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Progressively Political 

Letters published March 19, 2008

"How Progressive insurance lost what made it progressive," March 12

Company atmosphere? Overtly aggressive: Progressive beat me into submission. I used to be a free-thinker and contribute ideas and suggestions. Now I lie in the shadows, afraid of making decisions. We have no standard procedures, just a patchwork of contradicting e-mails and counterarguments that muddy the waters. Every decision one makes needs to be carefully planned, so you are able to defend yourself when challenged.

The company is trying to improve the work environment, but it will not progress unless the attitude at the very top changes. I get criticized for things that are out of my control. I must find a way to meet the number or measurement they want. If I don't meet it, I am audited until they find something wrong to make it my fault. I've been with Progressive for 18 years.

— Beaten Down

Drive-by marketing murders the deal: I left this company after working just one year. By far the worst company I've ever worked for. Unrealistic expectations, constantly reinventing the wheel. It seemed there was a new process every third month.

This article is on target about Progressive's marketing — no one at our branch thinks the new commercial with the cashier is good. And when I call policy holders and tell them I'm from Progressive, they tell me they have Drive insurance and immediately think I'm calling from another insurance company. Progressive not only has the worst marketing department, but it also managed to confuse its own customers.


GEICO — They really are Neanderthals: Since all you did was tear into Progressive, how about some feedback from a GEICO employee? The worst part about GEICO is it is not family-friendly. If you are sick, your child is sick, you are on your death bed, you get in a car accident, you break your neck — if you can move at all, you better be at work, no matter what. Otherwise, you are the weakest link. Goodbye. You have to maintain a 98 percent dependability, or they will find a way to not make it worth your while to hang around.


From Ma Bell to Peter B. to arrogant MBAs, he's seen it all: Wow, your article was spot-on. Nice job. I spent 10 years at Progressive after working 31 years at AT&T. I raved about how great it was for the first six years. They respected my opinions and thoughts. I even had a few hallway conversations with Peter B.

Exactly as the article described, Progressive hired a bunch of MBAs who were legends in their own minds. The atmosphere changed from open and creative to frozen by analysis paralysis. Progressive became top-heavy in management, much like AT&T had been.

Fortunately, I was preparing to retire this year. I didn't need to work at a place where it was painful to come to work. So the layoff package worked fine for me. I volunteered. However, my daughter got whacked. That's not so good.

Lew Laird

"Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney returns fire after Chrissie Hynde rips Akron," March 12

Hometown Hero
Chrissie likes London, but Scotland loves Patrick: It's refreshing to see someone being positive about their hometown, especially the drummer of one of the finest bands in the world. Taking time out of a busy touring schedule (including a 1,500 capacity venue in Scotland, which will be packed again for the Black Keys third visit in less than two years) to stand up for Akron is commendable.

Myself and nearly 80,000 other fans on Myspace look forward to the new album and more live shows. Keep up the good work, Patrick.

— Robbie

And now a word from the Hynde end of things: If The Black Keys were any good, the magazine would have called you. Just because your wife writes for Scene and you get your comments in the paper don't mean shit. Your band sucks and Akron is a shithole, just like Cleveland is. Who really gives a fuck what a drummer in a bar band says?

— Eman

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