Some years ago, I worked for a popular semi-national outdoor retailer. We had mostly great and knowledgeable people working there, people who knew the outdoors. It wasn’t worth it for most customers to go across the street to the truly national big box retailer to save a few cents on this item and a couple of bucks on that one, as its employees were unable to provide the service (and passion) that ours did. We took our jobs seriously and did them well, but we also had fun. We wore “I-Rads” (basically a high-tech walkie-talkie with earbuds) to communicate with each other, so we could help customers faster. At the time, we had a custom mix of music play softly over the store’s public address system and through our I-Rads, as well. We had impromptu “guess the artist contests,” and joked around quite a bit, never crossing the line or engaging in profanity or “hate speech.” We had nicknames like “Stubby,” “Big E,” “U-Man,” “TC,” and “Purple Haze.”
Unfortunately, over time, the family atmosphere gradually dissolved as successive waves of failed corporate retreads were brought into upper echelons of our corporate management as we, too, grew ever larger, as if they could succeed in the outdoor retail industry when they could not in the industry from whence they came. Corporate Speak took over. We spent more and more time on conference calls, talking of “best practices,” “takeaways,” and “KPIs,” and less and less time serving our customers…even as we discussed the importance of customer service at length in our backroom management meetings.
Political correctness was stressed above all else. We had many training sessions and interactive role-play exercises to make sure we wouldn’t offend anyone in “marginalized communities.” We were not allowed to use the I-rads for anything but business, the business now being more about trying to sell extended warranties and sign folks up for credit cards, and less about outfitting people for a great outdoor experience. These new management teams kept chipping away at our individuality, as our individual rights went away, too. (The store manager at the time I left the company had an MSNBC News Update App on his cell phone. I felt that was illustrative. He knew about as much about hunting, fishing and camping as AOC or Rep. Jerry Nadler.)
Whether they were all leftists or not, I don’t know for sure, but, like all leftists, they were hypocrites. I won’t waste the time to tell the stories here, but they were legion. And they would often smirk at inappropriate times, such as when making an associate feel bad or small. Yet, when someone made a good-taste joke or pun, they would often say, “It’s not that funny, is it?” Over time it became clear that, like all good leftists, they disdained humor, that life-sustaining anomaly of homo sapiens. Big corporations-- and those who run them—often disdain humor because therein lies true individuality and control. And often, more than a little truth. They hate humor because they fear it, as they hate and fear anything that can interfere with their own power or give those over whom they rule pleasure that they themselves haven’t previously sanctioned.
In the span of two or three years, we went from humming Bob Seger and Brad Paisley while servicing our burgeoning client base…to internalizing the last line of Al Stewart’s 1970s masterpiece, Roads to Moscow: “…and the steely, Russian skies go on…Forever.”
The corporate geniuses couldn’t figure out why our customers disappeared, as well.
Why do I tell this tale?
The same thing is now happening on a national level, to America as a whole. Leftists have taken control of our government and our institutions. These hypocrites tell us to do as they say, not as they do. They are continually chipping away at our individuality and our individual rights. They are arrogant but incompetent. They are smothering creativity, thought, speech and productivity under a vast leaden blanket of critical race theory and political correctness. They turn vibrant colors into dull greys, even as they see Black and white everywhere. And they generally disdain humor.
The company I worked for eventually filed for bankruptcy. It was purchased for pennies on the dollar and is now headed by an anti-Trump zealot.
Think about that for a minute.
It’s not that funny…is it?