Wednesday, 14 December 2016 15:44

Winter blues can make people see red

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Take a moment right now and think of those in the service industries and the verbal/written abuse they are currently taking  this December. 

Then stop and think: Did you say something to contribute to this negative outpouring?
We’re not sure if it’s because the weather is cold and making everyone miserable or because social media makes every complaint, gripe, whine or problem that much more accessible to that many more eyes, but this year seems to be a cesspool of negativity.  It’s Christmas. Really? Hard to tell.
Watching the social media these days — either Twitter, Facebook or website comment sections — those who serve in restaurants, stores, or municipal workers who keep roads clear and sanded apparently have lost their minds, abilities, motivation or desire to provide any kind of good service.
It’s amazing how the number of complaints always seem to increase around Christmas when people are scurrying out of their homes onto snow- and ice-slicked roads. They believe they need to make up for year-long neglect of friends/family.
It happens every year. It would be understandable and perhaps prudent for those who work in such professions where the public has to be served in some sort of capacity, to stay away from social media. Those workers shouldn’t bother because it’s ugly out there.
In a time where “joy to the world” is supposed to be celebrated and “peace on earth and good will to all” people is encouraged, all we get is the peanut gallery who say a certain store has rude clerks or a lousy selection of products or their neighbourhood hasn’t been plowed or sanded and it’s either because of incompetence or it’s a conspiracy.
One question needs to be asked and everyone forgets it all the time: Could you do better? While it’s easy to make off-the-cuff remarks and angrily mock supposed “do-able” duties, until such time as those complainers have actually done duties such as be a clerk in a retail store having to explain why the company’s head office that the beleaguered clerk literally has no control over, shorted a mass order of Hatchimals or that Saskatchewan Roughrider garden gnome.  Maybe if people weren’t purchasing so many goods online, perhaps stores might have better selection or could afford more workers to help.
Or how about those workers who didn’t get the sanders out right away? They did the main routes to the schools, hospitals and highways but didn’t do in front of their houses? That’s not even mentioning the fact all of those people including emergency responders who have to spend a lot of time outdoors — which the last time anyone checked lately has been mind numbing cold.
Honestly, the complainers of the world need to take a deep breath and give those serving the benefit of the doubt. There is only so much that can be done in a short period of time. There has to be personal accountability which needs to take place. Can’t find that gift? Shop earlier. Didn’t get to your scheduled destination on time? Leave earlier.
It’s winter. There’s snow, ice and people generally travel slower in vehicles and on foot so make the appropriate changes to your schedule. It’s no longer a smart idea to weave in and out of lanes in traffic; you really shouldn’t be texting anyway but mixing that practice with a patch of ice is a recipe for disaster and speeding no matter the size of the community you live in, is not a good idea. Scraping the snow off the road or sanding isn’t going to stop you if you’re not paying attention or speeding.
Yes, it would be naive to think all workers are trying their hardest nor are they all in the best moods 100 per cent of the time —  it’s called being human. Why are their such issues? Attitude. Attitude is often a reflection of who they are dealing with, so the next time a clerk is snarky after you ask them a question, ask yourself honestly, were you the one who was rude first?
Above all else, think before you speak or type. It’s easy to make comments unopposed behind a keyboard, but remember the world is watching. Unless you live in a big city where you can blissfully be anonymous, there’s very small degrees of separation in small communities which could have some not-so-great repercussions down the road.
Ryan Dahlman is managing editor with the Prairie Post. Contact him with your comments about this opinion piece at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor