Quite a November or The Stark Difference Between Private Enterprise and the State

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November
started out nice. I had a birthday, turned 26, big party with the
Fam, lots of fun. Little did I know that things would go downhill
fast.

The
last day of October marked the last day that my car was legal, I
had to re-register it. This is just another way that the state makes
you pay more for doing well economically. I have a model 2001 Toyota,
not the newest but not bad, and the state “assessment fee” is $150,
but then they add insult to injury by tacking on a “registration
fee” of $26.50. Not to mention the state mandated safety check where
my two rear tires and my windshield (which has developed a crack)
didn’t pass. Add on another $200 to my state mandated tab. Now I’m
fuming because I’ve been running all around town all day, so you
can imagine my dismay/anger when I see the line of 10 people waiting
in front of me at the DMV. 10 people in front of you at the restaurant,
20 to 30 min; 10 people in front of you at the grocery store, 15
to 20 min; 10 people in front of you at the DMV, an eternity. Needless
to say having my son create a dirty diaper right before I saw someone
didn’t help.

Why
do we put up with this? Shouldn’t I be able to decide when my tires
are too bald to drive on, shouldn’t I be able to decide when the
crack in my windshield impairs my vision and becomes dangerous?
And what exactly is an “assessment fee”? It’s the first week in
Nov. and I’m already out $400 bucks that could have gone to Christmas.
Damn the man.

Private
enterprise is far more efficient than the state, and I’m not just
talking about lines here. I work in a FDA regulated industry. It
didn’t used to be regulated but that’s another story. Years ago
our company decided that in order to legitimize our new industry
a standard would have to be developed and set. So rather than reinvent
the wheel we asked Underwriters Laboratories to come and audit our
company and search for quality related issues. They have been doing
this for years.

  • They are
    prompt in the conduct of the audit.
  • They call
    and make appointments.
  • They send
    the same auditor out each time so the audits are more efficient
    and we don’t always have to start over.
  • They finish
    the audits in 1 or 2 days depending upon the complexity of the
    audit.
  • They focus
    on quality processes not paperwork, they focus on the customer
    not the regulations.

Yesterday
the FDA showed up for a surprise inspection. This always makes me
nervous, not that I am guilty of any wrong doing; I always try to
comply with the regulations, but the regulations can and have in
the past been interpreted in contrary ways depending upon the auditor.
This is the 3rd time they have inspected our firm and
the 3rd team of inspectors, so that’s 3 different interpretations
of the same confusing regulatory language.

 Each
time they take 2 days reading over our paperwork trying to understand
what it is that we do. They then spend a week or more asking questions
and interrogating me and my staff. All the while they have a smug
attitude and a superior nose about them. Our first inspection the
inspector casually mentioned that if she wanted to she could fine
us millions of dollars to put us out of business without having
to actually shut us down, this was before she had even looked at
our process or our paperwork. We gave her a nickname, Wilbur, and
made fun of her the entire time she was there without her knowing.
Yeah, I know it’s childish and petty, but you do what you can to
enact some sort of revenge.

My
wife who is pretty tolerating by nature has turned to calling them
fascists. She was in the office lobby when the recent Gestapo goosestepped
in and announced that they would like to see if our papers were
in order. After letting me know that they were here she asked them
if they had made an appointment.

“No,
We don’t have to.”

At
that point my wife clicked her feet together did a curt bow and
marched away mumbling to herself.

The
difference between private enterprise and the state is unbelievable.

  • These inspectors
    will be here for a week or more. Partially because they have to
    start from scratch and partially because they don’t have to be
    fast.
  • They focus
    on paperwork, not quality. Our company has a joke: “We could take
    our devices out back and wash them with the garden hose as long
    as the hose is validated.”

Since
the FDA has begun regulating us they have increased our expenses
and done nothing to improve the quality of our product. This didn’t
shock me, I expected it, but my wife was finally convinced of the
uselessness of government regulations. So in a way it was a good
thing. Being an anarchist I often run into opposition trying to
explain my disdain for the Feds so it was nice that my wife was
finally on my side.

Though
November started good, but quickly turned sour, I am optimistic
that the month will end in happiness and full bellies. I love Thanksgiving.

November
12, 2003

Nathan
Eames [send him mail]
is a Production Manager in Utah.


        
        

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