Friday, August 03, 2012

The Other Side of the Labor Coin

My previous blog post was about customer service, but lest I implied anything I didn't want to, let me add something about the other side of that coin.

 Sometimes, some people say that because a company doesn't treat their employees well, therefore they will not support that company.  Now, I do understand that philosophy if we're talking about true slave labor.  Slavery in any form is wrong and an injustice, and I often buy fair trade coffee from Trader Joe's in the hopes of not supporting slave labor.

However, if we're just thinking that a company treats their employees with poor wages or hours, little or no benefits, etc., and therefore we decide we won't support that company, what's the alternative?  I don't mean what's the alternative for us. I mean what's the alternative for the employees?  'Tis better to struggle and live than...well, you get the idea, right?

What I wanted, in my post about customer service people, was for us all to stop and think (and I say "us" because I need to remind myself, now and then, too). I wanted us to remember that service employees sometimes have it pretty rough, and to give them a break...most of all, to show them respect and courtesy.  They work hard and that's what our country was made of, hard work. But no, I do not say that because a company doesn't treat their employees as well as we might think they should; therefore I won't shop there.  I would not take away their jobs for anything in the world.

In fact, that's why I often choose to stand in a line rather than use the self-scan registers...not always, if I'm in a big hurry...but especially when the service lines are short.  Because it's quite possible that tomorrow's or next month's or even next year's hiring may be based on how many people use those registers today.

That's why I sometimes make it a point to buy in person rather than online, again, not always; it depends on what I'm buying.  But sometimes I will even research the item online, but then buy it in the store, just so I can support the local store. Even if it's part of a major chain, it's still a local store and it's operation is definitely affected by local buying habits.

So, while my recent post was about the plight of those who work customer service, who sometimes receive too little money and too few hours, it was really about being kind to them, and that applies both to showing them the respect they deserve for their hard work and to helping them continue to have a job to work.  

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