Friday, October 9, 2009

The Good Old Days...

I never would've thought I'd be one of those people.

You know the type - "When I was your age..." or "Back in the good old days..." You can fill in just about any comment there, you've heard them all.

I appreciate modern conveniences as much as the next person. I am in awe at the technology that has changed our lives. Women and equality have come a long way in my short lifetime.

But still...

Remember the Blue Laws? When you couldn't do anything on Sunday because it was all closed? Yeah, those were the Good Old Days.

No one ran to Target to pick a few things up. You didn't go to the mall for anything. You went to church. Or to a yard sale. Or to a family dinner. Or just hung out. With your family.

Remember those people?

I remember when my mother was unemployed. And had to collect, gasp!, unemployment. We were mortified. It was whispered about. "Her mother's unemployed." As if she were looting old grannies for their family heirlooms. "Unemployed! Shocking!"

I have two employees who have recently asked me for a "voluntary layoff". What the heck is that???

hhhh wait. You want to quit, can't find another job that overlooks your half-hearted attempt at doing your job but need the paycheck? I see.

What's that you say? If you quit you can't qualify for unemployment? And you need the money? But don't want the job?

Now that you explain it that way, sure! I'll lay you off so you can not work and still have an income. Because that's not fraud or anything, right?

mean, I realize you don't really take pride in your work anyway so why bother doing it, right?

Another employee sent an email asking for a promotion (oh no, wait. It was one of the same employees who had asked for a voluntary layoff). Because the others in her department can't do anything without her telling them how (according to her). And although she knew that her lateness was an issue, she was only late 5 times this month!

Oh, that's it? Only 20% of the time? A little more than once per week? Heck, I had no idea, you can have my job!

She said I should understand, as I was also a single mother... umm, no. I mean yes. I was a single mother but no, I don't understand. You see, when I was a single mother I was terrified I'd lose my job. So I went above and beyond to make sure I kept it. And guess what that included? Showing up on time! Or even early!

Technology sure has evolved too, hasn't it? Here's one technological advance I depend on but wish didn't exist - Caller ID.

Remember when there was a little tiny bit of excitement answering the phone? It rang and you were all like - Who could it be? Who's calling me? Is it a friend? A love interest? How thrilling that my phone is ringing and someone wants to talk. To me! Yay!

We know we can reach anyone, anywhere, anytime and we don't have to answer that call. Because we'll catch them when it's convenient for us.

So we screen. Huh, it's Howard. I can call him on his cell later. Or text him.

Don't even get me started on texting. It's like catnip to me. And I hate it.

Now I'm not that old but I do remember going shopping and the people who worked in the stores, well they actually appreciated that you were there. Shopping in their store. And you know what they did?

They welcomed you. They greeted you. They asked you how you were and could they help you find anything.

It didn't matter what store you were in. Or what you were buying. This novel approach to shopping was called customer service. And you know what? It worked for me.

When did that change? When did it become an imposition for you to shop in their store? At what point did it flip flop and become them who were doing you a favor, just by being there?

The clerk is at the register and yes, maybe they are talking on their cell phone while chewing gum and won't look you in the eye. Maybe they don't bother to greet you whatsoever, or perhaps they nod your way with a brief "sup?" but come on. They're busy! Doing stuff that, you know, they need to do. It's their only time to catch up with Katie on the phone because her boss is a jerk and doesn't let her take calls when she's on shift.

Maybe Katie should ask for a voluntary layoff?

But just be quiet and be grateful. And if you aren't too distracting maybe they'll even ring your purchases in correctly.

(**I must mention The Meat House in Salem NH. The BEST customer service in a store EVER. EVER. Even when I don't need to buy anything I might stop in there because they always make me feel so good. I had one bag of groceries the other day and the guy at the register insisting on carrying it to the car for me. Wow!)

What do you miss from the good old days?


Doreen said...

I miss respect. When I was growing up, we respected adults. We didn't swear, we didn't talk back or tell them to go f&^# themselves. Kids today have very little respect for anything. This does not apply to the kids at church, it is so refreshing to talk to them. They are respectful, they give up a seat for a woman, they open doors, they look you in the eye when they are talking to you...they smile. I guess maybe there is hope for the future after all!

TK said...

SB this is one of my all time favorites. I am with you much as I am a gadgit person I too would like to return to the simple life. When did we all become so important that we can't leave home without a phone? Where does it say that no one can leave work AT WORK without be tied to our pagers? Respect...gone! Manners...don't exist. Pride in your work...not!

OHN said...

I don't need to write what I already did a wonderful job!! I LOVED THIS POST!

Little Ms J said...

I miss accountability. It breeds out with each generation.

TreasureHunter said...

I miss respect, accountability, and morals.

Great post!!!

Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest!!!

Anonymous said...


I miss ~

1. being called "Ms. Last Name" instead of my first name when I go to the bank or call a company which has my personal information -I do not call people by their first names unless given permission and I think it's highly rude to do so (now, how old does that make ME sound!)
I think this trickles down into a too informal - everyone is a friend so I can treat them less than civil world. You cannot call someone Ms. Jones and then tell them to f-off. Well, probably you can't...

2. non automatic doors - I think the world became less connected AND less civil when doors began opening automatically - no one needs to look around to see if someone is approaching and needs help. No one needs to extend the courtesy of opening a door. No one needs to see what's going on any more - just open, think only of yourself, and pass thru.

3. I especially miss a lack of crabbing about things - as in "oh, I'm SOOOOO BUSY" and "Well, I simply CAN'T DO THAT I wish I could but I'm just so ooooooOoo oooo busy" kind of crabbing. It seems that folks just judge themselves by how much they have to do as opposed to other folks and those with less to DO have less of a life somehow.

I, for instance, am off to play with Grand~niece and we'll be SO busy gluing glitter to yogurt cups we might not even realize how much time has passed till the pizza is delivered! (cuz I am going to be too busy to cook! :)

Yaya said...

Voluntary lay off?? What the?

PS Thank you for stopping by on my special day!