Corporate BS

Recently, anti-virus software maker McAfee agreed to be bought by microprocessing hardware maker Intel. Following this news, McAfee sent an incredibly content-less email to customers, describing how this partnership was going to improve network security, cure cancer, and help us attain world peace so that beauty pageant contestants will finally be satisfied. If you recently murdered a puppy or something, you can punish yourself by reading the email in its entirety. Most people won’t get past the third paragraph, and I don’t think I’ve yet managed to finish the whole thing, so nobody spoil the ending for me.

McAfee’s email got me recognizing a pattern of bullshit communiques from various corporations, and I found a couple worth sharing. First, American Express recently emailed to let me know that they don’t use the words “today” or “tomorrow” in a literal sense:

American Express and social media

Apparently, American Express wants to connect with cardmembers on Facebook and Twitter. Meanwhile, cardmembers want a serious credit card company, one which doesn’t try to connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Second is a letter from part of the healthcare industry, so you know it’s going to be good. Or bad. Whichever.

Earlier this year, the state of Massachusetts was negotiating with my HMO, who wanted to raise insurance rates. For a couple of months, a state-mandated reduced rate was temporarily charged, which seems like a nice “screw you” for them trying to jack up the prices. Ultimately, however, a compromise was reached and prices are now up 6.4% from last year. The spin for this?

  • We know the uncertainty over rates has made it hard for you to plan and budget. Although rates are now going up, we now have certainty regarding rates for the remainder of your plan year.

Ah, yes. Thanks so much for pointing out that silver lining. I have to go collect change by the highway off-ramp so I can pay my bills now, but I’ll take with me that good “certainty” feeling.

Update (September 3rd, 2010): Shortly after posting this, I checked my mail, and found that I’d received a second identical copy of the letter from the HMO. So in addition to corporate BS, they’ve got lousy bureaucracy too.