A part that reveals the whole
I answered an ad for a "Lead Customer Relations Representative" for a local real estate-home builder-mortgage brokering operation named Veridian Homes. I applied for the job and went to a home buyer's seminar to get a feel for what the company was about. One of the first people I ran into was this guy. I knew right away I wasn't going to work for Veridian Homes.
I stuck around for the snacks, and then the presentation, which was an entry into an alternate reality. The false smiles and forced upbeatness about the business put me on guard, but I sensed something else. There was an uneasiness, a hint of fear in the fake cheerfulness. The strange atmosphere wasn't enough to keep me awake, though, and I dozed off several times during the series of sales pitches.
I got an email the next day telling me I was no longer under consideration for the position, much to my relief. I would rather be rejected than do the rejecting - just a matter of politeness. I also didn't want to go any farther in the interviewing process, which would be a waste of time. The job would have entailed "up to 55 hours a week" as a salaried employee. I could just see myself traipsing around town showing people houses and doing all the other "customer care" tasks the job entailed.
A few days later I got a packet in the mail, including a certificate, no less, for a garage door opener if I would only buy a house before April 30. This seemed too bizarre to be true, but true it is. I can just picture the hordes of doubtful home buyers, wary about whether to buy a Veridian home, but a free garage door opener! Where do I sign?
Then the other night on News Hour I watched a segment that made the Gestalt complete. The subject of the segment was how high-risk mortgage foreclosures are likely to rise. The types of high-risk loans described sounded curiously similar to the Veridian 2/1 Buydown Program - a low interest rate the first year, a higher one the second year, and a higher fixed rate for the rest of the loan period.
All of this in a collapsing real estate market. No wonder there was such an air of uneasiness. A vertically integrated real estate business like Veridian would seem to make the home buying process easier, more seamless, and less expensive, but in an unhealthy market, it bears all the risk. As builder, real estate agency, and mortgage broker (they have a "cooperating" broker), three businesses in one lose in a tight market.
Which could be a long way of saying that I'm glad I don't meet Veridian's qualifications. More pertinent for society in general is that this is the nature of the business world in which we live. It's more fakery than anything else - businesses either producing shoddy, environmentally damaging products that are dangerous to health, providing jobs that are exploitative and oppressive, or depend on phony enticements and manipulation in order to sell their products. With a nation of people internalizing such occupations, it should be no surprise that we end up with a criminal gang occupying the White House.
After this descent into darkness, a little fun is called for. Click here. Then click here for another great song.
To read a little more about Veridian, click here.