Fun_People Archive
14 Apr
Sleeping -NOT- in Seattle

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Mon, 14 Apr 97 12:56:52 -0700
To: Fun_People
Subject: Sleeping -NOT- in Seattle

Forwarded-by: "Matthew T. Kleinosky" <>
From: Kirk J. Bloede <>

Apparently, someone at Microsoft has a sense of humor...

If you run Microsoft Word 6.0 or 7.0, type "zzzz" in a document.  Run
the spell checker.  You will be surprised at the suggestion that the
dictionary provides as the correct spelling.

It does not work for "zzz" or "zzzzz".

Tuesday April 1, 1997 in the op/ed section.  (This is not an April Fools
joke).  Please forward this, send it to stores that sell Nike products, put
it on bulletin boards, and think about it before you buy your next pair of
athletic shoes


New York -- More than 90 percent of the Nike workers in Vietnam are girls
or young women, age 15 to 28.  Hunger follows many of them like a shadow.
They work full time, making the fabulous footwear that brings Nike billions,
but they arent paid enough to eat properly, or even regularly.  Workers
interviewed by Thuygen Nguyen, an American businessman who studied
conditions in factories that make Nike shoes in Vietnam, said it is a matter
of "simple math." A meal consisting of rice, a few mouthfuls of a vegetable
and maybe some tofu costs the equivalent of 70 cents.  Three similarly
meager meals a day would cost $2.10.  But the workers make only $1.60 a day.
And, as Mr. Nguyen points out, they have other expenses.  Renting a room
costs at least $6 a month.  Clothing has to be purchased.  And every now
and then the workers have to buy a bar of soap and some toothpaste.  To
stretch the paycheck, something has to be sacrificed.  Despite the
persistent hunger, its usually food. Mr. Nguyens report, released last week,
said:  "Thirty-two out of 35 workers we interviewed told us they had lost
weight since working at Nike factories.  All reported not feeling good
generally since working at the factories.  They complained of frequent
headaches as well as general fatigue." The idea that factory workers dont
make enough to eat properly is hardly a matter of concern to Nike.  The
company set up shop in Vietnam precisely because the wages are so low.  If
the workers become woozy from hunger, thats their problem.  The beauty of
the Nike formula is that the cost of the labor to make the product is next
to nothing and the price at which the product sells is astonishingly high.
Thats how the athletes-pitchmen Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods get to make
their Nike millions, and Phil Knight, the shrewd and combative Nike
chairman, his billions. They thrive on the empty stomachs and other
hardships of young women overseas. The women often are treated little better
than slaves.  Mr. Nguyen said the factories are like "military boot camps"
in which workers are subjected to various forms of humiliation and corporal
punishment. Even breaks for water and visits to the bathroom are rigidly
controlled. One bathroom break per eight-hour shift is allowed, and two
drinks of water. Thats the maximum.  Sometimes, on assembly lines that can
range from 78 to 300 workers, even fewer breaks are allowed. Discomfort
becomes a way of life.  A worker can be hungry, thirsty and driven almost
mad with the need to go to the bathroom, but she has to keep working on
those shoes. Mr. Nguyen said he believes corporal punishment is widespread.
He cited several instances: supervisors hitting women over the head for poor
workmanship. Workers forced to kneel with their hands in the air for up to
25 minutes. Workers having their mouths taped for talking. Workers being
"sundried" -- forced to stand in the hot sun for extended periods while
writing their mistakes again and again, like schoolchildren. There were also
cases, said Mr. Nguyen, in which women were molested by supervisors. The
factories that make Nike products are by no means the only offenders, in
Vietnam or elsewhere.  There is no reason to believe that Nike factories
are the worst offenders.  But Nike has raised the exploitation of
poverty-stricken foreign workers to a fine and spectacularly remunerative
art.  Nike is the company with the advertising campaigns that are so slick,
so hip and so compelling that consumers feel that, whatever the price, they
must wear the product. The company is so widely recognized it doesnt even
have to put its name in its advertising.  Its ubiquitous symbol, the swoosh,
is identification enough. Because the company is so high-profile, so
successful, so admired and envied, it has become, like the swoosh, a symbol.
Its the ugly multinational, buying and selling people almost at will.  Nike
is paying Tiger Woods a fortune, but it has also slapped its swoosh on his
head, and Tiger dare not take off that cap. Nike is important because it
epitomizes the triumph of monetary values over all others, and the
corresponding devaluation of those peculiar interests and values we once
thought of as human. (The New York Times.)

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