January 2010

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Geez, has it been that long since I’ve posted? I am going to have trouble renewing my blog license.

You know how they always have stories about lost American productivity due to some activity at work? Like, “$300 million in productivity is lost every year in corporate America due to fantasy football.” (Just to make up a figure.) I hate those bullshit statistics. They never seem to take into account that every office has a certain amount of goofing off. And this type of goofing off is acceptable and human. How much productivity is lost every year due to people chatting about American Idol or Lost or 24? Or gossiping about so-and-so in sales? Or daydreaming? (Answer to all these: a lot.) The “lost productivity” statistics seem to assume that if not for activity x, the person would be working. It is more likely that if not for activity x, the person would be engaging in activity y — still not working.

You want to talk about wasted time? I’ll give you an example of wasted time. You know when you watch a DVD and you start it up and the screen that says, “The comments in the commentaries on this DVD are not necessarily the opinion of ACME Entertainment Company.” And then the message is repeated in French. (Stupid French, but that’s another story.) Did someone sue some movie studio based on a comment made in the commentaries? Is that why we are subjected to this? Thanks asshat. Or were these preemptive moves by some studio lawyer? Thanks asshat. More candidates for banishment to the Island of Asshats.

Then there’s also the Interpol warning in English and French about how copying is illegal. I’m sure that has stopped many movie pirates in their tracks! The clincher is that you usually you CANNOT fast forward through all these idiotic warnings.

Let’s say the average person watches 50 movies and TV episodes per year on DVD. (I watch more but let’s go with the average.) Let’s say the warnings in English and French (two each) last ten seconds. So I spend 500 seconds of my life every year watching these warnings. That’s eight minutes. There are about 300 million people in the U.S. and we all watch DVDs, or almost all of us. Let’s say only 200 million people watch at least 50 movies and TV episodes per year on DVD. If my calculations are correct, that means we as a nation spend at least 27 million hours per year watching those warnings.

Forget about lost productivity, how about lost personal time? Think of all we could accomplish with those lost 27 million hours. Ten seconds at a time, we can change the world.