Carnes: Katz accepting blame a positive risk
If I didn’t know better, I would bet good money that a poll taken locally concerning who is more loathed today — ImPotus or Rob Katz — would result in a statistical tie.
Good thing I know better.
Both are at the top position in their respective industry and both claim to care about those they represent, but that is where the similarities end.
One is less than a month away from ending a narcissistic reign of terror on democracy while the other is, in all likelihood, years away from ending his reign of control over stock dividends.
One only cares about those who heap praise upon him while the other cares for employees, guests and stockholders (but not necessarily in that order).
One consistently blames anyone and anything other than himself for everything that goes wrong, while just last week the other pulled a “the buck stops here” routine and accepted blame for a company-wide debacle.
This is the main difference between loathing and simply being angry at a leader because of unique and unforeseen circumstances, like say, a pandemic.
The personal attacks on the Vail Resorts leader are to be expected, and in many cases, such as the uprooting of hundreds to Broomfield, the firing of local photo stud Jack Affleck after 26 years of loyalty, and dumping most of the humans in the Human Resources Department, are well-deserved.
However, everything connected with the pandemic is uncharted territory, and from being forced to close the mountain last March to this silly reservation system, our corporate overlords are making it up as they go.
Sometimes you take a chance and things work and sometimes they don’t.
Right now they are not.
But make no mistake, Katz’s approach to dealing with the pandemic is no more based upon altruism for locals than over 50 national election lawsuits were based upon fundamental democratic principles.
As a for-profit business, Vail Resorts has done more for this valley than any other single organization, and though spreading the risk around the entire planet helps, no policy decisions excludes its leaders from the curse of poor planning, which has certainly happened in 2020.
Yet from the old Merchant Passes to the Epic Pass, Vail Resorts always had announced blackout days, and more often than not those dates have been waived to the great appreciation of locals and passholders.
I’d wager last weekend was an anomaly (hopefully).
The reservation system, on the other hand, has been a loser from day one. From the mishandling of last season’s credits to unanswered phones to being on hold for hours and hung up on right when you get to the front of the queue to having confirmed reservations canceled at the last minute, the entire system is being considered a massive failure by many.
This kind of “customer service” could become an oxymoron like “negative income” (something VR is familiar with at the moment) or “empathetic Trumplican” if they are not careful, but at least Katz is owning it.
While I’m not suggesting you run up and give him a kiss on the cheek, I am saying he doesn’t deserve to be vilified to the same degree as ImPotus.
For the record, this is my fourth decade around here and I’ve never worked a nanosecond for VR, yet the company gave me a free Chevy Blazer (a ski race story from 1986) and I have a lifetime ski pass (another story, but my wife deserves all the credit), so it’s not like I’m brown-nosing for perks here.
But of course, now that reservations are almost completely booked through the holidays, if the state shuts us down again, all bets are off.
Richard Carnes, of Avon, writes weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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