Yesterday, it was reported that AIG had yet another event planned at a high-end location, even as the company takes heat for spending $440,000 on a luxury junket for certain employees. But this one didn’t seem so ridiculous to us — 150 independant sales people were to have gathered at the Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay, CA for some “motivation” and “education”. That event, says CNBC, has now been cancelled, no doubt to avoid outside castigation. Consider, likely next President Barack Obama called on those involved with the first trip to be fired, during the debate — it’s no wonder they’re trying so hard to avoid any ill appearances.
But here’s the problem: For AIG to be a thriving concern, it has to be able to hold events at places that might just be more expensive than the local Motel 8. It can’t take ridicule everytime it holds a luncheon and orders something nicer than Yummy Taco or Ray’s Original. Otherwise, you might as well just pull the plug on it now, and spare us the unending rain of cash infusions.
And of course, this is all small potatoes compared to the inevitable gales of outrage the next time a bank awards substantial bonuses at the end of the year. Those provoke anger even in normal times; think how they’ll go over in the media now. Something’s gotta give.
As an aside: We’ve been to the Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay. It’s very nice. They have a guy who plays Amazing Grace on the bagpipes each night as ths sun sets into the Pacific Ocean, which is goosebump-inducing. Oh, and they have a fire pit where you can make s’mores. Our sympathies to the AIG salesman who’ll have to miss this trip.