This is your face. This is how corporations treat you. This is what we’ve let America become

Click to watch video

Look carefully at this face. Because it’s yours.  This is the face of American consumers today.  Only this time, it was caught on camera.

If you doubt America is run by corporations, at the EXPENSE of the people, I hope this video serves as your wake-up call.

There are almost too many things wrong with today’s United Airlines passenger removal controversy to mention. But let’s start here. A consumer buys something. The corporation knowingly, oversells so it can’t fulfill it’s end of the bargain. The two sides have an argument.

Then the corporation gets to call POLICE, who forcibly drag the consumer away.

You already know that corporations have most of the cards in contract law. They can make you sign away your rights to sue.  They force you into one-side contracts of adhnsion, and can change the terms at any time (you can’t). They charge made-up excessive fees and make you figure out how to get your money back (after staying on hold interminably).

But now, you know, when there’s a dispute, cops are basically an arm of the corporation. Law enforcement can literally come in a drag you away,  merely because – in this case — the airline said so.

Just for a thought experiment, think about what would happen if that consumer called and asked that the pilot, or a flight attendant, be dragged off the plane for not keeping his or her side of the contract?

Don’t imagine this is a one-off, ladies and gentleman.  We all know this is how things work. We’ve all been on overbooked airplanes when there was a shortage of volunteers and wondered what the end game would be?  But…somewhere deep inside…you knew this was the end game. Someone could be forcibly removed from the airplane.  Even if that threat isn’t spoken, it’s always implied. And, as a result, people are coerced into doing things they don’t want to do. Oh sure, the “volunteer” compensation is often raised a time or two, and that usually works. But in reality, the bargaining is tainted by this real threat.

Here’s another example of how this can play out, according to a many-miles flier I know.

“I’ve been in this situation before…no one would volunteer so they kept raising the value of the offer.  They raised the offer to $1,000 and finally a couple of people agreed. Just before the people agreed the gate attendant, as he was getting angry, like he was speaking to a high school class, said that if people didn’t volunteer soon that they would empty the plane and let people back on one-by-one according to priority.”

There may very well be more to this United story.  If there were mitigating factor – like the passenger was unruly — you’d think we’d know by now. United has said on Twitter: “Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked. After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate.”

This morning, CEO Oscar Munoz had a softer tone when he told CNBC: “This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United.” On the other hand, the airline’s former CEO called the passenger “immature.”  Pick which one you believe is the airline’s real attitude.

No matter.  You just saw, with your own eyes, a man who paid for a seat on a plane get dragged out on his behind as others watched on.  Powerless.

America: Of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations.

Citizens: It’s time to put down the cell phones, stop taking the videos, and do something.  We don’t live in a police state; we live in a corportist state.

And, in case you were wondering, United stock was up 1 percent in mid-day trading on Monday.

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About Bob Sullivan 1399 Articles
BOB SULLIVAN is a veteran journalist and the author of four books, including the 2008 New York Times Best-Seller, Gotcha Capitalism, and the 2010 New York Times Best Seller, Stop Getting Ripped Off! His latest, The Plateau Effect, was published in 2013, and as a paperback, called Getting Unstuck in 2014. He has won the Society of Professional Journalists prestigious Public Service award, a Peabody award, and The Consumer Federation of America Betty Furness award, and been given Consumer Action’s Consumer Excellence Award.


  1. You are absolutely right and when big corporations start using the police force to enact its will we are heading down a slippery slope to when the president calls out the army because some protesters have made him angry. I was going to say make him mad, but it is obvious that the POTUS is already mad.

  2. Thank you, Bob.
    I don’t have the words –
    But you did a great job of summarizing.

    Let this be our wake up call.

    We can start with a boycott of United,
    and going forward, verbalize loudly and non-stop (no pun intended) when we witness instances of predatory capitalism.

  3. People are going to have to band together in ways that they never envisioned. When something like this happens, everyone on that plane should realize that it can happen to them and literally fight Back. If they use words we use words, but if they use force, we respond in kind. Then and only then will we realize the true power that we have. But acting like sheep… Being glad that it didn’t happen to us… Makes us all vulnerable in the long run

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  1. United Airlines incident a breaking point, or just another viral video? My Q&A with a leading passenger advocate –

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