Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Truth be told, we don't really give a rat's rear end about the story of the guy dragged off the United flight, but we couldn't resist the mental image of Barry being dragged down an aisle while kicking, biting, scratching, weeping, and...as long as we're enjoying our fantasy...wetting himself.
As far as the actual story goes, the details keep changing - but it seems safe to say that the gentleman pulled from the plane had voluntarily entered the "asshole zone" by not leaving his seat without a fight (hint: when people with guns ask you to do something on a plane, it's a good idea to do it).
And frankly, the only reason that this is a story is because people got video of the last, most colorful moments of the confrontation...and it's proved to be more interesting on the vast brainless platforms of social media than other current news stories like, oh, impending nuclear war.
We live in strange and frighteningly superficial times.
BONUS: Expert Analysis from John the Econ
United Airlines shows how to make a PR crisis a total disaster
Short story: Flight overbooked, and United needed 4 seats to get a crew staged at the next stop. They offered $800 and a hotel for volunteers to get bumped for a flight the following afternoon. When they found no takers, instead of upping the offer they had the computer randomly select 4 passengers who had already boarded and were seated and asked that they deplane. When one refused, they called security to actually and literally drag him off the plane. Cell phone video of man being dragged down aisle goes viral.
So what did we actually witness yesterday? A great example of "Social Justice" being substituted for simple capitalism. For whatever reason, when there were no takers at $800, instead of raising the bid to $900 or more, the agents in charge decided to get their seats in a "fair" manner by allowing a computer to randomly select the 4 passengers to be inconvenienced. Of course, it certainly didn't feel "fair" or like "justice" for the 4 people pulled from the flight, but that's the problem with "Social Justice", isn't it? Somebody ultimately gets screwed so others can be happy.
Of course, in retrospect this was all really stupid. You can't convince me that on a plane of 200 or so people that they couldn't have found a market clearing price for at least 4 people. (They might have had me at $1,500 or so - Mrs. Econ, who really wants a vacation would have made me) Clearly, the United personnel on the scene didn't want (or may not have been authorized) to offer that much. So they went the draconian route.
But in the end, the free market ultimately gets its retribution. In the wake of what happened United has suffered an incalculable PR disaster and is now the butt of jokes internationally. (Many of the memes floating about the Internet are a hoot) This morning, UAL's stock price dropped several percent, resulting in around $800,000,000 of market capitalization evaporating last I looked. Makes paying $4-or-5 thousand to buy the good graces of 4 people look kinda cheap now, doesn't it?
So next time you see a social justice warrior demand that "social justice" replace the laws of supply and demand, remember the guy who was dragged off the plane. Usually, you don't get to see the victims of such "just" policy so vividly.
Posted by Stilton Jarlsberg at 12:01 AM