Friday, November 7, 2008

Life is so unfair

"It's so unfair, the owners of this company are so rich, they should give us all a raise and better benefits.  It's like we're their slaves," said Danielle, complaining about the huge mega-mart she worked for as a cashier.  Her argument sounded so reasonable:  rich bosses rolling in money taking advantage of the underpaid and overworked laborers.  Of course she and all her co-workers deserved a raise, more vacation time, better health benefits and free childcare, of course they ought to go on strike!  Down with the establishment!

Only thing is, I know Danielle.  I know that she chose to drop out of school because she thought it was boring, that she has been fired from various jobs for various reasons: coming to work drunk, coming to work late, losing track of her sales slips, not coming to work at all - those are just some of the reasons.  I also met some of her co-workers.  The girls enjoy trashing their supervisor in late night gossip sessions over a couple of beers, just because he's uptight and wears ugly clothes and gets ketchup stuck in his mustache.  

Danielle says she has dreams of owning her own business someday.  When I asked her what business, she doesn't know, but she's sure she'd be a much better boss than the "jerk" she works for.  Danielle has never pushed herself to complete her high school degree, even when her mother helped her sign up for the adult education classes.  She sees her job as demanding, her customers as uncaring, herself as a hard worker who goes above and beyond the call of duty when she takes an extra shift for one of her friends (even though she gets paid extra), and her boss, well, we already know what Danielle thinks of him...

The news reporters were covering the upcoming strike and one of Danielle's friends was on TV.  You would think she was giving her life-blood for the store the way she spoke.  You would think they were chained to their cash registers and forced to scan every item that slid by on the conveyor belt under penalty of death.  And the journalist ate it up like the juiciest bit of news. Shame on this mega-mart for the exploitation of its workers!  She reported as a dozen Danielles stood by with their picket signs, nodding in righteous indignation.

Danielle couldn't ride out the strike - the administration took too long in negotiations and she eventually quit before almost all of her union's demands were met seven months later.  It was just getting boring, walking around in a circle with her protest sign day after day.  Anyway she was running out of money to party on weekends.  

She hates her new job, says no one wants to give her a chance to get a better salary.  Society is so unfair.  Thank goodness for the politicians who promise to invest tax money on initiatives to help the poor Danielles of this world.  Poor Danielle, uneducated, unmotivated, untrustworthy, undisciplined, and oh yes, she's pregnant.  How can society be so cruel?  Maybe someday when the rich educated elite stop oppressing her she'll have a chance to be successful.  Just maybe...