Peasants In America

Most people in America are peasants. They would never admit it, but that’s the kind of life most live. They own very little. They work five days a week, 8 hours a day, at jobs that do not make them rich, but it makes whoever owns the company they work for rich.

An American dream is to own a house – or it used to be. Home ownership leads to being tied to working 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

There are 168 hours in a week. IF, and they usually don’t, but if the peasants sleep 8 hours a night for 7 days a week, that uses up 56 of those hours. Most peasants are sleep deprived because working 40 hours a week means they don’t have time for much of anything else. If you add the 56 hours sleeping to the 40 hours working, you get 96 hours a week. That doesn’t count any overtime work, paid or not paid. If you are “salaried” in America, you don’t get any overtime pay. You get paid a set amount for the job, no matter how much time you spend doing it. School teachers are salaried employees and they work more than 40 hours a week, but don’t get any additional pay.

Most people who are paid according to how many hours they work will welcome overtime work because it is usually paid at 1 1/2 times the regular rate of pay. They welcome it because they cannot afford much of anythng with their regular 40 hour a week paycheck.

I’ve digressed. Work plus sleep equals 96 hours a week. When you subtract that from 168, you get 72 hours a week of “freedom”. Some of this time will be spent “commuting” to your place of work. For my last job, I spent twenty minutes driving from my home to my workplace. That was 40 minutes every day in my car driving. Some people spend thirty minutes or more communting to work. Let’s say a peasant spends thirty minutes each way getting to and from work. That’s an hour each day. If the peasant works five days a week, that’s five hours gone. 72 minus 5 equals 67.

A peasant has to be clean for most jobs. That means they shower daily. They have to get dressed for work, dressed for bed, and dressed for other activities. If a peasant spends 15 minutes a day getting dressed for each activity, they spend at least 30 minutes a day doing this. If they spend 15 minutes taking a shower, that brings this total to 45 minutes. Then there is teeth brushing, laundry, some housework, and some have yard work as well. If you subtract the 45 minutes of showering and getting dressed . . . Let’s call it an hour because many people spend more time than that. There’s makeup and hair and selecting clothes to wear . . . Let’s say most people spend an hour a day dressing or getting ready to be presentable, and undressing or changing clothes for non-work activities. That’s 7 more hours out of the week. Now we’re down to 60 hours a week of free time.

How long does the average peasant take to eat? Does the peasant also fix his own meal, or does s/he go out for it? This also takes time. There are three meals a day. School teachers get about 20 minutes for lunch, if they’re lucky. That’s the amount of time alloted to eating the lunch. It still has to be either purchased or prepared. Let’s call it thirty minutes a day per meal and assume most peasants eat three meals a day. That’s an hour and a half per day for preparing and eating food. Multiply that by 7, because there are 7 days in a week. You get 10.5 hours a week eating and preparing food. Subtract that from 60 and you have 49.5 hours a week “free”. This still does not count the time spent doing laundry, cleaning house, or doing yardwork. But if you divide the 49.5 by 7, you get roughly 7 hours a day of “free time”.

Most of this free time you are tired from working at least 8 hours a day. You spend part of that time paying bills with the money you earn when you exchange your time for dollars. In America, there are many taxes to pay. The government takes taxes out of your earned money when you make it and then again takes taxes when you spend it. Americans “file taxes” once a year to be sure that according to how much money they earn, the government gets what it considers to be its fair share. If you have bought anything like a house or property in America and you sell it, you must pay taxes as well. There are county taxes and federal taxes and in many states, state taxes for many different things. There is money taken for social security, which is income provided for “old age”. If you die before you are old enough to collect all this social security money back, you just forfeit that money that has been taken out of every paycheck you ever earned. How much “tax” goes into the social security collection? Each person and their employer contributes 12.4 percent total of the person’s earnings to this collection. Each person contributes half of this amount, or 6.2% out of every dollar earned for a whole lifetime with no guarantee of living long enough to get it back. The employer pays the other 6.2%.

Social Security is financed by a 12.4 percent tax on wages up to the taxable-earnings cap, with half (6.2 percent) paid by workers and the other half paid by employers. This taxable wage base usually goes up each year—it rose from $117,000 in 2014 to $118,500 in 2015, but stayed put at that level for 2016.Oct 18, 2016″  (found online https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/compensation/pages/fica-social-security-tax-2017.aspx)

Most people don’t stop to think about how little free time they have in America. They’re too busy working and worrying about bills and health and other worrisome things. This keeps the peasant’s mind occupied so they don’t realize they are peasants.

College graduates who have been told that education would improve their lot in life graduate saddled with thousands of dollars in student loan debts. That is another guarantee that they will live a conforming peasant style life and “contribute to society”, which is actually making sure the rich stay rich while the peasant believes the lies of the American dream. Although the money many borrowed is government money, the college graduates (or even non-graduates, but college attendees) pay high interest rates for borrowing this money. Many end up paying twice what they borrowed back for the privilege of having enough education to do a higher paid job in America. I don’t know where the interest on this money goes, but since many of the loans come from the government, I would assume the government keeps the “interest” money as well.

Merriam-Webster defines a peasant this way:  :  “a member of a European class of persons tilling the soil as small landowners or as laborers.”

Americans are a class of laborers, whether it be skilled or unskilled. Most Americans enjoy the peasant lifestyle.

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Why Didn’t You Listen the First Hundred Times?

Food Lion is currently being boycotted by me. I may never return. I’ve written about the problems in their stores before.

CVS, who was my drugstore for years, also is no longer a member of my consumer family. It’s funny that I wrote time after time about how CVS employees treated me and the problems I had with their store and no one cared. I’d still go in, after filing a complaint,  and could see them getting ready to torment me. My prescription had not been filled, even though the email/text had said it was ready for pickup. Or it had been filled with four pills and the rest of my order would be in day after tomorrow. I’d need to come back for those. Or the doctor hadn’t called in the prescription yet, although it was yesterday when he was to call it in and when I called his office, he said he HAD called it in, but he’d do it again. . .

I always felt like the employees saw me as some kind of joke. From time to time I suffer anxiety, and somethings others might shrug off truly upset me. If you ever let anyone with little power see your weaknesses, they tend to exploit it, as that’s the only power they have or ever will have.

So I’d go in to CVS, get upset, come home and fill out a complaint form online. I’d be assured my comments mattered and that they would be “looked into”. Then the next time I went – and I went frequently, for I had many health problems in recent years – I’d endure the same kind of cavalier, we don’t care, who are you, and ha, ha, ha . . . treatment I’d just complained about.

Finally one day I received a flyer from Rite Aid in the mail. They would give me 2500 Plenti Points for any transferred prescription. I called the store to find out what Plenti Points were. They equal shopping dollars. 2500 equals $25 in store credit. So, if I transfer my prescriptions from CVS, I get to buy $25 worth of Rite Aid merchandise without paying anything? Sweet. I told the woman on the phone that I had about 30 prescriptions to transfer. She said I could only do two at a time. $50 in store credit? I’d be right in.

It turned out that I didn’t transfer all my prescriptions. I stopped needing some of them. But I did transfer a few and it felt so good to do it.

Then I began to get letters in the mail from CVS. They wanted me to come back. They told me glorious things they would do, if I came back with my prescriptions.

I told my son, who has worked for health insurance companies, what I’d done. I was so proud of the $25 in-store credit I got just by leaving a nasty acting place for one who appeared to value me. “Mom,” he said, “Drugs are expensive. When you transfer a prescription, you are giving that drugstore far more money than they’re giving you.” Yes, but they are giving me peace of mind and I enjoy walking into Rite Aid. I would tense up at CVS as I parked my car.

Rite Aid has, on a time or two, apologized for not having my prescription ready, or not having quite enough pills to completely fill one, but they make me feel like they care. That’s all I wanted from CVS. The employees in their prescription department in my small town acted like I was some kind of diversion to them when I walked in and they seemed to smirk and enjoy any problems they could cause me.

Now their headquarters, who received numerous complaints from me want me to come back. No. They should have listened to me the first hundred times I contacted them. Why would I go to that hell again when I have finally escaped it?

I’m feeling the same way about Food Lion. Maybe instead of writing to the headquarters or making complaints, I just need to stop going to places that I truly hate to go to for whatever reason. I’m sure Food Lion will continue on without me, as has CVS. However, I will continue on better without them, and my dollars will be spent elsewhere.

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It’s Acceptable Now

I just tried to contact HP (Hewlett Packard) and twice my email bounced back and said they were sorry my email to customer service could not be sent. Twice. I contacted them, or tried to, because HP sent color ink when I ordered black ink in December. When I contacted them when the order arrived, they said to keep the color ink as a Christmas gift and they would send the black ink. I STILL don’t have the black ink and now it seems I cannot contact them through the email link on their website. I ordered the ink in mid December 2015. It is January 14, 2016 today. I paid for the ink. They took my money and then sent the wrong thing, but it’s my problem, it seems. Now their website bounces back my email to customer service – twice. Am I to be tolerant and say it’s ok? I’ll try again tomorrow and hope their system is working?

Shoddy service was not tolerated in the past. But it’s acceptable now. I have spent thirty minutes on this computer trying to correct a company’s mistake and cannot reach that company through their website email. They obviously have no intention of correcting their mistake themselves without more complaining from me.

This is the “norm” in America now. I’ve been in businesses and could not use a debit card because their card reader was “down”.

I’ve been in banks and could not conduct business because their computers were down.

Yet we are told how much better our lives are today because of technology.

That’s a lie.

Our lives are worse and even worse than that, we have begun to accept shoddy work and to accept it as the norm.

Think about the interactions you have in stores. I’ve been in stores where the cashiers were yelling at each other about what plans they had for that night as they rang up my purchases. If I’d had a robot, I could have sent him to make the purchases and no one would have noticed. The cashier never smiled at me. The cashier only spoke to me to tell me how much I owed. I went elsewhere the next time I shopped.

My generation was proud of the work we did. No matter if we were cashiering in a store, refinishing furniture, or taking care of patients in a hospital . . . we took pride in our work.

What I see today is a bunch of adults who, for the most part, want to do as little work as possible and still get a paycheck. There is no pride. There is no shame. It’s too easy to blame technology for all the faults of the people who are working and not getting the work done.

Shame on employees who refuse to do their jobs. I hope you all lose the jobs you have. You don’t deserve a job, if you don’t do it right.

 

Making a List and They’re All Bad

KFC and Taco Bell are partners in one building in a small restaurant in my town. I’ve given up on Taco Bell and that means KFC doesn’t get my business any more either because the same employees work both sections.

I saw the following link (at the bottom) posted about KFC and have been trying to figure out why fast food places are so terrible to go to lately. I came up with this explanation: I think the $15 an hour demand is making customers expect more because obviously that’s what the service is worth and it’s making the employees give less, because they’re disgruntled, so they all are going to lose.

These fast food places with all their clamoring employees will be closed down within the next couple years. Then they’ll wish they could find any job at all.

I am making of list of places I’ll no longer go to and Taco Bell had already dragged KFC onto that list. I notice the quality of the food I buy and I notice the care the employees take when they take my order and fix my tray. McDonalds always gets the order right here. The employees are friendly, accurate and fast. The food is always good.

Most other places are making their way onto my list. I notice on facebook others complaining as well and vowing to “never go back” after a terrible experience.

We can cook for ourselves and usually the food is as good or better than fast food. We don’t need the fast food places – at least not the ones making my “avoid at all costs” list.

Disgusted Diner Shows What KFC’s Ricebox Meal Actually Looks Like

I Am Too Sick To Shop At Food Lion

I never have a whole good day anymore. Rather I wake up and cannot always judge by my ability to get out of bed whether or not I’ll do well for awhile. Once I’m up and moving around I can tell by the pain – by how much there is – whether or not I should even tackle any chore today.

It’s nobody’s fault, but mine. I bossed this body around for years. I made it do things it didn’t feel like doing, or probably shouldn’t be doing. Now for the last few years it has started to rebel.

I took some children to roller skate one day as a substitute teacher one day several years ago. One of the regular teacher assistants got out on the floor with them. She waved at me to join them. Yeah, my body hissed at me . . . go on out there . . . go get a pair of skates, they’re free for you today, you know? I’ll go with you. Put them on your feet and SKATE! I shook my head at the teacher assistant as she skated by, but I did go stand by the rail so I could see the children better. It wasn’t long before the teacher assistant was flat on her back on the skating rink floor. That could have been YOU! my body hissed. “I know, SHUT UP!” I hissed back.

The rescue squad had to be called and the teacher assistant was whisked away. She apologized as she passed by me on the stretcher. “I’m only fifty,” she said. I nodded my older head at her.

Once my body realized it had the upper hand, it has seemed to enjoy the limitations it places on my activities. Now it’s demanded that I stop working. I loved my job. I didn’t want to stop. I tried working half days, but could not even do that. I’m out to pasture.

Because of my ailments, I like to stay close to home. There is a Food Lion less than a mile from my house and I love how close it is to me. I do not love how it is run. Recently it had been remodeled. I believe remodeling is still going on. It looks nicer. However, they have moved the Customer Service Desk all the way across the store from the Office. Before when you walked up to the desk, someone would come out of the office within five minutes. Now you can wait, and wait and wait, and you have to get loud or obnoxious for anyone to care that you are WAITING to be waited on.

I was in there day before yesterday with my son. He helps me shop as part of my body’s rebellion includes my not being able to stand or walk for prolonged periods of time. I cannot walk up and down every aisle anymore. Four aisles are about my limit. So I got my few items and met him at the front of the store where he transferred the contents of my cart into his. Then he got in line to check out. I hobbled over to the Customer Service Desk. No one, as usual, was there. I stood waiting. I looked around and noticed my vision was beginning to blur. I looked behind me for the bench that is so handy to sit on. It was gone! So I continued to stand. My son was checking out when I noticed three people come out of the Office on the other side of the store. Surely they saw me standing there. Surely they’d be over in a minute. My son finished checking out almost $100 worth of groceries and he walked to the Customer Service Desk. “Are you ready to go?” he asked.

“No,” I told him. “No one has come to wait on me yet.” I pointed towards the three laughing, talking employees who stood by the Office door. I told him, “Those three people came out a little while ago and I thought one of them would come over soon, but they haven’t.”

He looked over at the group of employees. “There’s FIVE people standing there laughing and talking,” he told me.

That set me off. I got LOUD. I asked the nearest cashier in a LOUD voice if anyone was ever coming to the Customer Service Desk? She looked embarrassed and confused. She glanced at the group by the office.

I got LOUDER. “DOES ANYONE WORK HERE WHO CAN HANDLE A PURCHASE AT THE CUSTOMER SERVICE DESK?????” The five conversing, laughing employees gawked at me. One reluctantly tore herself away and wandered over. I made my purchase. She thanked me and I didn’t say anything back because the only words ready to come out were unacceptable.

I told my son as we were leaving that this was our LAST trip to that Food Lion. He nodded.

There is another grocery store that isn’t as close and the prices are higher, but the service is great. I’ll drive a little farther and spend more, but I won’t have to stand on shaking legs with my vision getting more and more blurry as employees, who think they are at work to socialize, ignore me.