Friday, June 20, 2008

Forced to share?

From an article this morning about people turning to vegetable gardening to ease their produce expenses:

"Absolutely it's a question of high price. But the best is the [families] will be forced to share what they are growing."

This pastor is talking about a gardening initiative started at his church where the families will bring in their extra harvest to share. That's very nice, but I object, quite strenuously, to the phrase "forced to share." Perhaps he's not familiar with the definition of sharing. Let's break it down, again ... Share means to divide something equally or give out a portion. What does "give" mean? It means to make a gift. What's a "gift"? It's something given to another in a show of friendship or affection.

Since when is force a good motivation for giving a gift?

And, the other thing that bugs me? There are no extras in gardening. Once upon a time, when people gardened to feed their families, extras were stored up for winter so that all may eat. And if the point of this story is that high prices at the grocery store are driving people to garden, then learning how to effectively store your harvest should be an admirable goal at least worth a mention.

But what about the community, you may ask? Well, my question is how does it affect the community when a family fails to take care of itself? Am I obligated to help those who don't or just won't take care of themselves? I really don't think so. Before you brand me a heartless hound, let me explain ... I have no objection to helping those in need. I object to being forced by my government to fork over a portion of my salary to help those in need. There's a difference. A BIG one.

Come to think of it, that's probably how the phrase "forced to share" became so common in our culture.

Adventures in no-customer service

At the not-so-clearly-marked Sam's Club customer disservice desk:
Me (to a woman whose talking on the phone and flirting with who is mostly likely her future baby daddy): Is this the service desk?
Woman: Yes. (continues talking on the phone.)
I wait. Dan starts shrieking.
Woman: Did you need some help?
Me: Uh, that's why I'm standing here.

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