About the Blog:

Guelph Politico is locally sourced and dedicated to covering the political and cultural scene in the City of Guelph. Est. 2008.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Happy John Galt Day!

For those of you that don't know, John Galt was Guelph's founder in 1827. He was given the Civic Holiday to call his own a few year ago and now there's festivities and everything.

For me though, I saw it as a unique opportunity to take a break from observing how others treat issues and raise one of my own. Basically, it comes down to this: the calendar might say that this is a holiday, but the fact of the matter is its not a holiday for all. Over the last few years I've seen a disappointing erosion of workers in the service sector's right to a day off; it began with Civic Holiday then Boxing Day and now I see odd shops open on Canada Day and, ironically, Labour Day.

Now I'm not talking about convenience stores; since most of them are owner operated, combined with their stated purpose of offering convenience, they have a right to decide if they want to open or close. I'm talking about big stores and malls. I saw a Food Basics open on Canada Day last year. Why? I heard somebody today say they were going to Dollarama. So tomorrow's too late to go to the dollar store?

I strongly see a future where the only people entitled to their government sanctioned days off are professionals, bank workers and government employees. It bothers me when I hear people complain about not getting a day off in June, when I know for a fact that people out there aren't even getting the days off they already should. It disappointed me to no end when Dalton McGuinty gave us "Family Day" before rectifying the fact that Ontario is one of only two provinces to not recognize Remembrance Day as holiday. (And we all know who already does: the bank.)

Now I speak from personal experience, (I used to work at a Zellers that will remain nameless) and in the beginning everybody made sure to get your permission to work before scheduling you on what should have been a holiday, sign-up sheets and so forth. But as time went on, this fell by the wayside. Why? Because nobody wanted to work on a holiday so management had to rely on the old "voluntold" strategy.

Ever been in a store on Boxing Day? Good. Now image what it's like for the poor people that wear the store uniforms. If you think it's good fun to be asked a dozen times if you have any boxed Christmas cards and then have to tell a dozen people 'No' only to have them retort, "But if you did have any, where would they be?" You're wrong. And if you thinking working the electronics counter's "awesome" than you should definitely be there Boxing Day when irate parents bring back the broken Nintendo systems and scream for a replacement, which you don't have in stock... Then repeat this three of four times with various systems.

Its not that these things don't happen everyday, but their annoyance factor goes up ten fold when you realize these people have a day off and you don't. Naturally, annoyance grows to bitterness and bitterness grows to resentment. And in these tough economic times, you don't want to resent your job. I don't know if its the time or people's general lack of imagination, but if no one scrambled to the mall on their day off, then it wouldn't need to be open.

So next time you think about hitting the stores on national holiday, please remember that you are one of the few, you lucky few, that still gets the most basic of entitlements: a day off as scheduled. Remember the wise words of Dante Hicks: "I'm not even supposed to be here today."

No comments: