Widget Propaganda

widg·et n.

1. A small mechanical device or control; a gadget.
2. An unnamed or hypothetical manufactured article.

Potatohead has set up his command cubicle of hatred smack dab in the middle of the production area. Every afternoon when I come in to work I have to pass by it to get to my work stations. Usually he isn’t sitting at his desk so I slip into the area undetected like a thief in the night. Today I wasn’t so fortunate. I busted a right hand turn from the main aisleway to face Potatohead sitting behind his desk, looking straight at me. Before I could flinch at the sight of him, I was called over to his cube. That’s a shitty way to start off the work day.

Smiling, Potatohead told me there was something he’d like me to look at. I cautiously stepped up to the edge of his desk. He handed me a thin paperback book with a white cover and asked me to read it when I had time. I said, “What’s it about?” Potatohead jabbered on explaining that it was a study concerning process flow in a hypothetical work environment. He informed me that the book had some really good stuff in it and I should find it directly applicable to what we do here at Bill and Dave’s. He was way too enthusiastic about it so my bullshit detectors went off like a burglar alarm at a jewelry shop. As he was running off at the mouth about how great this little book is I thumbed through the pages with a disinterested expression on my face. I continued flicking through the pages until that hideous word caught my eye: widget. I hate that word and I know instantly when I see widget in a document like this that whoever wrote it knows absolutely nothing about manufacturing. Widget was plastered on page after miserable page. The little book in my hand might as well have been a piece of stinky dog poo. It was pure filth, I wanted to throw it into the trash bin.

People who write books about factory production use widgets to describe their fictional product that can be assumed is the lowest common denominator in a manufacturing scenario. A widget could be anything from a common brick to a sophisticated jet aircraft. The misguided authors of such nonsense contend it doesn’t matter how intensive or elaborate your particular product is to get out the door, the theory always applies. That’s where they fail every god damned time. The shit just doesn’t work in places like this, instead it’s better suited for making hippy sandals or pie tins.

I handed the book back towards Potatohead. There was no way I’d waste a single minute of my time on his half-baked production propaganda theories. Besides, this smelled like it was another attempt to recruit me as his personal ass kisser. I said to him, “No thanks.” I walked towards the assembly area and took a quick survey of where my dayshift counterpart Gary had left off for the day. Then I got busy with my evil little Signal Generators. They were going to fight me through my entire shift, but ultimately no matter how much trouble they gave up, I was going to win the war.

A few hours later I saw Meth walk by, and in his hand he had Potatohead’s widget book. I think Potatohead has officially selected his premium-grade kiss ass.


~ by factorypeasant on September 22, 2005.

8 Responses to “Widget Propaganda”

  1. LOL–I hope neth has some chap-stick!

  2. Reading this reminds me how much I need to read Animal Farm again.


  3. Help! I’m being held captive in a hippie sandal pie tin factory.
    Nice post.

  4. nothing good has ever been written in book form. The written word is all lies, wait….
    I want that three speed. What’s the manufacturer? Is it a girl’s bike?

  5. These people with their intentions on screwing with something that has been proven to work instead of going after the real issues kill me.

    In their minds it is easier to focus on things that work rather than adding real value to customer, the company and more importantly to the factory peseants.

  6. ben lid, master of wrestling smackdowns… you may have the bike. it is a jet black Western Flyer from the 1960s, girl’s bike. had a bunch of work done to it couple months ago so mechanically it’s super smooth and in great shape. also has a headlight and rear rack.

    air is in the tires… ready to roll. only mishap, the gear shift is busted it’s stuck in third. minor fix it’s all there. email me and i’ll give you the scoop. if yer down i can drop it by your place any time this weekend or whenever. it’s too small for me and i’d like to get it out of the garage. i have to duck it every day when i come home from work. one of these evenings i know it’s gonna clock me right in the eye…

  7. anon- i think you meant they focus on things that don’t work because that’s easier than going after the real problems. real ongoing problems require some amount of clever thought to solve. Potatohead never had a clue so it was a quick way out for him to pay attention to fluff rather than the difficult stuff. there’s more to it than that, which i will get to shortly.

  8. Wad- thanks, br0.

    razor- why does it remind you of animal farm? just curious.

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