Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Thanksgiving Thought: I Like Tony Rohr

I've never met, Mr. Tony Rohr, but I like him.

According to MSN, Brother Rohr began working for the people who own Pizza Hut as a cook a number of years ago. He rose through the ranks and recently was made the General Manager of an Elkhart, Indiana store.

A couple of days ago he was told his new place had made a "competitive decision" to open on Thanksgiving Day. In their words, "everyone else is open so we will be too."

Tony Rohr had a problem with that logic. "I just decided I wasn't going to agree to it, " he was quoted as saying. He added, "All of these people the whole year had been told they were going to have the day off."

When asked about the other restaurant chains being open, his response was, "Why can't we be the company that stands up and says we care about our employees and let them have the day off?"

While not quite as politically and socially charged as some questions posed by, say, the late Bishop Oscar Romero the pointed query did inspire an immediate response by the Pizza Hut powers that be. Yes, Mr. Rohr is now unemployed.

Well there is capitalism for you. It is what the current Pope recently called, "The idolatry of money."

Sometimes you have to wonder what those family values republicans keep talking about actually are. The list of businesses looking for your shopping dollar on Thanksgiving Day grows every November. The number of employees stuck working on a day no one is supposed to does too. MSN reports this year Macy's, J.C. Penny's, and Staples will all open for the first time in their histories tomorrow. Toys R Us will open at 5pm in the afternoon and K Mart will fire up the cash registers at 6am in the morning. Screw the original meaning of the holiday,  there is a buck to be made.

The only places left in the nation where lawmakers sort of understand the day is meant to be about family is Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. In those states large grocery chains, department stores, and what is termed as "large box stores" are forced to remain closed by law. However even in those parts of New England there is a vast number of exceptions, including, among others, convenience stores, pharmacies, and restaurants like the one Tony Rohr used to work for.

Of course we can't lay it all off on the greedheads who run the chains. This is the weekend when incomprehensible numbers of Americans go a little funny in the head. Teeming masses storm the front doors of places like Walmart as if they were the Mexican army pouring through the smashed gates of the Alamo. Reason, for many, goes the way of the Dodo as some sort of extra terrestrial frenzy takes over. The cold truth is if none of us were to show up the stores wouldn't open, but unfortunately we do--in huge, desperate, mobs. As Walt Kelly once famously said, "We have met the enemy and he is us."

It is a new world and I've never been opposed to the world evolving, becoming a better place. Sometimes though I fear we've lost all that is good about the old one in the transition.

People of a certain age remember the past as the good old days because they recall all the best times and none of the worst.

Thanksgiving Day used to be one of those precious few best times. Now, for far too many, it is just another cruddy Thursday.

Indeed. Welcome to the second decade of the 21st century.

Mr. Sulu, you have the con.


No comments:

Post a Comment