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Week of 23 August 2021: Fos continues...

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By Jim Thompson interpreting for Fos the Rat

After a few lights of recreation, the Great Mother convened us once again.

"Rats," she announced, "Let me introduce the Rat 'Em Out Detective Agency. You can just call them "REO" for short."

Six wizened looking old rats came to the front of the room.

The Great Mother continued, "The cadre got wind of a couple of activities that we thought needed investigating. These are operated by some of the Big Big Things, some high up in what they call their 'hierarchy.' Although not exactly illegal, we thought these would be worth investigating. Let me introduce you to Silas, the sly rat. He is the CEO of REO."

With that, she gave the floor to Silas.

Silas started. "Yes, yes, thank you. Let me start by saying it is an honor to be here today. And I would like to thank my colleagues, Do, Wee, Che, Ham and Hal. We have spent many, many lights investigating some matters that are hard to believe, but nevertheless, seem to exist in the Big Things' world.

"We rats live a simple life, organized along simple lines and covering the basic needs. We don't worry about much beyond that. However, the Big Things seem to have evolved to the point their lives have gotten very complex.

"Take for instance, what they call 'sales.' The Big Things want to make sure their customers, that is the Big Things that buy their products, find the companies the Big Things operate being run by people who make their customers happy."

Great Mother, "Can you explain to us, please?"

"I'll try. These Big Things like to make their customers feel good about them. Unlike us, all the Big Things don't necessarily look the same as each other. Customers are apparently concerned about this and want to make sure the entire population of Big Things of all types has a hand in making the products they buy."

"So, how do they do that?"

"Well, they use companies run by other Big Things they call middle-somethings. We could never quite make out the word."

"Go on."

"Normally the really big companies run by the Big Things buy some of their ingredients from small companies run by other Big Things. They need these products as components for their own bigger products. So, what they do, is make these small companies sell their products to these middle whatevers who then resell them to the really big companies."

The Great Mother interjected, "That seems silly."

"Yes," Silas said, "In one way it does. And these middle things never take possession of the products or do anything to the products. Except in the end, it looks like Big Things that don't look like other Big Things have a hand in making the products. It is all just invoicing." [Note from Fos, Mr. Jim should like this--"spinning the invoice printer."]

Great Mother again, "So, what's the harm?"

"It is dishonest. It makes the final Big Thing customer think they are buying something made by other, different Big Things when it is not. They are paying extra to buy a product they think has value added that really is not added--and it ends up costing them more. Just for the appearance of making the really big company look good."

"Do you think this is widespread?" asks the Great Mother.

"Oh, yes. Yes, indeed."


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