Wednesday, August 11, 2010

In the History of Time of The Mesoamerican Calender - Steven Slater is My Hero of the Day!

You all know about the pre-Colombian calender? The Mesoamerican Long Count Calender? You know, the one that ancient Mayans and other cultures followed that some knuckleheads say predict the end of the world on December 21, 2012? Yeah, that's the one!

Yes it does count up to a round number that coincides with 12/21/12 on our Gregorian Calender, but it also coincides with August 11, 3114 BCE as being the date that the world was created.


Now, on to what I wanted to tell you about.

Didja all hear about Steven Slater? The former JetBlue Flight Attendant who quit his job with panache on Monday?

More importantly, he told rude, snotty, self-entitled folk everywhere to take a flying leap and lightened the heart's of all of us with a service industry job every where.

There are lots of different accounts of what happened and you can do your own research and draw your own conclusions, but here's how it played out from what I can gather...

Two female passengers caused a bit of disturbance early in the flight at not having sufficient room for their carry-on bags. When the plane landed it started again, when their bags were not returned to them immediately on landing and in a struggle to get their bags down, words were exchanged again between the Flight Attendant (Steven Slater) and the passenger and one bag fell or was brought down from the overhead in a way that struck the attendant on the head. Steven Slater then gathered his wits, walked to the PA system, announced something like, "I have been in this industry for 20 years. To all of you who have shown dignity and respect, thank you it's been a nice ride. To that motherfucker who just told me to 'fuck off'....fuck you!" Then he lowered the emergency ramp out of the side of the plane, grabbed two beers out of the galley and slid on down and went home.

That's a helluva exit!

Just yelling "Take this job and shove it!" is NOT what makes Slater my newest hero. That's a path that's going to make things hard on himself, and other than his minor celebrity in the short term, it's not going to put food on his table.

What makes him a hero to me is the statement it made to the woman. Here's how it plays out with more hyperbole in my head, if I can fill in the blanks of the story based on what I know about humans.

Two female passengers boarded a plane after a weekend getaway where they didn't get laid. The frustrated pair of $27,000 a year "office administrators" were feeling all the self-entitlement and importance afforded them by their $89 plane ticket and years of Oprah and her politically correct minions telling them that "every soccer player deserves a trophy, every one's a winner! Especially YOU!!!" and were pissed that they hadn't been treated as royalty when they brought a bunch of carry-on bags on the over-booked flight, and there wasn't convenient space to shove the 3 pair of shoes they bought to console themselves for their sexually dry weekend. They decide to take out their frustrations on the over-worked $27,000 a year Flight Attendant. He tells them to "fuck off" because their parents never told them to more simply "mind your manners".

First mistake and a prevalent one indeed in this challenged economy.

There's no money. So companies and corporations, big and small are lowering prices so consumers will use their product and services. Lower incomes for employers mean lower incomes for employees and they demand even LOWER prices on the goods and services they need or desire. It's an economy in adjustment and it's a frustrating cycle. An unfortunate side-effect is, people bartering for lower prices also want to barter for more value in what they receive. We all do it. But aren't we the same ones who want to get paid more for what WE do? How does it settle itself? I don't know. But it seems futile to me.

We demand lower cost air travel and receive it from the airlines to get our business. Seems logical until you realize that we're demanding that a company which runs a giant piece of metal that flies (say this over to get in a chair and somebody FLIES you to where you want to be...through the air...actually FLIES you there, numskull) to do it on the cheap. And then after it succeeds in hurling you across a great distance we have the nerve to complain that someone didn't wipe our ass for us and that it wasn't all-inclusive in the $89 you paid for not being killed.

When you order a fast food hamburger from Burger King, you are NOT allowed to complain or be abusive to the kid behind the counter if it isn't "up to snuff". You opted for cheap, NOT good. Take it and be on your way. There is no open grill in the back making you fresh food made from quality ingredients. There are flash frozen burger patties that were cooked 3 weeks ago in a factory umpteen miles away with "genuine artificial charcoal flavouring added" and a couple of $8 an hour employees microwaving them and passing them to you.

You are not allowed to go to Subway on Fridays and order the "lobster salad" sandwich on "artisan bread" for $5 and pride yourself on being a gourmand. That ain't lobster people. I don't know what kind of gelatinized-to-lobster-like-texture substance it is, but if you're rude to your $8 an hour sandwich maker behind the counter, I can guess a couple of other ingredients have been added to make it "-salad".

When one of my clients comes to me after demanding they get special pricing and pay 1/10 the retail price for my goods and services, they are NOT entitled to get huffy in the same breath and complain that my services are not offered around the clock or on Sundays.

You want cheap or you want good. You can find a compromise and we'll have to, to make it out of this "global economic crisis". But you can't have both.

Especially frustrating to find a solution when we're all in the same boat...or plane together.

Steven Slater is my hero, not because he gave up, or told the boss to shove his job. He's my hero because he told a couple of people to "mind their manners."

And he did it with panache and aplomb.

Mind your manners everyone. We're all in this together. Nobody gets treated like they think they deserve to all the time. Get over it.

Oh, and don't be stressed about that calender and the end of the world. It's just ONE round number it get's to in 2012. There's more coming up in 2407, 2801, 3195, 3590, 3984, 4378 and 4772.

And to the army of Human Resources drones that are flooding out to every corner of JetBlue and other airlines to give "sensitivity classes" to your workers. You're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. One that our $89 plane tickets won't cover the cost of.

Here's a John Prine song I dedicate today to Steven Slater and everyone who's done being pushed around by people feeling the same pain as us.

Talk to you soon!


marco said...

Sometimes I wonder if you are in my head, writing all the things I am thinking. Then I realize if it's just the voices I hear that keep saying "kill kill kill kill..."

From one hourly schmuck to another, Thanks Jeffie! You nailed it again :)

Jeff Overturf said...

It's not that I'm in your head per se, it's just that I have the same voices in mine.


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