Sunday, April 13, 2008

What Is Yours is Mine

I've mentioned several times that I'm a trucker. I took a ten year break from trucking to work for the United States Postal Service. Yep, I was a union card carrying postal worker. If you look at the url of this site, you'll see it says crazedpw. That was meant to mean crazed postal worker. I was a clerk with guns. Oh My God, what if I had gone nuts?!? I started this blog about eight or nine months after I resigned my position. On my About page, it says I've been on blogger since May 2007. Actually, if you peruse my archives, you'll see my first post was in August of 2004. I didn't do much for some time, but it was there. One of the conversions to a "new" blogger version accounted for the date discrepancy.

At any rate, I am a former postal worker. I used to say I was "gruntled" rather than disgruntled, but in retrospect, that is wrong. I was very unhappy working there. A lot of my health problems can be traced to the stress of working for that fine institution. My friends can tell you how I returned to the human race after I quit. I was no fun to be around whilst in their employ. Quitting wasn't easy - I was about maxed out on the pay scale, so I made decent money. The benefits were very good. I just couldn't stand to go there every day anymore.

I haven't written much about my experiences there. Oh yeah, there is a LOT of blog fodder to be mined. If I talk about it much with my friends, I generally go ballistic and my blood pressure goes up, and my day goes downhill. So, I've left it alone for quite some time. Most of my complaints deal with management - but the American Postal Worker's Union (APWU) didn't show me much, either. The constant battling (from both sides) and underhanded tactics to gain even the slightest appearance of an advantage didn't age well with me.

So, I'm gonna relate a rather minor incident that to my thinking illustrates the liberal point of view towards property rights and ownership of personal items. We were given a half hour for lunch. I liked to read a newspaper during this time - I usually brought a sandwich or a frozen dinner to snarf down. Thirty minutes isn't a long time to eat. The break room got a free newspaper every day, and it was pretty hard to get a decent section to read when the place was hopping. It was also a copy of The Hutchinson News. It's a fine paper, but I've alway preferred The Wichita Eagle. At that time, the Eagle had cut back on deliveries beyond Wichita, and getting one in Western Kansas could be a problem. For a while, there were entrepreneurs that brought copies out to us country folk for an extra quarter - thus the paper cost seventy five cents rather than the posted fifty. So, I'd stop at a Quick Shop before work and grab a copy so I'd have something to read at lunch. Simple enough.

I always left the copy in the break room after I was finished reading. I shared. Why let it go to waste - I could have thrown the damn thing away, but it never occurred to me. But, that wasn't enough.

One day I was chowing down while reading a section of the paper, and one of the union bigwigs was sitting next to me. He started to take my paper.

What are you doing?

I'm gonna read this section.

But I'm not done with it.

You're not reading it now.

I don't care, I'm going to. It's my paper. You can have it after I'm done.

What difference does it make? You aren't reading it now.

Don't you even ask before trying to take my paper? Buy your own damn paper.

At this point, the president of our local stepped in - on his union brother's side. I was selfish for not sharing, even though I let people read the sections as I finished. My protestations about the actual ownership of said newspaper fell on deaf ears. I literally couldn't believe what was happening. I fell through the rabbit hole that day. I finally said "Enough. It's my paper. I bought it. You can't read it until I'm done, and I've been nice enough to let y'all read the sections as I'm finished, but that stops right now. It's going in the trash from now on."

For several weeks, I guarded my paper, and when I was done, I put it with my other belongings and threw it away at home. Those assholes would have dug it out of the trash, and I wasn't leaving it there for them. I finally relented and left it in the break room - the other shift read it too and they missed it as well.

This little incident revealed to me the normal thinking of the liberal mindset. Literally, what was mine was theirs to use as they saw fit, no matter the ownership. The discussion degenerated into my pointing out that with this sort of thinking, I expected to jump in their vehicles at the end of the shift and be able to drive myself home on their dime. That was different, because that was their property. But, since they wanted to read that paper Immediately If Not Before, the ends justified the means.

So, when I hear Hillary or Obama yammering on about sacrifices for the common good, and how we need this entitlement program or another, this little incident comes to mind. It's ok to take my money, even if it's a drop in the bucket compared to the income they pull down. They aren't volunteering their money for these projects, in fact, they'll do everything necessary to hang on to every penny they can. My money, not so much. Hypocrisy means nothing to these people.


The Local Malcontent said...

This is a truly revealing, chilling post; and it really does reflect the underlying communitive treatment of personal possessions.

The socialism drempt for by so many, is only a good man's inaction away. Good On You for how you stood up to it!

Anonymous said...

Good (depressing) story about another union jerk throwing his power around.

A guy I know worked for UPS and had to suffer having a supervisor ride around with him for a few days. He hated the guy and couldn't stand to be around him so at lunch time he asked him where he wanted to go. The supervisor said Burger King so my friend drove there and waited for him to get out of the truck. The supervisor said aren't you coming in? My friend said no, I'm going to Pizza Ranch. I'll pick you up after I eat, and drove off.

It's a challenge figuring out ways to fight back without adding to your problems. Glad you survived it.

Anonymous said...

You just hit on my pet peeve - along with co-workers ignoring ringing phones. If I buy a paper or magazine, it's MINE until I put it on a common area table. I'm worse - I can't even bear to have someone rifle the pages, even if they say they'll put it back in order and fold it correctly. It's just not the same as cracking open a virgin paper or magazine. Good for you - I would have started eating in my office. Wait, I DO eat in my office. Glad you're enjoying the time now.

Bob's Blog said...

You got that right.

Sezme said...

1. I have not been well since I started working at my school. I'm not the only one, either.

2. Your union sounds like my union--NEA/NJEA.

Oy. I wish I could quit.

Jeffro said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone.

rt: Boy do I understand your reasons for being unable to quit. I make about two thirds what I used to (more like half considering no work for five months). It was very difficult for me to leave even though I had other options.

But the idea of staying there scared me more.

Mo K said...

Damn. Good for you, Jeffro! You were doing a nice thing by being thoughtful of your co-workers and not pitching something you thought would be enjoyed by others. That used to be a fairly common thing, but it's not so much anymore, and for that I applaud you.

Those same folks who are selfish are damned clueless, besides -- disrespecting someone who gives them something free.
I would have reacted the same way.