Happy 4th of July 2018; or, Don’t Tell Us You’re Sorry We’re Open Today

Phone Call #1 (Completed)

Usually, like 99.99% of the time, if we answer the phone, it means we’re open. Don’t ask the dumb question.

I’ve been busier recently than I’d hoped I would be, so there will be no holiday comic for the Fourth this year. Sorry about that, comrades. In lieu of that, here’s a throwback to the first Phone Call comic I published. Why this one, exactly?

Because there are many businesses open today, and that’s pretty shitty, honestly.

Thankfully, my job is not one of them, but I have had a job that has stayed open on the Fourth. When I used to sell liquor retail, we were open today. I spent two Fourths working the drive-thru, filling orders for thirsty revelers. Gas stations are also open today. I was saddened to find that my local pet supply store is open until 5 pm today. Even trash is being collected from my house today. It’s just kind of sad that, as a country, we don’t allow all of our citizens to celebrate one of the most important holidays on the calendar.

I understand that there’s a reason for this: There’s money to be made. That’s right; YOU are the reason they’re open. Not you specifically, but you, the public. If there’s a buck to be made, the store will be open. Thankfully, in recent years, there has been a sentiment of moving away from this type of rampant commercialism. Part of that is a direct result of online retailers, like Amazon, rising up and taking over the world, but that’s not the whole story. Unfortunately, family always comes second in retail and service industry work (and any company that says to you otherwise is lying to you), and there are many businesses who remain open today.

I’m not saying to avoid patronizing them. Hell, you may need more ground beef or beer or firecrackers or beer or sausages or beer, and need to go to one of these stores. If you need to or choose to, that’s your choice, and that’s fine. Just promise me one thing: Don’t say anything along the lines of: “It sucks that you’re open today.”

Seriously, don’t.

It’s a harmless enough thing that seemingly presents sympathy and concern. However, to a person who is ringing up your purchases, hearing I’m sorry that you’re open from the person who is a directly contributing factor to them being stuck there ringing up your purchases on a national holiday is like a slap in the face. We know you really don’t feel bad for us, because you’re in here buying from us. On the contrary, you’re glad we’re open on a national holiday to cover up for your poor planning skills. All of your words ring hollow in the ears of someone forced to work while everyone else is off and relaxing and celebrating. It’s salt in a wound. While it might soothe your conscience a little, it does the exact opposite to them. I  know this has become a more selfish world, and that needs to change, but have a little consideration for your service industry workers today.

People have been asking me this week what my plans are for today. I told them, “as little as humanly possible.” Because I’m afforded that incredible luxury. But just keep in mind as you’re avoiding blowing off your fingers with Black Cats or burning off your eyebrows over a grill, that not everyone is that lucky. So, please, don’t remind them that they’re stuck there for the day. It’s just mean.

Anyway, have a happy 4th of July to my fellow Americans at home and abroad. Don’t drown or blow yourself up.

-The Retail Explorer

P.S. Don’t anyone start with the tired, old “Well, they chose this profession, so…” That’s just as harmful and callous. More often than not, it’s not a matter of choosing, but more a matter of being stuck with it. This is a thing for a much longer post for a much different day. Thank you. Hugs and kisses.

Escape

For anyone unfamiliar with Texas Country music, there’s a singer named Pat Green, who really helped put the Texas music scene on the map in the early aughts. Now, that’s not to say that he was the one who got Texas music started; far from it. The Texas music scene has been around in much the same capacity as it has been since Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, Guy Clark, and even Jimmy Buffett roamed the Texas landscape. Green’s popularity, however, helped put Texas Country, also known as “Red Dirt Music”, out in a position of prominence again and helped shine a light on so many talented musicians which call this area home.

(Of course, by the same token, this is a singer who also said he’d never want to go to Nashville…until Nashville told them how many zeros they wanted to add to his record deal. I guess everyone has their price. Yet, I digress.)

Anyway, Green has a great song, entitled “Carry On”. The chorus begins with these lines:

“Everybody’s gotta get away sometime,
Forget about yourself for a while.
Seems to me that all you need
Is a ragtop car and a ride with me.”

It speaks to the simple joys of escapism. Everyone has a place they hold dear to them, some place of significant happiness and peace, where they often return by some means to rejuvenate their spirit.

For me, that place is northern New Mexico. If you can’t find serenity here, you’re doing something wrong. I could stare at the Brazos Cliffs and the Pedernale all day and never tire of the experience, or lack thereof. The stillness is magnificent.

We took advantage of the holiday weekend to come back here for the first time in over a year. Customers can grind you down, as can the day-to-day of running a shop and an aviation business.

Fortunately, it also comes at a time right at the transition point between two points in my webcomic’s story, whose second chapter begins Thursday. It’s an incredibly fortunate position for me, and I plan to take full advantage of it, recharging myself and planning out the run of this next story chapter. I’m excited to be here.

Mental health is incredibly important, and if you’re struggling to maintain yours, find your getaway as soon as you can. Find your escape, and even if it’s only in your mind, get there and revel in joy it brings you.

Where is your escape, comrades?

-The Retail Explorer