Friday, November 11, 2016


My first job, which I actually previously discussed in a different blog post and where I'm still currently employed when I go back home during breaks, is a restaurant where I cashier, deliver food, clean, etc. There I witnessed many conflicts where the customer said they got the wrong order or something was done incorrectly if they specified how they want their order made. As a worker for the restaurant I am an agent to both the restaurant and the customer. My job is to please the customer to the best of my ability, and to help the restaurant maintain sales by presenting a welcoming, friendly and polite image to the customers. Since I sometimes delivered the food I had many one on one confrontations with the customers when they claimed their order was wrong. Being the only representative of the restaurant there, I would be put on the spot as to why the order was wrong as if I was the one that cooked the food. As I experienced more and more of these situations (although it was a small percentage of all orders) I started crafting a system to avoid conflict. Apologizing and asking what is wrong, as any logical worker would, is always my first step. This allows me to please the customer since I make the customer feel like they are being heard and appreciated, while presenting a great image for the restaurant since we obviously did something wrong (the customer is always right, not really but that is beside the point). After gathering information on how the order was messed up I proceed to call the restaurant and inform them about how the order was wrong exactly. As an agent to both the customer and the restaurant, fixing the mistake that we made is key to making both principals happy; the customer gets what they want and the restaurant fixes a mistake that will pay off in the long run. After informing my coworkers I then relay the response back to the customer to assure them that they will get what they want (we always cater to the customer so no matter what the restaurant will send the right order even if the customer was wrong, which they sometimes are). Doing these three simple steps allows me to defuse conflict and please the two principals.
There may or may not be a different way to resolve this issue but through trial and error I have crafted what works best for me. Sure I could tell the customer to call the restaurant and allow them to handle the situation, but as an agent to both the restaurant and customer it is my job to make things easy for the customer and portray a great image of the restaurant. Doing these steps allows me to fulfill both of these requirements. 
If I chose to only satisfy the restaurant by not listening to the customer and walking away when they are not pleased (which is not even possible since making one sale is less valuable than keeping a customer and maintaining a good image) I would fail as an agent because I would not be fulfilling the requirements I previously mentioned. On the other hand, only satisfying the customer is not even an option or feasible for that matter because the restaurant would need to know about the issue regardless. All in all, yes I could fail as an agent if I chose to satisfy one master, but only if I was to choose satisfying the restaurant.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Always Sunny Conflict

I am a huge fan of the FXX series It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia. In this comedy show there is an episode where "The Gang" holds a fake trial to determine who was at fault for ruining the interior of Dennis' car, Dennis or Frank. The problem began when Dennis was driving his car while eating cereal at red stop lights. Frank on the other hand was driving while listening to his roommate Charlie's road directions on a tape as if it was a GPS telling him where to go. Frank started to lose patience and was unable to understand the directions on the tape he was listening to and starting driving towards Dennis from behind. At this point Dennis is eating his cereal because the stop light was red and about 5 seconds later Frank rear ends Dennis making him spill his cereal all over his car.
From Dennis' perspective he was doing nothing wrong since he was driving like a responsible driver in his eyes since he would only eat his cereal when fully stopped. Even though that is still irresponsible, he was unable to see that and admit to the irresponsible nature of his actions. On the other hand, Frank thinks he should not be held accountable for ruining the interior of Dennis' car since to him Dennis was clearly being irresponsible for eating while stopped even when Frank was the one that rear ended Dennis. As one can see, both people were unable to see the other person's point of view so when they came back to the bar they own, "The Gang" (which consists of Charlie, Mac, Dennis, Dee, and Frank) decide to hold a trial in order to handle things internally.
As the trial commenced, Charlie decided to be Frank's lawyer while Dee, Dennis' twin sister, decided to be Dennis' lawyer and Mac was the self-appointed judge. However, the reason she wanted to be his lawyer was because she wanted to set a precedent for taking responsibility when someone ruins someone else's car since "The Gang" has ruined/destroyed a few of her cars in very unfortunate events. After plenty of irrelevant discussions during the trial, they decide that the only way to settle this is to replay the whole situation all over again, so Dee and Charlie go in Frank's car and Mac goes in Dennis' car to see how the whole thing plays out. Eventually a misunderstanding occurs between Dee and Frank where Frank thought Dee said left but she actually said right just like Charlie, and Frank ends up rear ending Dennis again making him spill his cereal all over his car. At this point Dennis is furious and asks Frank how he could rear end him yet again. Frank puts the blame on Dee for confusing him and in the end they decide that Dee should pay for all the damages even when it wasn't her fault, ultimately screwing her over once more. Side note: the nature of "The Gang's" view of Dee is that of an annoying person that they use as a scapegoat whenever it is in their best interest, hence why they placed all the blame on her. In the end, the problem was resolved but in the least fair way possible that caused an innocent person to pay for the damages. The problem was completely avoidable but the nature of each of their characters is what caused the whole thing to escalate, starting from Frank's inability to follow the tape Charlie gave him and Dennis' irresponsible act of eating cereal while driving to "The Gang" settling the dispute in a logical manner.
This whole conflict is quite comical mainly because all of the characters have very complex personality disorders such as Grandiose Delusion.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Team Production

I'm not too sure what the prompt is asking me to write about, but I will try my best to write something with substance that connects the three articles.

My own example of team production with gift exchange would be to have some sort of centralized entity that "collects" all the work or product that people produce and divides it up equally among the parties involved. I guess this is just another way to describe socialistic societies, although I don't agree with that form of government. Setting up a neutral centralized entity would be beneficial because it would be able to gather up all the production and distribute it without anyone getting more or less than the person before them. These "gifts" that the people receive would be the product of the collaborative work of the group, and in reality it serves as their own individual salary for the work one individual put in. My example is closely related to the first article How to Get the Rich to Share the Marbles by Jonathan Haidt, specifically the first example the author proposes; where two kids pull on the same rope in order to get marbles out of it. My example has elements of that condition because two or more people have to work together in order to increase their wealth (marbles). In my example people have to do their part in order to increase the wealth of the centralized entity to ultimately get equal compensation for their production. In the example in the article, the kids have to do their part in order to get what they want. The only difference is that in my example the centralized entity automatically divides the production/wealth up evenly, and in the article's example one kid gets three marbles and the other gets one marble but the "richer" kid shares one of his marbles to make it even. In theory they are the same once the "richer" kid gives the "poorer" kid one marble because then they have an equal amount, just like my example produces an equal amount through a centralized entity.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Thinking About the Future

Before transferring into the University of Illinois I went to a community college. I was "forced" to go there because my parents decided that they didn't want to pay for my tuition so I had to pick up a full time job and attend a community school. Senior year of high school is when I thought of this plan in order to transfer into the University of Illinois, so I would say that I've had the future in mind since high school.
After attending that community school for two years I had accumulated enough money to pay my tuition at the University of Illinois for my last two years without taking out loans, meaning no debt after college. My main motivation for this was seeing my older brother basically do the same at a private school but with far more scholarships than me and without going to community college. Seeing him support himself for four full years was quite inspiring, ultimately making me realize that one day I would do the same. Senior year of high school came and I was extremely interested in my AP Economics class and ended up getting a 5 which made me even more interested in majoring in economics. When I decided on majoring in economics and realized that I would have to do the same thing as my oldest brother, I knew I needed to plan for the future, so instead of just getting a job I decided that going to community college would be the smartest thing to do. While there I researched the required classes in order to transfer into the University of Illinois so I took all my gen eds there so that I could mainly focus on economics courses here.
As far as summer activities and clubs/organizations go I was not able to plan ahead because as I previously mentioned, I worked a full time job while going to school for my first two years. This is one consequence of wanting to graduate with no debt. Had I not taken one of my main priorities into consideration (no debt after college) and taken out loans, I would have had more time to get involved in organizations and activities, ultimately making it easier for me to get an internship. This is a dichotomy that I struggled with the first two years of college. I regret working full time and not taking out loans to a small extent, but I was planning for the future. Although simultaneously I was not planning for the future because an internship is crucial in getting a good job after college.
Watching my oldest brother go through a small private college near my hometown and struggling to find a job after graduating in 2010 was a hard thing for me to process. He doubled majored in chemistry and education and double minored in biology and Spanish literature, yet it took him 3 years to find a job in his field. Seeing that was unsettling. Today I still wonder how long it'll take me to find a job as an analyst, which means that I haven't really planned ahead enough. However, he did graduate 2 years after the 2008 recession so the unemployment rate was high. Now that the unemployment rate has gone down significantly since then I have more hope in a career as an analyst.
All in all, I would say that I have planned for the future to the best of my ability instead of focusing on the here and now.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Reflecting On Previous Posts

I think that the themes do have some connection. Since this is an economics course on organizations, all the posts are about how organizations behave and function. For example the prompt about my experience with organizations basically asked me to think about how they function from within. While the prompt about a time I had the chance of being opportunistic made me ponder how organizations behave. The Illinibucks prompt was a way to get the students to think about different things that organizations can offer their customers to create a better environment for them, at a cost though.

I think everything the professor assigns us is assigned for a reason. In this case it is to get us to think about how organizations are. Consequently that spills over to the classroom where we discuss those ideas in greater depth. I personally think that everything we talk about during class is very relevant to what we write about in our blog posts. This is especially true when I am assigned something that I don't understand why it was assigned, although I know its for some reason. Then when we discuss it during class I see why it was assigned and make those connections. For example when I was assigned the opportunistic prompt I was wondering why the professor wanted us to talk about a time we could have taken an opportunity but didn't. Then when we discussed it it became more clear that it was because that is how organizations behave; they try to take any opportunity that will increase their profits even if it screws other people over.

My writing process has not changed significantly, but I do try to think about how the prompt connects to the class and organizations before writing. That way I am able to make a more accurate and focused response that is tailored to the prompt's underlying meaning instead of just simply answering the question.

Since I am not a professor or a TA I don't think I have enough experience assigning prompts, but if I had to choose one thing that I would like to see it would be a prompt that targets a specific part of an organization such as human resources or something like that. I honestly have very little ideas on what I would like to see since I don't know how the course will continue to be. This class is very different than other economics classes because of the format so I don't have much experience with these types of courses.

Friday, September 30, 2016


If the school gave each student a certain amount of prepaid Illinibucks for the purpose of going ahead of the line for a specific situation I think it could be applied to many things. One thing that comes to mind is purchasing books before everyone else since sometimes the bookstore runs out of the book you need. Another thing that it could be applied to is registering for classes before other people, although as the prompt states some people are already given priority. It could also be used for events the school holds so you can purchase tickets before other people. Additionally, one could use the Illinibucks for advisor appointments since sometimes the advisors in your major's department are busy. 
I personally would not spend Illinibucks if I had to prepay for them. I really cannot think of a situation where I would really need to get ahead of the line. To me it seems like a waste of money to do that. If they were free that would be a different story. I would definitely use them wisely though.
If the price was to be too high I don't think people would buy them since not many people really need to get "ahead of the line." I would still expect some consumers for Illinibucks but not many since they  would probably have a low demand for it. However, If the price was really low I think many people would buy them since they are a bit useful but not so useful to where they would be purchased if they were extremely expensive. I think a lot of people buying them would cause a lot of people to be mad since they would be moved back a little more from the top of the line. All in all I think Illinibucks seems like an idea that shouldn't be more than just that. It seems like a waste of money if you have to prepay for it, but I'm sure some people would buy them.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Sacrificing Ethics for an Opportunity

One time when I was back in my hometown I was walking my dogs down a street near my house with a close friend of mine and as we turned the corner I saw a wallet lying on the ground outside a house. I turned to my friend and told him something along the lines of "Yo there's a wallet right there what should we do?" Three possibilities crossed my head immediately after saying that. First, we could pretend that we never saw the wallet and continue walking my dogs. This choice would clear us of any action or any wrong doing, and we would put the faith of that wallet into someone else's hands, literally. However, I felt like that would be irresponsible of us as citizens of my hometown. The next option is knocking on the door of the house and ask them for their name making sure that it matches the ID, assuming that was their wallet and it didn't belong to someone walking just like us. This option is clearly the best and most responsible of the three, but it could go wrong if it didn't belong to that person and we still gave it to them. Lastly, we could pick the unethical but most opportunistic of the three; take the wallet and walk away. This choice would benefit us and ruin someone else's day, perhaps even their week. Should we sacrifice someone else's belongings and happiness to make us a tad bit richer? Should someone take that opportunity for their own benefit and perhaps teach the wallet's owner a lesson?

After thinking of these three options, my friend turns to me and asks what we are going to do. I'm naturally a good person and don't like hurting other people, so I chose the second option and picked up the wallet. I proceeded to check the name on the ID and knocked on the door. At this point, I thought of the possibility of no one being home and now I'm stuck with a wallet in my hand. If the person doesn't open the door, do I put the wallet back on the ground or what? The person opened the door and I told them that I found a wallet on their driveway, and if they could please tell me their name or the name of the person who could have dropped it so I could verify that it matches the ID. Luckily, it was that persons ID and everything went great. I did the right think, not the opportunistic thing, and he got his wallet back with all the money and cards still inside.

However, I could have easily done the unethical thing and just taken the wallet. When does one decide when something becomes unethical? When does someone sacrifice ethics for opportunities? I personally think that it comes down to the nature of the person and their circumstances. Had I been a broke person on the verge of homelessness, I might have thought about the third option a little longer. But I'm not in those circumstances, I'd say I'm pretty well off at the moment, so I didn't do the unethical thing for a little extra money. In addition, if I was naturally a person who doesn't see these things as unethical and wrong, I probably would have stolen the wallet. As I previously mentioned, I like to think of myself as a good person, someone who doesn't like to hurt others for my own benefit. The essence of my character played an important role in me picking the second option and returning the wallet to the person that it belonged to.

I think these two characteristics are the main culprits of unethical behavior. In my opinion, these two things are what cause people to jump on an opportunity even if it hurts others; as long as they benefit they won't care. However, many people over look the circumstances part of the equation. They see a wrongdoing and they immediately categorize that person as evil, when perhaps it's just the circumstances they have at the moment. We have to try to understand why people are opportunistic even when it causes them to do unethical things.