October 14, 2019
No Socks For Me!
We are visiting in Fort Bragg, a beautiful Northern California town, when I decide to step into a sock store, to maybe buy some socks to keep my feet warm or maybe just as a gift for one of the children in my life.
But there’s this sign on the door, and it pisses me off.
The sign says:
ALL Countries of Origin
ALL Sexual Orientations
WE STAND WITH YOU, YOU ARE SAFE HERE
I don’t go into the store. In fact, I walk away in disgust, but it makes me think, why does that holier-than-thou sign make me so mad?
In fact, if I ran a store, I would have the very same policy. As long as people had money in their pockets, I would sell them stuff. And if anybody made trouble, I would evict the rascal from the premises.
I would also have the same policy toward bigots – which come in all races, religions, nationalities, sexual orientations, and genders. One of my rules would be, don’t make trouble in my store no matter what your personal beliefs may be.
You may look, you may buy, but if you start insulting my other customers – then you are not “safe” here anymore. You are gone.
My problem isn’t with the policy. My problem is with the virtue-signaling that proclaims to the world and all the potential customers that the owners of the store are on a slightly higher moral plain than the great unwashed rest of us, including the ones with a little cash in their pocket and a passing urge to maybe buy some socks.
A couple of days later, we find the same sign showing up at another businesses in the area. This one was a restaurant in Mendocino with a lovely view of the ocean and a $16 charge for bacon and eggs. We decided to walk down the street to the Mendocino Hotel, where we could buy breakfast without a political lecture.
It’s not about the politics involved. People can believe what they want.
I would have the same problem with a store owned by Christians, who wanted to deliver a little sermonette to their customers before they sell them something. I think they have a right to do it. But, I have a right not to do business with them.
The only difference is that one set of business owners considers themselves superior to others because they are “saved.” The others because they are “woked.”
The sock store folks and the owners of the restaurant are not on a higher moral plain than the rest of us. They are just business people, trying to eke out a living in an area with a dying economy
The lumber industry, which once was the backbone of the Fort Bragg economy, is virtually gone. The fishing industry, one of the other financial legs of the local economy, is flailing because of both foreign and regional competition and a die-back of the kelp beds that helped sustain the marine population.
Tourism is also down. One by one, numerous restaurants and shops have closed over the last few years. The choices of dining and shopping that once existed here have diminished greatly.
It is beautiful up here, but living in a lovely locale beside the sea is not enough to put food on the table or to buy back-to-school clothes for the kids.
Who knows, I might even have bought two or three pairs of socks and some bacon and eggs.
They should have thought of that before they insulted me.
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