Saturday, 25 June 2011

You'll get your just desserts. (...I hope.)

Yes, the last post was a blog post. But now that I've got that out of my system I can (quite happily) return to not writing a blog.

This is a lament on the state of integrity today.

I have many food allergies, including wheat, dairy, sugar and egg. Because of this, I am often deprived of dessert. Fortunately for me (and occasionally the sanity of those around me,) I live five minutes away from a raw food restaurant called Live Food Bar. Live's menu is wheat, dairy, sugar, and egg free. I can eat their dessert, or anything else on the menu for that matter, and it is amazing. Amazing. So on Thursday I was happy to accept the invitation to have dessert at Live with two small blondes. (By the way, if you're reading this Carlee and Megan, I also referred to you as two small blondes to the Red Tea Box staff when your streetcar was delayed, and they suggested I start a band under that name. They must know how talented I am.)

Right beside this wonderful raw food haven happens to be my drycleaners. Pick up some freshly-hemmed jeans, eat some freshly-baked dessert, head home to a working fridge. That's the kind of simple life for me. But when I stopped at the drycleaners (en route to dessert) for a quick pick-up, they explained to me that the sweater I was getting cleaned had been stained (read - ruined) in the process. They offered to give me back the sweater at no charge after they had sewn up two tiny, worthless holes, for free of course.

I'm not good at these things. I was in a rush. There was a language barrier. I said OK. I paid for the rest of my items. I went to meet two small blondes for dessert at Live.

Half-way through the meal I mentioned what had happened.

"What?!" (Cried the two small blondes).
"You shoudn't have paid!"
"They should have offered to replace the sweater! That happened to me in Ottawa with a skirt & I got reimbursed."

"Oh god. So what do I do?" (Me.)

"Go back and tell them you were in a rush to meet your friends, and ask if they can do anything else."

So I did just that. Today.

I came back empty-handed.

I had politely explained my point of view to the owners and asked for a $75 credit. Reasonable, right? Half the price of the sweater. They said no. That was too much. Their time was too valuable. They'd give me $40. I said that that wasn't good enough and I was taking my business elsewhere (I despise saying things like this. I don't know why.) They could keep the sweater.

I took my things to the cleaners last week, and this week discovered that I'd taken myself instead.

(Musician boyfriend thinks I should have made a bigger stink about it. I like to think that they can see how short I am, and assume I must buy a lot of clothes based on my obvious fashion sense, and then calculate in their minds how many things I will not be paying them to hem in their future.)

Like many "take my business elsewhere" scenarios, this was not about the money. It was the principle. I want to get my drycleaning and tailoring done at a place that values their customers. A place that recognizes the disservice it has done unto others. A place that I can trust. A place I want to support. A place that cares. Etc. Etc Etc. (Quit your gagging, it's the truth.)

So why couldn't they have just apologized and then made a decent effort to make it up to their fellow human?

I got to thinking.

Michael Ignatieff, why did you miss so many days in Parliament?

Stephen Harper, why did you cover up the Alberta oil spill?

CEO's of big business, why are you just such all-around greedy bastards?

Even as I write this, an "energy salesman" knocked on my door and tried to scam me in my own home. Literally, I just got up from my computer mid-lament on integrity to answer the door to a swindler.  (Summit Energy, in case anyone cares.) How did he even get inside the building?

And so, lying glumly on my couch on a muggy, rainy Saturday, sweaterless and alone, I lament the lack of integrity in these people. In lots of people. In people I know and in people I don't. I just don't think it's that difficult to do the right thing. 

And all I wanted was a wheat-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, egg-free nainamo bar.

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