This weekend, I decided to stop at one of my local retail stores to do some last-minute shopping, and very predictably, the store resembled a complete madhouse. My entire town had the same exact idea in mind. The checkout lines were extremely long and I could just sense the frustration in the air. I spent about 30 minutes in the store and that was enough for me! As I was driving home, a rather sobering thought came to mind. Imagine if I had to work in one of those madhouses? Imagine if I had to endure impatient, frustrated and rude people for several hours during my shift? That thought sent shivers up my spine to say the least! Anyone who works in customer service at this time of the year can fully understand what I am talking about. Working with customers at this time of the year can prove to be very challenging and I really tip my cap to all those retail workers who put up with a lot during the Christmas shopping season.
During my college years, I worked at a retail store and the Christmas season was a times pure hell. People’s real character comes up when they are frustrated. I can vividly recall a lady yelling at me for not having a particular item in stock during a sale. Here I was some young 20-year-old who suddenly out of nowhere became the scapegoat for a person’s selfish needs. I calmly explained to her that you need to contact the store’s manager for issues like that. Unfortunately, many people are just like that lady. They see some store clerk as someone who they rail on not realizing the harm they are doing.
I know many retail workers who bust their butt off during this time of the year in serving others so they can have a special Christmas. Some go the extra mile in making sure the customer is completely satisfied with their product. Most of them get paid very little yet take a great deal of pride in their work. Working in retail during the Christmas season is a challenge for them and I admire their patience and understanding as people just trying to serve you and make your Christmas that much better.
The other workers that I really admire are the folks who work at the post office or UPS stores. So many folks order stuff online these days and most people fail to appreciate how busy these hard-working people are. I would guess that many work up to 12 hour days during this time of the year. These dedicated people are out there trying their hardest to get that special package out to you. A few weeks ago, a UPS driver endured some icy roads to deliver a much-needed package to yours truly. When he arrived at my door, I wanted to shake his hand and give him a big huge. Just seeing my reaction probably really made his day!
When you are sitting down with your family and opening presents during these next few days, just think for a minute of all these hard-working people who made your Christmas enjoyable. These people are true Christmas heroes and deserve much credit, and maybe a few days off!
Yes, it happened again! President Trump and members of Congress, mainly Democrats, are at odds over a new budget deal and we have yet another partial government shutdown. How long this shutdown will last is a huge mystery. Negotiations are currently taking place and I have to believe that a settlement is very imminent and this shutdown will not be a long. Nevertheless, about a 1/4 of the federal government is shut down at the current time. Ironically, the dispute between Trump and the Democrats is over too much funding where suddenly the Democrats are claiming that we will be spending too much taxpayer money over a particular item, in this case a new border wall. Just when have the Democrats become the party of fiscal responsibility?
The amount of money that Trump is asking for to build this security wall is around 5 billions dollars. At first glance, this figure seems to be rather imposing to the typical individual. 5 billion dollars of taxpayer money appears to be a ridiculous amount of money. However, when you consider what the total budget of the federal government is, this figure is only a small fraction of the total amount of money contained in the federal budget. I wonder if these same Democrats who are howling about giving away taxpayers money are just as concerned about us giving away large sums of money to Iran or other foreign countries.
Some say that a border wall will be ineffective and a total waste of money. I say hogwash to that! A wall has worked very well in Israel and China for many years. A physical barrier is a very effective way of stopping or discouraging illegals from entering this country. Add in new technology such as sensors and drones and the wall would be very effective. Spending a small portion of the federal budget to enable this country to be much safer is a complete no-brainer of an idea. Why would anyone be against such a common sense idea?
Unfortunately, we have a bunch of politicians in Congress who do not have any common sense. They cannot appreciate the magnitude of harm that illegal immigration causes this country. If you want to play a blame game over this impasse, blame the politicians who are just playing politics over national security. I cannot blame President Trump one bit for shutting down the government. It is unfortunate that we have several elected officials who are the real cause of yet another senseless government shutdown.
The Green Bay Packers made big sports headlines this week when they fired long time head coach Mike McCarthy following an embarrassing home loss to the lowly Arizona Cardinals. The loss basically knocked the Packers out of playoff contention in what was supposed to be a very promising year. Many had the Packers going to the Super Bowl this year. At the center of this firing seems to be what role star quarterback Aaron Rodgers had in it. Reports are that McCarthy and Rodgers did not always see eye to eye on the play calling. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that their turbulent relationship was no doubt a huge factor in McCarthy’s firing. This big mess in Green Bay is very typical of what hurts many professional sports franchises in a couple of ways.
First of all, let this be clear, professional sports teams are run by their star players, not the coaches. A coach who cannot get along with his star player is doomed and will probably get fired. Add in a lot of losing and that process is expedited. Don’t let anyone fool you, Aaron Rodgers runs the Packers. In the off-season, the Packers thought so highly of Rodgers that he became the highest paid player in the NFL by signing a huge contract. With the exception of a few years, McCarthy’s tenure at Green Bay was a very successful one. I thought he was definitely an above average NFL coach. Funny how a guy with that kind of track record along with a Super Bowl title can all of sudden be thought of as a bad coach. McCarthy, as with many coaches, become the scapegoat when things do not go well as they are in Green Bay. You cannot fire the players or heaven forbid, the great Aaron Rodgers. The Packers organization will not even come close to finding a new head coach who is even close to being as good as McCarthy. Many pro sports franchises rush to fire a coach without giving good thought about a possible quality replacement.
Second of all, huge contracts are very toxic in pro sports especially the NFL. How are the Packers going to bring in good players to support Rodgers in the future? Their pockets are only so deep and I do not see where they will have the cash to bring in big time free agents. This happens so often in professional sports. A team views a player as someone who they cannot lose and will pay that player handsomely. The problem is that you have many other players to pay as well. This becomes even a bigger problem when the team is struggling and needs free agent help. The Packers are very much in this situation. Furthermore, why would you pay some 34-35 year old quarterback that kind of money? Rodgers might be past his prime and seems to be more injury prone than ever.
I know Packer fans are among the most diehard fans in the world, but I think they should be prepared for some lean times coming up in the next few years. Who knows, maybe this intern coach will save the season and a miracle will happen. The Packers are in a mess right now and unfortunately a good head coach became the scapegoat. Mike McCarthy was only a small fraction of the problems that organization is having now and they are experiencing what many franchises deal with, an aging star play who is tough to coach and salary issues.
A Ohio radio station this week decided to ban a very popular Christmas song called “Baby, it’s cold outside” because a few listeners were upset with some of the lyrics of the song. In their minds, the song promotes date rape and should not be ever played on the station. The station general manager seemed to agree after reviewing the lyrics and banned the song from playing. Chalk one up for the PC police! Never mind that this song once won an academy award and has been a very popular Christmas song for over 70 years. Nobody seemed to have an issue with the song’s lyrics for so many years until now. Isn’t that something? The #metoo movement is now really flexing its muscles and who knows where this will end. What other songs do they have an eye on?
I was rather curious about this sudden controversy so I decided to check out the song lyrics. It seemed to contain a typical conversation between a couple who faced the very common dilemma of wrapping up a date. The man in the song does not want his woman to leave and venture outside in the storm while the woman keeps repeating that she must go. It seems to be nothing more than a gentlemen feeling sad that his date will be leaving soon and he wants the evening to continue. Nowhere in the song does it contain any mention of him forcing himself on her. He even asked politely if he could come closer. About the only controversial thing in the song is when she asks him “What is in that drink?” That could actually mean a number of things. Implying that it promotes date rape is rushing to judgement. Maybe she is wondering if that drink contains her favorite beverage which might persuade her to stay a little longer.
What I find so amusing about this whole controversy is the lengths that people go to promote trouble these days. Do these same self-righteous people who call the radio station and complain about the lyrics of the song ever listen to today’s music? I wonder if they put as much time and energy at other times of the year in promoting their righteousness. Today’s music is filled with songs and lyrics that do not even compare in their degrading tone towards women. You could nitpick many seemingly innocent love songs and find many lyrics that would be offensive to some. News flash, songs about interactions between men and women are the base of what many love songs are about. In most cases these lyrics are not even close to being harmful towards women.
I think it is totally ridiculous for people to complain about the lyrics of this classic Christmas song and demand that it not be played anymore. I seem to be in the majority on this one. The #metoo movement has really stepped out of bounds on this one. There is nothing in this song that is even remotely harmful to women or the future of women. Here is a simple suggestion, if you do not like the song, simply turn the dial on the radio. It is as simple as that! Do not ruin it for the rest of us who enjoy listening to great oldies Christmas music.
This is the time of year when many people spend countless sleepless nights thinking about what Christmas gifts to buy for people. It could be that you are a special aunt to some wonderful nieces and nephews and you greatly want them to have much happiness and joy when they open your gift. Or maybe you want to impress that guy who you have been dating for several months with a surprise gift. The problem lies in what to get them. Most people automatically think of clothes as a great gift. I personally think it is a very bad idea for many reasons.
I cannot tell you the number of times that I have received some bogus clothing gift for Christmas. I have often had to put on my best fake appreciation facial look when I opened a gift and saw that it was some ugly colored sweater or polo shirt. I would not get caught dead wearing this piece of crap! Another favorite or should I say least favorite of mine is getting underwear or socks as a gift. When I was a teenager, I would frequently get those tidy whitey Fruit of the Loom underwear as a Christmas gift! We all probably have many horror stories about receiving some horrible piece of clothing as a Christmas gift.
Another issue with buying clothes for someone is doing the guessing game with the size. Anyone who is buying for young children probably have that problem. Whenever I buy clothing, I make darn sure it fits me before I purchase the item. Just because you know your size doesn’t necessarily mean that it will fit well. How would someone know exactly how well that sweater will fit you without having you there to try it on?
I know that clothes are a very popular item to buy for people as a gift for Christmas. Maybe your nephew is a huge football fan and would love to get a Dallas Cowboys jersey as a gift. You know his size so everything should be okay. But if you are unsure and just guessing what that special person might like, it might be a better idea to skip the clothing option. A better option might be to give them a gift card. Instead of buying your husband some awful looking tie or dress shirt, give him a gift card so he can go shopping at his favorite men’s clothing store.
Most people are very picky about the clothing they wear and assuming their likes in clothing can be very risky. You can never go wrong by getting them a gift card as an alternative. Just maybe that look of appreciation on their faces will be real this time around.