It is time for the so-called Black Friday.
Many Americans will be out shopping.
What are best deals and specials for Black Friday here in Houston and elsewhere?
Treating working people well would be a very good deal and would be very special on your part.
Taking part in advocacy for the rights and fair treatment of working people would also be a very special and good deal.
There is no point in lecturing people about endless shopping or about what stores people choose to visit.
People are free to shop as much as they wish and at any place that suits them.
What is of greater value is asking the stores we visit to treat people well.
Though, of course, people are indeed free to boycott business places that engage in what they believe to be offensive practices.
The working person you are dealing with on Black Friday—or on any day that you are out shopping— is no different from you.
A lack of respect for the person behind the counter is the same as an absence of self-respect.
I would suggest that the fates of most working people in this country are connected. If we don’t care about the wages and working conditions of people we deal with each day, we can be certain that this absence of shared concern will be exploited.
This concern also logically extends to people in other countries who make the goods we purchase.
The work of caring for each other and caring for ourselves is up to each of us.
We have to decide what kind of people we are going to be as individuals , how we are going to treat others, and what kind of society we are going to have.
Have Respect For Your Fellow Working People Who Must Labor On A Holiday—So Many Ways To Ask If Burger King Is Open On Christmas
Last year I wrote a post about a Burger King in Houston being open on Christmas Day. The post was prompted by the picture you see above. I took that picture last December on a very rare snowy day in Houston.
(Picture copyright Neil Aquino.)
My feeling was that Burger King did not need to be open on Christmas Day. The employees would want to be at home with family and Burger King on Christmas Day seemed depressing. I realize many folks eat at Burger King and I pass no judgment on that fact. I’m simply not certain that Burger King on Christmas Day is needed by anybody if only for the reason that the staff would be forced to be work.
I can recall growing up in New England in the 1970′s when many business places were not open on Sunday. I don’t know if that was for the best or not, but it was at least a day of rest to a greater extent than we see today. On the other hand, more hours open means more hours for staff to be employed.
On the Christmas Day just past, I did in fact visit a local convenience store/gas station. So you can say I’m a hyprocrite. I walked over to the store to buy an early edition of the Sunday Houston Chronicle. I get the final edition delivered to my door. I did not need to buy the early edition.
However, I also bought two $1 instant lottery tickets and gave them to the clerk. I thanked him for working the holiday. It is up to you to judge if these facts exonerate me.
Burger King stays open on Christmas Day and on other holidays for a very good reason. Many people want to spend money to eat at Burger King on Christmas Day. At the end of this post are just some of the search terms that internet users wrote on or around Christmas Day 2010 to see if Burger King would be open Christmas Day. There is something like 65 different versions of the question listed below. That is not all of the listings. My blog got more than 900 page views on this topic alone for a post over a year old. (I guess that is some assurance that Texas Liberal has at least a little pull on Google.)
(Above–A Whopper. Here is nutritional information on Whoppers. A Whopper will meet almost all your daily saturated fat needs. Here is nutritional infromation for all Burger King menu offerings.)
Business places have plenty of profit motive to be open on holidays. So I suppose the question is what can we do as working people to acknowledge the fact that some folks must work holidays for non-essential reasons. And ,of course, the same consideration must be accorded to people who must work for the public safety or in any type of business that cannot shut down for a day.
Here are some possibilities for us to act in a respectful way that asserts that value and dignity of all labor—
1. In jobs where tipping is customary, we could tip at the time-and-a-half rate that all workers should expect on a holiday. If you normally tip 15% for good service, than you could tip 22.5% instead on holidays. If you normally tip close to 20%, as you should consider doing if you have the resources, than a tip near 30% would be fair. This may seem high, but the fact is that your waiter is working a holiday and working people should be mindful of the needs of other working people.
2. We could thank the person for working the holiday. How hard is that?
3. We could tip well and acknowledge the fact someone is working a holiday even if we feel somehow mistreated at our own work. Part of the respect we can show for fellow working people is not to spread around the misery we may feel simply because we lack the personal discipline to care about others.
4. We could advocate year-round for better treatment for working people. All work has value. It is a measure of our own self-respect that we see value and commonality in the circumstances of people who also give the hours of their lives to earn a living. All too often in our nation we have put aside our own best interests and the best interests of fellow working people so we can focus on hating people not like ourselves.
New Year’s Day 2011 is coming up. There is always some holiday on the horizon. Let’s treat people well.
We all have the ability to make life better for ourselves and for others. This ability to make life better never takes a holiday.
Here are but some of many ways people inquired as to the availability of a Whopper on Christmas Day—
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The flight attendant on my Cincinnati to Houston flight this afternoon was a pro. She was polite, communicated well, and was patient.
As I was leaving the plane, I offered her a complement.
We’ve got to be respectful of our fellow working people. It is up to working people to advocate and offer respect for other working people.
Work is the hours of our lives.
Here is a sign that was up in the elementary school where I voted in Houston’s municipal elections last month.
Is it possible that “civic life” was the term that was meant to be used rather than “civil life?”
No matter. The message is clear enough.
I could write a long blog post right now about whatever, but what could I say that would improve on this message?
Imagine if people got this idea through their heads in our colleges or in our churches.
Often the simplest things are the most important ideas to communicate.
What the hell is wrong with people? Why are so many unable to grasp simple and decent things?
If on New Year’s Day you make use of the services of a person who normally would receive a tip, please be certain to tip that person the same time-and-a-half rate you would expect to be paid for working a holiday.
(Photo above–The Di Costanzo family on New Year’s Eve 1942 at the restaurant they owned in New York City.)
This is only fair.
Cab drivers and waiters are working people just as you are.
If you are not paid extra for working a holiday, please do not take it out on others.
The rights and status of working people in this country are tenuous enough as it is.
If we do not respect each other as fellow working people, we are all screwed.
Please respect the labor of others just as you would hope others would respect the hours of your life that you spend at work.
And, also, please don’t drink and drive on New Year’s Eve.
No Surprise That 17th Century Book That Respected Native Americans Also Respected Women—Roger Williams Of Rhode Island
I’ve been reading A New Literary History of the United States.
I read an essay in A New Literary History today about a book written in 1643 by Roger Williams.
(Above–A 1681 painting by an unkown artist of a Narragansett Indian Chief named Ninigret. It is the only reliable image of a Southern New England Indian of the time. This painting is owned by the Rhode Island School of Design.)
The name of the book Williams wrote was A Key To The Language Of America.
Key was about the langauge and customs of Rhode Island’s Narragansett Indians.
A New Literary History says that Williams saw these Rhode Island natives as equal to the New England Puritan colonists.
This angered the leaders of Massachusetts because it set a precedent of treating the natives in a way that might encourage them to be more assertive in their dealings with the colonists.
In A Key To The Language Of America Williams also acknowledged the role of Narragansett Indian women. This was unusual for the times.
Williams wrote that Narragansett women worked at least as hard as did the men and that they never complained no matter how difficult life became.
It is no surprise that a book that was ahead of its time in regard to Native Americans was also respectful of women in a time that women were not treated so well ( Just like today.)
Respect for all people is connected. Regard for one only has meaning when it is regard for all. Roger Williams of Rhode Island had this insight in the 17th century. It is that many people lack in the 21st century.
Labor Day is Monday, September 7. Here is a Texas Liberal post on the history of Labor Day with links to other facts about Labor Day.
Please remember that someone working on Labor Day is working a holiday. If you make use of the services of a waiter or a cab driver or anyone how normally gets a tip, please consider a tip at a time-and-a-half rate from what you would normally offer. If you normally tip 20%, tip 30% for the holiday.
People who work a holiday should get paid time-and-a-half. This is the rate of pay you would expect for working a holiday. If you are not paid that rate, please do not take out your frustration with this fact on a fellow working person.
Please treat working people with respect. Please do so all the time, but please be certain to do so on Labor Day and over Labor Day weekend. How we treat other working people is a measure of the extent to which we respect ourselves.
Please take one minute to watch this video I filmed in Houston’s Memorial Park. In this video, I hold up a sheet of paper that reads “Show Respect For Others By Communicating In A Clear And Concise Manner About Complex Things.”
The video has sound. You can hear the motorcycle that passes by and the people talking on the motorcycle.
I believe all people have the ability to understand complex things. It is a respectful course to follow to make the effort to convey to others what you feel and believe.
Behind me in the video is a flag at half-mast for the death of Senator Kennedy. A flag at half-mast conveys complex ideas of loss, care, loyalty, respect and patriotism. It is a simple symbol that conveys a great deal.
We all have the ability to communicate and to understand. We all merit the respect inherent in the effort to communicate and understand.
Labor Day for 2009 is Monday, September 7.
All work merits respect. We should treat other working people with respect. How we treat other working people is a mirror of the extent to which we respect ourselves.
( The picture above was taken by Danny Cornelissen for the portpictures.nl website.)
From that history–
“Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”
The history of labor in the United States is your history. Work is the time and effort of their lives. We need the wages we earn at work to be able to live decent lives.
There is also an International Labor Day. International Labor Day, or May Day, marks the Haymarket Riot in Chicago in 1886. Please click here to learn more about the Haymarket Riots and the Haymarket Trial.
Respect for working people involves understanding that the goods you buy must be sold for a fair price if the people who make and sell those goods are to receive a fair wage and good benefits. Selling these goods at a fair price also helps your employer stay in business.
Respect for working people does not stop at the American border. Cheap goods we purchase in America are often produced by underpaid and poorly treated workers in other nations.
Labor Day is, for many at least, a time to get a break from work. It is also a time to reflect upon what it means to be a working person in a nation and a world where the rights of workers—to they extent they exist at all—are under ceaseless strain.
( Photo above by Holger Hubbs.)
A popular movie in recent days has been Paul Blart: Mall Cop. And let me say right off that I have not seen this movie and I’m not going to see this movie. Some books can indeed be judged by their covers. Some movies can be judged by their advertisements and previews.
Here is review of Paul Blart by the New York Times critic who had to see the movie as part of his job—-
“Fat people are funny. Fat people who fall over are funnier. Fat people who fall over and have humiliating working-class jobs? Stop, you’re killing me! This would seem to be the entire guiding principle behind “Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” a tossed-off comedy from Adam Sandler’s production company.. In the title role, Kevin James plays a lovable New Jersey doofus whose dreams of joining the police are foiled by a hypoglycemic condition that causes him to pass out in ostensibly hilarious contexts. Reduced to working security at a huge, bustling shopping mall located in some economically vibrant fantasyland, Blart falls in love with the perky proprietress of a hair-extension franchise (Jayma Mays). Enter — because why not? — a gang of thieves plotting to hack into the mall’s credit-card profits. Put down the nachos, Paul Blart! It’s time to, well, to fall over some more and bump into things and make silly faces and save the world and get the girl.”
I’m all for silly. Silly is good. I know people need relief from the endless hassles and stress of day-to-day life. Yet I don’t know why we get a kick out of making fun of people like ourselves. My inner-Marxist will come out here, but this is just what the rich want us to do. They want us to not respect ourselves. Us hating the person we see in the mirror makes it easier for our wages and what is left of our retirement benefits to be chopped even more.
I sure get tired of criticisms of and jokes about auto workers, postal workers, government employees, allegedly disinterested retail employees and, in this case, mall cops.
We haggle over pennies for the lowest prices, do online what we could use a real live employed person to do almost as easily, and, as a whole, have little respect or regard for our fellow working people.
It seems sometimes that nothing is more scary than respecting people who remind us of ourselves. Because if we did, we might then have to confront the lack of respect with which we view ourselves and the people closest to us.
The painting above is called “Kitchen.” It was painted in the 1580′s by Vincenco Campi.
I enjoy blogging, hopefully I have some skills in expressing ideas, but I wish sometimes that I could paint. Among other things, I’d paint people at work and people as they are in life.
Along these same lines, I wish we had a greater respect for the labor of others. We need to recall that all work has value and dignity.