Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The Library Story

Occasionally, I will notice a story, which simply will not make national press, under any reason.  Today is one of those days....the public library in Detroit, Michigan.....got raided today by the FBI.

Now, you'd sit there and say why?  Well....the FBI is always quiet about things like this.  But the news folks say that the library's financial records are key to this investigation, and they are seriously looking at the chief administrative officer, Tim Cromer.

The speculation is....that Tim was handling millions of dollars in contracts, and issued these contracts without any real bid process (or it's suggested that no bidding was the norm).  Frankly, if the FBI finds that is the case.....it'll be a quick search warrant deal for all of the people that got the contracts and their financial records will be dragged out.

The curious thing here...it's probably the first time in American history, that the FBI did a raid on a public library.  The ten FBI folks probably got all the way to the front desk....where some gal stopped them and asked if they had a library card.  They probably flashed a badge or two....and got past that gal.

What you typically look for here?  Well....you look at Tim's salary, and then Tim's lifestyle.  If Tim makes $90k a year, and has two or three new vehicles....vacations in the Bahamas twice a year....and drinks expensive wines, then Tim might have additional income that he doesn't report to the IRS.  I'm guessing the FBI will go over Tim's life and ask some blunt questions.

The comical side to this story?  Well....the library had this great $3.5 million contract with Cubemation.  The Cubemation folks are this fancy IT company, which advertises itself as "thinking outside of the box".   The $3.5 million contract?  Based on most comments....it was never open-bidded.  It was awarded without much discussion.

What did Cubemation deliver?  No one much can define that part.  I spent about an hour looking at this contract vehicle. What the library did do.....was go and buy a number of $1k fancy stainless steel garbage cans for the main library.  While the library budget was being pressed to cut....they spent thousands on $1k chairs for one wing of the main library.  On the looks category....it's a five-star library, I will admit that part.  Was this the advice given by Cubemation?  You don't know....and no one in the city government can attest to much of anything over the contract.

My Black Friday Strategy

Basically, I don't shop on black Friday, period.  I think the last time that I actually went out and shopped was around 2002 at the Ramstein BX.  I've attempted it at various US locations prior to that, but frankly, my patience with the mobs you encounter is zero.

I don't see how people endear the mess.  By 9AM, the parking lots are virtually full.  You'd have to battle two thousand people to get into a JC Pennys, or Sears.  For the electronics shops....it's the same way.

So I just don't do any black Friday shopping.

My suspicion is that as you grow older, the less happy you are with the crowds and how you'd prefer to just sit and watch clouds float around the sky.

The funny thing about this business is that I can remember when Friday didn't amount to anything.  I can go back to Thanksgiving of 1976....my last Thanksgiving at home as a kid.  You got Friday off, but there weren't any big sales for the day.  I suspect somewhere between 1976 and the mid-90's this just started to occur and no one questioned the wisdom of this.  For most big stores, this is the single most important day of the year.  The funny thing....in 1976, it just wasn't that important.