The price of a bag of nuts
Customarily, a bag of peanuts is provided free of charge on an airplane flight. The mere opening of the bag is exciting, for the honey-roasted snack tastes excellent. But not for Cho Hyun-ah, the now resigned vice president of Korean Air Lines (KAL). The Korea JoongAng Daily reported that she apparently lost her temper when she was served macadamia nuts unopened in a bag rather than on a plate or a bowl. She verbally abused the flight attendants for what she claimed were services not in accordance with the KAL customer service manual and ordered the cabin manager to unboard the plane, all of which delayed the flight.
Cho’s actions exposed the chronic problem of chaebol ownership. The outrageous belief that the company as well as its constituents remain the sole property of certain individuals holds little validity. Cho’s senseless actions were based on such a belief. This kind of inappropriate behavior cannot be justified.
Therefore, the underlying concept of the chaebol must be renewed amid this incident. Chaebol are given the responsibility of managing the company in its entirety, not with dogma but with reasonable affirmation and harmony. Chaebol should ultimately be held accountable for any company losses and rightfully praised for any company profits. The sense of responsibility must displace the wrongful claim of privilege.
A bag of nuts caused stupendous national and international uproar. Considering the amount of attention this incident has garnered, moral and lawful punishment remains inevitable. But a much greater focus should be on identifying why such a senseless and unacceptable incident happened in the first place and eradicating the source of the problem.
by Zehoon, Seoul