New LaCucaracha resident, Ted Palmer, landed in LaCucaracha after losing his job at the Generic Manufactories plant in Fort Stockton. Palmer remains bitter about the lay off, and somewhat baffled as to how exactly the widgets he made for over twenty years can be replaced by a “virtual widget,” the so-called, E-get (pronounced “ee-jet”).
The E-get recently became one of the most downloaded iPhone Apps ever produced. Quite simply, the E-get is a virtual recreation of the widget made popular by Stuckey’s and Nickerson Farms in the 1970’s, and later in the last millennium by the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain. The real widget was a block of wood with a small, metallic hand crank. It did nothing, just like the E-get.
“It’s not what it did,” said Palmer, “it’s what it represents. A tangible, concrete – or wood in this case – thing. We make it at a plant, sell it to a distributor, who then sells it to the public. It’s a real thing you can put your hands on. How can you have a plant that makes things that aren’t really there? I don’t understand this whole digital thing. It’s ruining our country and taking our jobs.”
So worked up was Palmer, he whipped out two news clippings he kept carefully folded in his wallet. The briefs describe the closure of his former plant, and the opening of the new virtual plant in Singapore.
We’ve reprinted those articles, unedited, here:
Fort Stockton, TX
Generic Manufactories, world-wide leader in the manufacture and distribution of widgets today announced that it would cease manufacturing of widgets at its two remaining US plants (Fort Stockton, TX and West Torrance, CA). Glen Beckingham, SVP Global Operations told “Domestic demand has been falling for the past 15 years due to several factors, primarily cheaper overseas imports of subsidized Asian and Eastern European widgets as well as a move toward more non traditional abstract units of estimation.” This trend of US based jobs moving overseas has alarmed many in the state, however the State Governors Office declined to comment when asked. Tyler Snyder of the Teamsters Local 657 was more blunt, “This sucks.”
Hong Meng Electronics (Overseas) PTE LTD today announced an increase in its production of “E-gets” (pronounced “ee-jets”). Tan Siew Fong, COO and founder of the company told press, “The market has increasingly looked for a virtual alternative to the bricks and mortar, 19th century Widget. In the E-get we have opened a new frontier in physically inspired web based manufacturing.” Production will commence at the newly built Tuas plant in September 2010 with additional capacity being added in (still being built) plants in Madhya Pradesh India and Nairobi Kenya.
“Alternative to bricks and mortar?” an increasingly agitated Palmer queried, “What the hell does that mean? Inspired manufacturing? What the…?” Palmer finally put the clippings back in his wallet and shook his head in disbelief.
Things are looking up for Palmer and his family in LaCucaracha though. He recently took a job at Mama’s BBQ and is enjoying cooking over the grill. “You can’t virtually cook or eat,” said Palmer. “This is real. There’s no iPhone App for this.”
Just then, a teenager eating at the restaurant held up his phone. On the phone’s screen? The Weber Grilling App. Palmer aggressively grabbed the phone, shouted, “Let me help you eat that, son!” and tried to shove the Apple device down the teen’s throat. Palmer’s manager intervened quickly, though, and reminded Palmer of the new anger management strategies he’s been learning in the post traumatic layoff syndrome classes the E-Get app company was providing as part of his severance package.
Original article submitted by Andrew Calvert