on labor day and needless consumption

this morning i was this close to taking dylan to the mall today for no reason at all. labor day sales were going on, i have some gifts cards burning holes in my wallet, and i had the urge to spend, even though there is nothing we need.

when i stop to think about it, the idea of shopping on labor day kind of sickens me. the whole point of labor day is to rest from our labors and to honor those who work. labor day ought to be a sabbath. hiking, playing outside, grilling out--all good ways to celebrate labor day. shopping, eating out--not so good; think of how the person waiting on you is spending their labor day!

in pittsburgh, i was a youth pastor, and i loved my work. when we moved to ligonier so that jim could take a great job, i was underemployed for a disheartening twenty two months when i worked as a waitress and a coffee shop barista.

ligonier is a pretty touristy town, especially for the retired set, and i vividly remember waiting on a well dressed couple in their sixties. the woman was picky and demanding, and they required a great deal of attention. i tried to be as pleasant as possible as they returned perfectly good food and implored me to fulfil every individual wish. the woman excused herself, and as i refilled the man's drink, he began to make small talk. he asked me if i was in school, and i said that, no, i had graduated a few years before. he asked from where, and i told him william and mary. then, unbelievably, the conversation turned in an especially unpleasant manner:

man: "does your college know you work here?"

me, puzzled: "no."

man: "you might not want to tell them, or they might revoke your diploma!"

i was dumbstruck that a complete stranger would insult me so viciously. what did he know about me, about my life or how desperately i was looking for something better, something challenging, something that would actually pay back the student loans that partially funded my demanding education?

i guess the moral of the story is that people have worth independent of their job (or education), and no one deserves to be disrespected, even if their job involves serving you--maybe especially if their job involved serving you! and always leave a good tip for good service:)


owlhaven is challenging people to curtail non-essential spending in september, and we've decided to join in. this means no more amazon orders, no sheetz breakfast sandwiches after church, and no trips to target. she is also challenging people to cut back on convenience grocery store purchases in favor of less expensive (and healthier) homemade whole foods.

we are going on vacation in two weeks, and i know we'll eat out some on the road, but before and after vacation we'll do our best, and on vacation we'll try to be conservative and intentional with our spending. i'll let you know how it goes.


Owlhaven said...

So glad you're taking the challenge! I look forward to reading about your month!


bethany said...

oh sister, how you make my heart happy :). ill join the challenge!

Anonymous said...

you go girl! come "shop" our garage and over-stuffed closets. bring your friends. About our 1st in a decade family vacation, how about everyone bringing ingredients to make one meal? love, mom

Anonymous said...

That was an incredibly rude exchange. You are right, we cannot assume we know anything about the people who "serve" us. Thanks for the reminder.

My kids always tell me to "tip more, Mom. More!" So, I do even when they are not with me.

Have a great week pursuing your goals.

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