1901: The SS Performance Fleet


"Captain, the crew and I are ready for something new."

"I'll make the decisions around here admiral, we'll change course when I say."

"No captain, that's not what I meant. We're tired of sailing. We want to do something else."

"The Old Navy has been sailing for over 200 years. Our fathers protected this port from the British, and their father's protected it from the Indians and their canoes. That's why we must remain vigilant now and protect it from the Germans."

"The port can protect itself, their new 37-mm guns far outweigh any of our offensive capabilities."

"That's preposterous. I'll hear nothing more of this nonsense."

"Then this is a mutiny."

"What, what?"

"Mutiny."

"Fine then lads, I see that you've made up your minds, but just what do you plan to do with yourselves now that you're finished sailing?"

"We're going to open a haberdashery."

"Garmentry? Why, that's poppycock."

"It's not poppycock. Admiral Williams has an excellent business plan. We're going to market short pants with large pockets to the well to do. We'll sell them for the price of peasant rags."

"Impossible, now get back to work."

"It's not impossible, in fact, it's ingenious. First Mate Milobinder has been in talks with the Chinese–"

"The Chinese? Will these silly little slacks of yours be stitched with gold?"

"No sir, actually our original assumptions about the Chinese were way off. They're not very wealthy at all. Milobinder has arranged for them to conglomerate several hundred of their haberdashers into one large factory. They'll produce the clothes and send them to us for very meager wages."

"This was not spontaneous at all. You lads have been working on this for a long time."

"Yes sir. And after we receive the clothes, we'll send them to our stores all around the country on the steam trains. Everyone will be able to buy our garments."

"This is a very brilliant plan, but what makes you think people will continue to buy your clothes. Isn't one pair of slacks enough?"

"We'll be altering our garments very slightly every year. That way people will purchase a new pair and throw out their old ones at risk of looking like a ragamuffin. Williams calls the concept 'planned obsolescence.'"

"Well I can see that there's no place left here for a tired old seaman. I'll be on my way. Don't worry about me, I'm an excellent swimmer. Good day."

"Farewell."