A fine idea gone wrong

Sunday, April 26, 1998
BY PETER BRONSON of The Cincinnati Enquirer

April 1, 1992
TO: Amalgamated Widget Workers
FROM: Management
It has come to our attention that some employees want to participate in something called "Take Your Daughters To Work Day." Amalgamated Widget values families, including daughters, but human resources policy (Employee Handbook Section IV, part 17) prohibits the presence of unsupervised children in and around work stations, including but not limited to smelters, stampers, saws and high speed drills. Amalgamated is the nation's top widget manufacturing company, not a day-care center. Those who wish to introduce their daughters to exciting career opportunities assembling and packing widgets may sign up for the annual factory tour on Amalgamated Family Day.

April 1, 1993
TO: Our Valued Employees
FROM: Management
Many of our valued Amalgamated employees were dissatisfied with our policy on Take Our Daughters to Work Day. After the protest work stoppage last year, Amalgamated has reconsidered and will welcome the opportunity to introduce daughters to the exciting world of Widget production. Smelters, stampers and other restricted equipment will be shut down for a one-hour tour.

April 1, 1994
TO: All Employee Persons
FROM: Management
After the successful Take Our Daughters to Work Day last year, human resources conducted a series of workshops to explore possible gender bias in the event. Upon the recommendation of the Gender Equity Committee, Amalgamated this year will also welcome sons on Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.

April 1, 1995
TO: Our Amalgamated Family
FROM: Management
The Gender Equity Committee has been expanded to include issues of age discrimination, after some employees protested that last year's Take Our Children to Work Day excluded grandparents. Management has agreed to rename the event Take Our Children and Grandparents to Work Day -- but that is not intended to exclude siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins and other relatives. Production will be shut down for two days to accommodate all visitors who wish to explore exciting careers at Amalgamated . . .

April 1, 1996
TO: Everybody
FROM: Management
The Committee on Gender, Diversity, Alternative Lifestyles, Age and Other Disorders has recommended the following changes: Childless orphans can bring anyone they want to Take Our Whatever to Work Day. For those lacking convenient neighbors or friends, human resources has made arrangements with the local homeless shelter to provide substitute companions. Also, parents are advised to keep their daughters and sons away from the cafeteria from 8-5, when employees who have ADA-certified alcoholism and drug disorders will gather for a keg party and limbo contest . . .

April 1, 1997
TO: Employee Pet Owners
FROM: Human Resources
A year-long study of the Amalgamated Employee Handbook has found no specific language regarding non-humans. After obtaining legal advice, Amalgamated will no longer exclude pets . . .

April 1, 1998
TO: All Whiners, Malcontents and Victims of Amalgamated Job Oppression
FROM: Former management
There will be no open house this year to allow daughters, sons, grandparents, neighbors, in-laws, homeless people, undocumented aliens, Internet-addicted exotic dancers, dogs, cats and tropical fish to explore exciting careers at Amalgamated Widget because WE HAVE NO MORE EXCITING CAREERS.

Repeated production losses in April, corresponding to Take Our Watchamacallit To Work Day, left us unable to fill orders. Our competitor, Conglomerated Widget, has monopolized the market. Our plan for early retirement and downsizing must be abandoned; instead, all assets are being sold to pay liability awards from last year's event. The homeless man who was attacked by a Doberman belonging to our night foreman's brother-in-law has settled for $11.4 million; we are still litigating an emotional trauma lawsuit on behalf of children who witnessed the unfortunate attack and the resulting limbo-party brawl.

Good news: The hamster missing since last year has been found -- jammed in the gears of No. 1 Widget Stamper, which will not be repaired because the entire plant will close at the end of this week.

To commemorate 79 years of Widget-making tradition, management has declared that Friday will be: Take Our Whole Famn Damily to the Unemployment Office Day.

Peter Bronson is editorial page editor of The Enquirer. If you have questions or comments, call 768-8301, or write to 312 Elm Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202.