the bankruptcy proceeding.
posted by plaino at 12:36 PM on December 6, 2001

Someone - aramaic? - explain to me why Polaroid's shareholders aren't up in arms about this?
posted by lbergstr at 12:36 PM on December 6, 2001

I have to come out on the side of Polaroid, paying out bonuses before declaring bankruptcy is a common practice, one which the SEC for the most part allows.
These bonuses allow the company in question to retain those employees they feel are essential, retention is essential to maintaining the value of the estate and making restructuring a possibility.
While it sucks for a CEO to get a 2m bonus, while the guy on the manufacturing line gets $4500 (which is what the average Enron worker) clearly the CEO is of more value than the line worker and their bonuses reflect that.
Unfortunate but this is the world in which we live.
posted by Grok09 at 12:41 PM on December 6, 2001

I have a polaroid and it's great, but digital killed them. End of story. They simply didn't get out front in their market fast enough.

And for their inefficiency, lack of foresight and general business unknow-how, their execs each get a big bag of money for Christmas. Nice, eh?

up in arms about this?

A couple reasons: (a) the big ones are getting paid off too, since they are probably also corporate execs; (b) most of the little shareholders own Polaroid as part of a mutual fund, and their losses here are subsumed into the fund itself (which is exactly what mutual funds are supposed to do); and (c) most of the people left are still shitting themselves over their Enron losses to worry much about little ol' Polaroid
posted by UncleFes at 12:43 PM on December 6, 2001

grok09 brings up a valid point....but uncle fes has hit the nail on the head....these guys get it, and whoever joins the club is usually converted to the dark side pretty quickly, once the company-paid for ferrari and house and beach/ski condo start getting used.

while executives are a valuable can be seen by the fluctuations in stock price after executive personnel changes (anybody seen time-warner today?), as grok09 said, it seems despicable that they get ANYTHING.

these are the folks that can most afford to not get 2m bonuses....these bonuses should be forfeit during times of no profit or chapter WHAT if they're valuable...they should take it on the chin, for crying out loud. it's THEIR FAULT for this's their fault when the company's doing good, right, which is the reason for the huge bonuses? so it's their fault that the company is in the shitter.
posted by taumeson at 12:55 PM on December 6, 2001

This blows my mind. It reminds me of Converse going out of business. If someone can't run a business that makes a profit selling great things like Chucks and Polaroid stuff they deserve no pay at all.
posted by chrismc at 1:20 PM on December 6, 2001

There is a 'dark side' to every organization: It's that operational level that mere mortals are, for the most part, unaware of. Thats: EVERY ORGANIZATION, and they take care of each other. Just another cog in the tri-lateral/illuminati machine of punishment.
posted by Mack Twain at 1:56 PM on December 6, 2001

Kinda what skallas, UncleFes, and others are saying: the actions are despicable, but still and unfortunately completely legal. I can't find it right now, but there was a metathread on this a few months ago, about how CEOs were basically losing their real effectiveness because they won in any instance- bonuses and stock options in good times in bad. The incentive to perform well was lost, because the execs always came out on top. Companies hired execs mostly for that short term price fluctuation from a change in leadership. It's a crazy concept, but maybe things like "bonuses" should be wholly contingent on actual, y'know, "profits". If you're guaranteed money piled high no matter what you do, why not just spend your days playing golf and whoring around on the company expense account?

I tell ya, it's times like these I wonder why we haven't seen the following scenario: A small militia of truly pissed off former Polaroid employees (or Enron employees, or Boeing employees, or ...) go out and buy ski masks, rent a van, get plastered on Bud, drive to these execs homes, and just kick the holy living crap out of them. Sure, I know it sounds horribly anarchic and vigilante and not remotely legal- I mean, it is anarchic and vigilante and not remotely legal- but well, fuck it, y'know? Look, if a blue-collar Joe Sixpack is out of work for a long while, with a wife and kids to support, feeling desperate, feeling trapped, feeling overwhelmed by his responsibility and the sense that he can't even control his own destiny, that emasculating feeling of not being able to be the man- he'll do things, things he might not ordinarily do. Sometimes that means heavy drinking, sometimes that means he starts beating his wife or kids, or abandons them, or kills himself. So instead of all that, why not take out that frustration in a more socially acceptable way- one that doesn't hurt the wife and kids? :) A few well-publicized instances of that, and the greedy psychopathic exec will start factoring THAT into their golden-parachute equations. I can see the commercial now:
Executive severence bonus: $5M
Stock options cashed out just before the crash: $100M
Not getting my ass dragged out of bed at 2am some random evening and kicked from here to Delaware by angry, drunk, desperate men who now have no jobs and nothing to lose: priceless
posted by hincandenza at 3:42 PM on December 6, 2001

I've always been mildly peeved that execs have managed to escape workplace shootings, leaving their midlevel managers to take the bullets.

...I'm also mildly surprised that no angry, near-to-retirement-and-Enron-nuked-my-401K man hasn't taken a deer rifle and knocked off a couple suits. It'd be easy, as long as you don't mind getting caught.
posted by aramaic at 4:15 PM on December 6, 2001

Exactly- I'm not condoning it, I'm just surprised that we don't see it more often (or as aramaic says, that mid-level managers get stuck being the bullet-takers). I mean, with the hundreds of thousands of people laid off over the past year, many from companies that gave huge exec bonuses and/or received big taxpayer bailouts or subsidies, you'd think sheer probability would see a few handfuls of executive assassinations. It's not like the average person in this country is some sort of hyper-enlightened pacifist. Countless people have had their life take a down turn and crazily decided that the solution was to go try and kill someone else, usually a spouse/lover but sometimes a celebrity or a political figure. Why aren't we hearing about more execs being targeted? For pete's sake, Enron is out of Texas. Texas, people- we're hardly talking about the anti-gun crowd, here.
posted by hincandenza at 4:26 PM on December 6, 2001

Clueless or evil?

Wealthy ...
posted by walrus at 7:09 AM on December 7, 2001

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