Whenever I hear conservatives preaching the gospel of Personal Responsibility, I think of that time when the assistant manager told me I needed to take better care of myself.
I was a restaurant server. Situation was, I had expressed anger at being scheduled for a third double-shift in a row, totaling seven shifts back to back, the very next day expecting me to close the lunch shift.
Digression 1: Oddly enough I was very calm and controlled in how I expressed my anger about this. Didn’t raise my voice or make a scene or anything.
Digression 2: Let’s not even get into the haphazard fuckery of giving us less than 1 day’s notice for the next week’s schedule. So much shit we restaurant workers accepted with minimal complaint.
ANYWAY. Seven shifts back to back, combined with a long, cumbersome mass-transit commute, makes for a very tired, sore, ill-used worker interfacing with a lot of customers. My general view of the situation was: How can anyone think it’s okay to do this to someone? How is this scheduling not self-evidently abusive?
I decided to look around the Hermes website earlier today for fun. And browsing through their products, I was actually more surprised when I saw some items that were sort-of-reasonably priced.
It’s not that I expect upscale design-house merch to be affordable to plebes like me. I expect some relationship between what the item costs and what it has to offer the consumer. And when I see an office wastebasket—doesn’t even have solid sides!—costing $8200, I just want to know: why does this shit even exist?
The question should not be: “Why does this apparently not-rich person want to buy a $395 belt?” A better question would be: “Why does a rich person want to buy a $395 belt?” Why does the $395 belt even exist? Why is anyone making a product that costs so much to do so little?
I don’t think it’s morally wrong to have lots of money. (Up to a point. There’s no good reason to be a billionaire in any currency approaching the value of USD.) I don’t think the emphasis should be on making sure no one is allowed to accumulate wealth. I just think, if it seems like a good idea to spend thousands of dollars on a thing of which the cheaper version works at least as well, and even the best version of the thing doesn’t do all that much? Then you’re doing something wrong. Pay your employees (especially including domestic help) more, or give more to charity, or your tax rate should be raised.
Come the revolution, the people in possession of $4500 desk blotters will be first against the wall.