The Ford Motor Company's Website describes Ford's philosophy on how the American worker could also be the American customer:
"Henry Ford had reasoned that since it was now possible to build inexpensive cars in volume, more of them could be sold if employees could afford to buy them. The $5 day helped better the lot of all American workers and contributed to the emergence of the American middle class. In the process, Henry Ford had changed manufacturing forever." (J.E. Taylor, 2003)
Ford had figured out that by paying his factory workers a high wage, and producing more cars in less time for less money, that everyone would have enough money to buy a Ford motor car. Ford was strongly criticized by Wall Street for initiating a 40 hour work week and a fair minimum wage. He soon proved, however, that paying high wages would enable Ford employees to afford the very cars they were producing, and ultimately benefit worker, company, state and country.
Allow me to now suggest one other place where Ford's philosophy seems to have been applied - that affected me as a former 'worker bee' for Jehovah's Witnesses, when I was in my teens and early twenties:
Jehovah's Witnesses are best known for their door-to-door preaching work where they talk to you a little, and end by asking you to read their literature. From what I have read, they now no longer tell you how much the literature costs (in a ploy to avoid having to pay sales taxes), but offer them for any small contribution you would be willing to donate, and if you cannot afford to contribute to the cost of their printing, the Witness has been told to give them to you for free.
When I was knocking on your doors, we charged 10 cents per magazine and one dollar for a small hard-covered book. Not a lot of money. But what I have only recently realized is that The Watchtower, Bible and Tract Society, the official, administrative printing wing of the Jehovah's Witnesses, did not care if we collected any of the money we were to charge in the door-to-door 'ministry', since they had already received all the money they wanted FROM US. We were never told to turn over the money given to us for the literature to the Watchtower Society. Yes the real customers of this mega printing operation were/are the Jehovah's Witnesses themselves.
At weekly meetings we would replenish our personal stock of magazines and books before going out in your neighborhood to try and convert you. We paid about 1/3 of what we charged the person at the door - so about 3 cents for a magazine we were told to charge 10 cents for to the interested party. The seven cents profit we would make did not enrich any of us, as we had to pay for our gas to get to your area and were never paid a cent for the time we devoted to going door-to-door, and, truth be told, very few of you were interested in purchasing them anyway. Every week we had magazines left over in our bags (that we had purchased at the Kingdom Hall) that we had not been able to convince you to buy.
These patterns of distributing their literature were established in the 1920s/1930s - about the same time as Ford published his philosophy of making the workers the customer. So the canny directors of the Watchtower Society seem to have adopted Ford's genius principle and expanded upon it. The real customers for those magazines were Jehovah's Witnesses themselves, not the people they disturbed in their door to door ministry. Not only were we the true customer, we were recruited to offer our time and energy at no charge to produce the literature.
(Above you see a picture of one of the first presidents of the organization setting off for a convention in Detroit in his chauffeur driven Cadillac. Sorry Henry, they used your ideas but not your cars.)
In fact, we were always told that if we could not sell the magazines (they actually always used the word 'place' the magazines, so we could avoid thinking of ourselves as peddlers and continue to fool ourselves thinking we were servants of the true god, Jehovah), we should give them away once the next issue had emerged. The leaders of the Society also suggested we leave them in waiting rooms and bus stations so the 'multitudes could read about the good news of God's kingdom'. They did not care if they were given away, as they had already made their money on the magazines when we little worker bees paid for them at the Kingdom Hall (what Witnesses call their churches).
With this method, The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society developed an international printing business with branches and huge printing plants in many countries around the world. The headquarters, at that time, was in Brooklyn, New York where their printing operation and residences for all the volunteer workers took up several blocks of real estate. This real estate has since appreciated greatly and is worth multi-millions. All the full-time workers in these printing plants were volunteers, who received free room and board at the site of the printing plant - believing that this work of producing magazines was God's work. More than 340 Jehovah’s Witnesses, all volunteers, work at the new Watchtower Bible and Tract Society’s Wallkill, N.Y., printing conglomerate, with over 1,000 volunteers in its 18 printing facilities worldwide. Below is an old photograph of many of the volunteer resident workers at the Brooklyn headquarters with heads bowed for the prayer before their meal. After the meal they went off to work, for free, in the offices and printing plant. These Witnesses felt honored to be able to serve their god in this way.
In fact, I have since learned that when sales of the magazines seem to slump, the Witness top brass would come up with a fast-approaching date for the end of times - to add to the urgency - and the devoted worker bees would work even harder and bring the sales back up.
* All our production and preaching services were given freely.
* We were given quotas of how many hours we should spend each week in the preaching work. If we did not meet those quotas we were 'counselled' by the elders in the congregation. Knowing we would spend several hours each week going door-to-door we had to be prepared by having purchased several copies of the magazines and books in order to offer them to you - the supposed 'customer'.
* Their supposed dates for the Battle of Armageddon were always changing to lend urgency to the work we thought we were doing.
* The Watchtower, Bible and Tract Society became a multi-national printing company (while claiming it was a religion) by this means.
It irks me to see Witnesses going from door to door with the literature they have paid for - knowing that they believe the person at the door is The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society's customer, when in fact it is them! The work they are doing is ultimately for naught. They are being misled, used and scammed. So sad.