Friday, February 21, 2014

Robert McKevitt, the Twix Vending Machine, and His Network Moment

“I’m mad as Hell and can’t take it anymore.” We’ve all faced that Howard Beale moment, especially these days with an infinite series of robotic prompts, followed by the sounds of silence on a service call. Robert McKevitt had his last October and made a costly decision. We can identify with his battle with the money gouging vending machine. We have one of those machines in the law school. He put a dollar in the machine at the Polaris Industries warehouse in Milford, Iowa for a $.90 Twix Bar. Robert had had “a rough day.” His girlfriend was nine months pregnant and “it was rough.” The Twix was visibly hung up on the way done. He placed another dollar in the machine. Same result. It’s time for the tried and true Plan B kicking and violently shaking the machine. More frustration. Now it’s time to think outside the box. It’s time to fight the frustrations; it’s time for relief. “Man Against the Machine.” Deux ex Machina This man will beat the vending machine with a stronger machine – his forklift. The forklift lifted and dropped, or should I say “allegedly lifted and dropped,” the felonious vending machine six times, two feet each time, onto the cement floor. Robert hid the Twix Jackpot. The machine disgorged three Twix bars. Robert had won a small victory for man against the infernal vending machine. A victory we can all savor. Robert McKevitt then had to face a bigger foe, The Polaris Industries Human Resources Department. HR had no empathy or sense of humor. Robert was fired 5 days later, two days after the birth of his daughter. He had one moral victory. Polaris Industries replaced the vending machines. His subsequent application for unemployment was denied. The administrative judge held Robert McKevitt was justifiably fired for misconduct for acting in willful disregard of his employer’s interests. Apparently the judge frowns upon employee morale boosting activities. Robert earned $16/hour at Polaris. He now makes only $9/hour at Walmart. He also lost his girlfriend and had to move in with his brother. Where did Robert go wrong? First, he apparently never watched the 1976 classic movie “Network,” now out on Blu-ray. He would have seen that it ended badly for Howard Beale, who uttered the memorable line “I’m mad as Hell and can’t take it any more.” Second, he blew; he let his emotions control him. Find an outlet to release the pressure in a manner that is not anti-social. Take it out on a punching bag or golf club. Shoot 1,000 free throws. Clean the garage or basement. Listen to early Bob Dylan. Throw darts at a picture of the vending machine. Make a Voodoo Doll with the machine’s name on it, and then stick pins in it – anything short of actual violence. Third, understand that “It’s the minor frustrations that make life interesting.” As the saying goes “If You Have a Lemon, Make Lemonade.” (A wonderful book by Warren Hinckle). Read the book, or even the extensive owners manual for the forklift. Watch Martini McBride’s wonderful music video for “Even God Fearing Women Get the Blues.” But don’t emulate Roger Pion, who was so upset at a ticket in Vermont that he took out 8 Orleans County police cruisers with a tractor in August 2012, a feat emulated last December by a 38 year old man in Burnaby, British Columbia, who totaled six police cars and then flooded the Burnaby Hospital’s basement. Forklift rage is as bad as Road Rage. Fourth, Robert failed to understand that the law only tolerates “self help” to a very limited extent. For example, you don’t blow up the cell tower because you hate your carrier. Yet, even if only for a second, you have to think “Well done, Robert. Wish I had thought of that.”

No comments: