You've got a dress code at your company. You say it is because of the customer. But is it? Or is it more about your need for control?
Case in point - The kid pictured on the right is wearing a retro Allen Iverson jersey in the Dunn household to celebrate the end of the NBA lockout/strike. Now normally, you know that would never be allowed. We generally don't celebrate anti-authority figures, regardless of race, gender or religion. No Courtney Love t-shirts. No John Rocker throwbacks.
Charles Pierce would beg to differ. He'd tell you dress codes are meant to exert control, just like lockouts of unions are designed to show labor who the boss is. More from Grantland:
"And the third and most important reason why you know that the lockout was not really about economics is that there was a lockout at all. Lockouts occur when management believes that unions are too strong, and they occur when management believes that unions are too weak, and they occur when management doesn't want a union to exist at all. Lockouts are not devices of economic correction. That's just a byproduct. Lockouts are attempts by management to exercise control over their workers. Period.
Control always has been important to David Stern. For example, in the past, he's sought to maintain control over both Allen Iverson's rap lyrics and over what the citizens of Seattle ought to do with their tax dollars. In 2005, following proudly in the footsteps of generations of American nuns, Stern instituted a "dress code" for his players so that the various corporate wolverines in the VIP seats wouldn't think that Yo! MTV Raps had broken out in the lower bowl. And, no, you don't exactly need the Enigma machine to decode what that was all about.
No detail is too insignificant. Nothing is so small it cannot be monitored. Last season, the NBA — which is to say David Stern — came down with a rule that states, and we are not making this up, that headbands cannot be worn upside down or inside out. This nonsense got on the last nerve of Boston point guard Rajon Rondo who, rather than abide by official foolishness, ditched his trademark headband entirely. Not even Roger Goodell, the most anal of anal-compulsive commissioners, ever came up with anything this petty and stupid.
The lockout was nothing more than the headband rule writ large. It was an attempt to demonstrate who was in charge here. Stern saw the "perception" building that his players were less "dedicated to the game" than they were to their various "outside activities," and that the hired help was "out of control." The NBA's kept press had been harping on this loudly ever since LeBron James took his talents, and his disappearing act in big games, to South Beach. And, again, you don't need a microscope to read between the lines there."
Back to the Iverson jersey. How did it get in the house to begin with? He's labor, I'm management. What's up?
First up, it's a sweet retro version of the Iverson jersey, in the style of the 76ers when Darrel Dawkins and World B. Free were roaming the sidelines. Stars on the side. Stitched. Very Nice.
Secondly, it came home for $10 from the consignment store. Nice style and I started thinking about what Iverson stood for when I saw it. Played hard every night (games only). Took a beating. Durable. Willed a bad team to the finals.
The jersey stayed. I gave up some control, but I've got my eye on the behavior. If he ever says, "We're talking about practice, man", I'll burn it in a heartbeat.