ANGRY INVESTORS CALL FOR INQUIRY
INTO DAILY RANT'S BLOGGING M.O.
FIRM: STAFF DOES NOT WEAR PAJAMAS AT WORK
"They're smoking jackets," insists CEO
By HARRIS SCHWED
HAMILTON, Bermuda -- The head of Benjamin Kepple's Daily Rant Inc. (OTC:BJKNH), an Internet content provider based here, sharply denied rumors that staff at the firm wore pajamas to work.
Such comments were beneath contempt, chief executive Benjamin Kepple told reporters at a hastily assembled news conference, called to reassure investors of the embattled company. The Rant is already facing questions over its executive-compensation scheme, as well as talk the firm would outsource its Statistical Analysis and Information Technology divisions. Yesterday, Kepple dismissed such ideas.
"For the last time, we are not offshoring either the Statistical Analysis or Information Technology divisions. These are critical departments which require personnel to be kept in North America," Kepple said yesterday. "Also, while we're at it, who the hell came up with this pajamas talk? We're professionals here. We do not blog in our pajamas, nor do any of our staff. There. Are you happy now?"
Rumors of pajama-wearing staff were recently brought into the public domain after a television commentator charged that myriad bloggers were working while pajama-clad. Yesterday, Kepple said that if he ever found the person responsible for starting the rumor vis-a-vis the Rant, grave and immediate measures would be taken.
"We can assure our parent firm, our investors, fellow employees and all those who depend on quality Rant content that no employee is permitted to wear pajamas while on the job. This is a clear violation of the dress policy, which expressly forbids pajamas, flip-flops, beach attire, and T-shirts with particularly stupid slogans on them," Kepple said.
"It is true that executives over the level of senior vice president are permitted to wear smoking jackets when they meet the following conditions: they are working late, they are not meeting with clients, and they have a serious nicotine craving," Kepple continued. "However, this is a very rare occurence, and merely a perquisite related to the long hours our leadership team works. Besides, they're nice smoking jackets. Monochrome. None of the horrible Seventies-era pattern wear you might expect."
"By the way, we'd like to mention that traffic to the Rant is at record levels and product quality remains high as always," Kepple added.
Kepple was joined at the news conference by human resources manager Carter Sandusky, as well as Quinn Quimbley, vice president of marketing. Both men joined Kepple in strongly denying the existence of pajama-wearing staff.
While the news conference soothed some fears, many investors described the rumors as the straw which broke the camel's back.
"I bought BJKNH when it was trading at $3 per share, with the righteous and clear conviction that I would make a quick profit flipping it," charged Harris Oust, a pensioner from Shrapnel Creek, Ala. "Then this pajama story broke. Bang. Not only was I underwater, my stupid broker made a margin call and sold it out from under me."
"You're damn right I'm angry," snarled Oust, who lost "somewhere in the three figures" when the pajama story broke. "I don't trust them."
However, employees with the firm -- which also has offices in Manchester, N.H., the Cayman Islands, and Bangalore, India -- confirmed that no rank-and-file workers wore pajamas while at the office.
"Do we look like we work for Google?" asked one engineer, who asked to remain unidentified. "My God. They barely pay us enough to cover our own expenses, much less spend money on smoking jackets. That's a perk for the suits only."Posted by Benjamin Kepple at September 13, 2004 11:51 PM | TrackBack