Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Week Thirty-Five: The holidays

I'm sad to tell you that I can't help but be extraordinarily pleased that the holiday season is over with. It isn't the songs, or the gifts, or the holidays themselves. What makes me dread, and nearly loathe the holidays is the consumers. An odd enough statement, but entirely true.

I wasn't certain if I wanted to write this blog, to tell the truth, considering part of what I'm going to be discussing here is my job, and that can be a dangerous thing. But I feel it to be a necessity, to talk about this, and to talk about it quite seriously.

It's possible that the readers may have worked in retail or fast food before. If you have, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't you are a very lucky person. The holidays in fast food, and likely retail, are days to dread, not to celebrate. They are days where, instead of spending time with your family, people are forced to work, with compensation that is dubious at best. Money, after all, does not solve everything. It in fact solves very little.

Unfortunately, money is the only compensation offered to people who give up holidays in order to work, in order to serve the privileged few that have never worked fast food or retail.

Why do I call them privileged? I call them privileged because someone who has been forced to work on a holiday will know how it feels to be made to work on those days. It isn't a good feeling. It's the type of feeling that makes you sad at heart. Even those without family nearby ought to give these days of celebration off, so they too can celebrate! Instead, heartless men and women come in.

Worse, it is a time when all businesses are shorthanded. When all companies don't have enough people for the constant rush. On Christmas Eve, we had a rush at the last minute. We were short handed, as usual during the holiday season, or even the winter due to sickness or vacation, and people had to wait.

My father came to pick me up. He mentioned told me this: "I was standing next to a man in line. We were talking, and I asked him why he was there on Christmas Eve. He said it was a family tradition." A family tradition, not to eat around a table of delicious home cooked food, more tasty because of the love than anything else, but to eat out at a fast food burger joint.

A family tradition?

It made me sad. These families, I occasionally joke, need to learn to make a sandwich, or burgers of their own, because that's all most of them order. Burger meat with cheese on top. Lettuce, mayo, tomatoes, onions, ketchup and pickles. That is all that's on our sandwiches at Burger King. Nothing fancy. Nothing you can't do at home. No secret sauce, and the meat isn't spiced special. On holidays, you'd wait less if you put it together at home, and it'd taste better too. Probably save you money.

My biggest problem is that people don't spend time with their family on Christmas, or on New Years Eve, rather than celebrating with family and friend's, they rush through the drive thru, and eat quickly. One person ordered cheeseburgers for her party. Creative, I suppose, but I suspect the rest of the food will also lack that personal touch.

I want, one day, every business to be closed on Christmas and Thanksgiving, and to close early and open late on New Year's Eve. I want people to realize that money can't solve the world's woes, and nor can running constantly. Sometimes, people really do need to stop, pause, and relax. It's one of the best things a person can do, to stop the constant daily rush, and to realize life is more than what you can do as fast as possible. Life is about experience, not rushing around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to please the world.

So, world, take a step back. Spend your holidays out of stores, even the gas station if you can. Spend it with those you love, and with your friends.

And do yourself a favor and disconnect from the rush of the daily grind. Forget a daily grind. Try a daily adventure. It'll happen if you just stop rushing.

One Final Byte: One more year til the next long count!

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