From the fabricator: What a miserable week
I am starting off with a non-industry topic this week because it really shook me up. It is the insanely depressing video of a 68-year-old bus monitor being verbally abused by the middle school-aged kids on her bus. The whole entire scene was hard to watch and stomach. Quite frankly, it scares me as a father and worries me that my children are headed into a world with these kids as their “peers.” Meanwhile, the video has gone viral, and many people are stepping up to show appreciation for the woman who took this abuse. But it has also brought out even more crazies sending death threats to anyone associated with the school. So this thing continues to mushroom, and I guess we know where these kids get it.
But back to the original sin here: the vulgar treatment of the bus monitor, who by the way has been a picture of class and grace in the days following. Those kids are the future, and at 12+ years old they are way off the right path. This wasn’t some “kids being kids” sort of approach in my mind. This was off the charts. The respect level is non-existent, and that is a core value that is gone. This is lax parenting and too much of the negative ills in our society showing in full bloom. These children are the same age as my kids, and I would be devastated and mortified if my kids would take part in this. I would hope my wife and I have taught and raised them better. We can only hope that with this going on all over the world right now that a lesson can be learned.
- If the above wasn’t depressing enough, last week in the glass and glazing world surely was. The latest Architecture Billings Index came out, and it was horrible. But worse than the numbers was the comment from Kermit Baker, AIA's chief economist: "For the second year in a row, we're seeing declines in springtime design activity after a healthy first quarter," he said. "This should be an alarm bell going off for the design and construction industry. ... The commercial/industrial sector is the only one recording gains in design activity at present. And even this sector has slowed significantly. Construction forecasters will have to reassess what conditions will look like moving forward.” That quote is worrisome, especially the end. I don’t think these construction forecasters have a clue really. Sometimes, I think they create these numbers from thin air to give me something to blog about. Anyway, we’ll see how this progresses. The first milestones to really watch are next spring. That is the stretch where the ABI was connected to when it ran positive for several months.
- What else was bad this week? The other tracking measurement we use, the new Dodge Momentum Index, came down as well, off 1.2 percent from April. The latest construction material and construction employment reports both went down as well. Oh, and while we’re lamenting the week, it ends with a report that we are now at the lowest rate of homeownership in 15 years.
- And while we are at it, China warned that it was running out of its rare earth materials, a scary announcement for our glass and mirror makers, especially since I think that it’s a way for the Chinese government to revitalize its economy by limiting supply and thus raising prices. (Did I just write a sentence that said the Chinese government would promote higher prices? What is happening to me? I have no issue at all with raising prices, I do take issues with artificial shortages.) So while I seriously doubt they are running out, this “news” has the potential to disrupt our world while the posturing goes on.
- And lets grab some salt for the wounds. We also had another glazier go bankrupt, and it won’t be the last, unfortunately. And speaking of bankruptcy, we just passed the year anniversary of Vitro America’s bankruptcy sale finalization. There’s surely a lot to say on that one, but I’ll refrain other than to say it sure has been an interesting 12 months. Hopefully, next week gets better.
- Last this week, congrats to my good friend Manny and all of the Miami Heat fans. (And for some who hate LeBron and the Heat this could be considered part of the “bad week” mentioned above!)
The author is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. E-mail him at MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.com.
The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.