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.
(Above–Various iconic images from our great City of Houston. We all need to pitch in to keep our city strong. Montage by Yassie.)
From the Houston Chronicle—
“Thousands of city of Houston employees will have to take six unpaid days off in the coming six months, one of a series of actions Mayor Annise Parker is taking to close a $29 million budget gap. “This is a step that I didn’t want to take,” Parker said on Thursday. Furloughs send “the wrong message to hard-working city employees who get up and pick up our trash, fix our roads, keep our libraries open, mow our parks.” The furloughs will save the city $5 million and will apply only to civilian employees, with a few exceptions in such areas as trash pickup and other positions that generate revenue, Parker said. Employees who make less than $24,000 a year also will be exempt, she said.”
It is important to note that Mayor Parker exempted city employees at the lowest end of the pay scale. In a time when recession has caused many to go after the poorest first, while making sure that tax cuts for the rich stay in place, it is good to see acknowledgment of the needs of the people hurting most from these hard times.
Are public employees the cause of unsustainable deficit-boosting tax cuts that we have seen at so many levels of government in recent years?
Public employees must accept some of the pain of the recession. People taking a public paycheck at any level of government must lead by example. These sacrifices to be made by public employees must also apply to police officers and firefighters. Health and retirement benefits that are a critical longterm cost to governmentt must be on the table for some reconsideration. There is nothing wrong with looking at all aspects of government spending when times are hard– Or, for that matter, at any point.
Yet at the same time, nothing is achieved by allowing Republican politicians to stoke resentment of fellow working people while at the same time they do all they can to protect tax cuts for the rich.
What these Republicans really wish to do is outsource government services to politically connected firms, so that everybody but the people who actually do the work will get the taxpayer dollars.
If you are an average working person going on about a garbage man making 30k or 40K a year, while you vote for politicians who fight for tax cuts for millionaires, you must be smoking some pretty heavy dope.
Don’t we have any remaining capacity for self-respect as fellow working people, and as members of a society?
Must we allow ourselves to be used to get at others not so unlike ourselves?
Here in Houston, the overwhelming number people skip voting in municipal elections, and there have been a number of city property tax cuts in recent years.
It is time for citizens of Houston, and of our nation, to take stock of the public obligations that we all should share.
In addition to leadership from the Mayor and city employees on these budget questions in Houston, tax increases and sacrifices from average citizens may also need to be part of the solution.
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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