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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Not my new normal



How many of you have been through Rockingham NC and stopped at the Holiday Restaurant? If you are a true southerner and you live anywhere near Rockingham, you might know this place. When I was a little girl, we drove 4 hours from Myrtle Beach to High Point NC at least once if not twice a month on Friday night after daddy got off work. Went to stay with my mom's parents, daddy got his hair cut at Murphy's on Saturday, I spent Saturday night with my cousins Cheryl and Brian, we went to Ennis Street Wesleyan Church Sunday morning, then drove four hours back to the beach. We always stopped for Sunday lunch at the Holiday. My parents were odd about this road trip business. Trust me, we did some crazy ass shit. My dad was working in Tampa Florida once? My mom would take me out of school on Firday, we would drive 12 hours to Tampa to see him and be back in time for me to go to school Monday morning..... Just sayin' that ain't right.....
Anyway. 


When Gerry and I went to his aunts funeral over Thanksgiving, we got hungry about the time we pulled into Rockingham. I clicked on my aroundme app to find a place to eat, and what do you know! The Holiday was the first thing that came up! Holy crap! It was pouring rain, we were gloomy about the day, and a nice meal at The Holiday seemed like just the thing. So we stopped. We were skeptical if it would be as good as we remembered. Gerry remembers it because..... Little side story here. My dad was nuts. He had a furniture mfg. business and instead of paying for shipping, he would have me pick up supplies in High Point, where I was living at the time, and meet him and mama at The Holiday to bring him whatever, staples, tack strips, foam rubber, fabric,cardboard, thread, bobbins, zippers. Lord, the stuff I could pile in my little VW Scirrocco. So my parents came up from Myrtle Beach, Gerry and I drove from High Point, we would have dinner together, unload the stuff I brought and go home.....
Anyway, the meal was incredible and just as we remembered. We both got fried Flounder and it was the biggest freshest piece of fish I have had in a long long time. Mashed potatoes, hush puppies, green beans..... Y'all.....


Here was my rnorming, thirty minutes in line at the post office..... Y'all......
What are we doing to ourselves? I had to go to Old Navy the other day, well didn't HAVE to, but still, I was looking  for cute Christmas pajamas, and Old Navy used to have cute ones, uh uh, not anymore. Why in Gods name every manufacturer thinks girls just want to wear pink is beyond me. I don't want pink Christmas pajamas! I want some fun pj's, not happening though. Anyway, I was walking around the store, the one that used to have all registers open with happy employees, and in each bay, another happy employee with their clipboard using it to fold shirts and keeping their spaces orderly. Last week when I was in the store, there were hangers on the rods, but the clothes were all piled on the floor and the tables were piled high with clothes tossed all over them, none folded. Dressing rooms pouring over with clothing people left, I saw three employees working the entire store, one register open. Our store had seven people working the other day and our store is tiny. As I stood in the line that got longer and longer I started chatting with another woman that was my age about the state of the store and how retail used to be. Her answer was, " it's the new normal".  
I did, however, score at JoAnn Fabrics. Christmas was 70% off, thanks to my blogger pal Suzan for suggesting it for these little trees, I've been looking everywhere, wanted more of them for the mantle. 89 cents, love that! No, it's not local art, and yes I have supported the local artists this year. I stood in line behind fifteen people to buy 89 cent trees. After the post office.....I must have a fever.....


Well, back to my new normal. Where I work, the people working in the store are smart and know what they are talking about, they are polite and friendly and helpful and happy to be there. We open the doors for our customers, we help carry things to their cars, we know many of them by name, and we bend over backward to find answers to their questions, if we don't know. We laugh a lot. Our customers smile and thank us. So what is the difference? I'm sure we are probably being paid about the same as other retail stores. Is it because it's a locally owned business? Is it because of what we sell? Why don't people have pride in their work anymore?why has this become the new normal? This chaos in retail?

I have also been thinking about the artists who have mentioned the lack of visitors to their studios this year. I mentioned this to Gerry and one theory is partially the decline of newspapers in our lives. Think about it. We used to sit down every morning and read the paper. First thing my dad did when he got home was read the paper. The arts section was my favorite. When was the last time any of you had a newspaper do a story about you or your area? And did anybody read it? People and Places was the strongest section in the Greensboro News and Record. It's where Gerry got his start, shooting for 
P & P. They were always doing stories on local artists. When the Raleigh newspaper did a story on my studio, people were parked all down the road that day. 

Is our "new normal" retail stores that have no pride in the employees they hire or the appearance of their stores? Towns without a local newspaper to report events and enlighten us? Couples with their heads buried in their phones over dinner at a restaurant, not even talking to each other? Prescription drugs to mask every ailment? Poison in our foods, our water, our air? Cell phone towers in every backyard? More stores? More stuff? Landfills full?

We better wake the fuck up

13 comments:

cookingwithgas said...

That and the local hardware store. Best place to find out what's going on.
We're all going nowhere fast.
Dang, I want that fish.

Tracey Broome said...

That fish was bigger the the plate it was served on!
Yep, our local hardware store is gone too, Walmart took care of that.....

Vicki said...

No! It's so not the normal!
Sadly though, the more people that see (and accept) such things, it becomes part of the general psyche. Especially for the next generations coming up.
Ugh. I hate it all too.

I remember the old hardware store with wooden floors that creaked and smelled of tung oil, where you could buy nails and screws in brown paper bags - even if you only wanted two or three. Where the old guy wearing overalls greeted you with a smile and talked of local goings on while his wife brought him endless cuppas.
Where the grocer stocked fresh vegetables from his relatives expansive veggie farms in the country two hours drive away.
Where outside the little corner shop, handwritten notes were posted advertising local events, items for sale and wanted.

Where my uncle used to come home in the early hours of the morning from working at the local newspaper smelling of ink - he always knew what was happening before the rest because he printed the ads.

Where courtesy and respect was "normal" and anything approaching rudeness was checked and reprimanded by employers.

Where residents' metal rubbish bins were easily lifted one handed by the (human) trash collector hanging onto the back of the truck - and often the bins would only be half full.

Sigh... Times are a changin'. And, I'm not a fan.

oldgreymareprimitives said...

amen..and damn you made me hungry! :D

Tracey Broome said...

Vicki, YES! I remember all of that, and sadly my daughter has none of those memories, except maybe sitting in the newsroom at night waiting on her dad to finish up in the darkroom.... Boy I miss those hardware stores and the creaky floors!
Susan, if we lived near that restaurant, I would be as big as a house!

Dennis Allen said...

Holiday restaurant sounds like a no brainer for Christmas Dinner. I went to an unnamed megalithic store yesterday for a new bathroom scale. I searched half the store. I looked in bath, I looked in bath accessories I looked at kitchen....
Where ever I looked there was no scale and no one to tell me where to look.After what seemed like endless wandering I saw a sales associate quickly pushing a cart full of crap down the aisle. I shouted her to a stop and finally found the scales in PLUMBING !! Who the hell thinks that makes any sense at all?

Tracey Broome said...

Dennis, I know this experience all too well. Try finding a spray bottle! Also in plumbing!?

Michèle Hastings said...

I was reading your post when Jeff came and sat down next to me... I had to show him your photos of the Holiday. Jeff grew up in Rockingham. He said he only remembers eating there once. He said that the Orange Bowl, although now out of business, was also very popular. I think we should take Jeff's Mom to the Holiday for dinner on one of our visits. Nice to hear of an old timey restaurant that still survives.

Macy's used to be a nice store... nowadays the dressing rooms are always a mess and dirty.

I have better luck at old navy dot com for pajamas. They seem to have a different selection than the store. Last month I ordered a pair of black and white animal print and a pair with blue and white snowflakes. I LOVE pajamas.

Tracey Broome said...

Michele, I remember the Orange Bowl too. My parents thought it was "too fancy" we only ate there once, haha
Definitely check out the Holiday, food is good old southern home cooking, Sunday's are fun when all the church goers show up

Debbie said...

I think the difference between your place of employment and Old Navy is CORPORATE. I would be surprised if your place is not privately owned and operated by a person with a SOUL. Corporate is so impersonal and the employees feel it---they have to. Being a cog in a machine run by people you don't know is different from being in a family of workers. It's all just gotten so damned big, and after a certain point, so damned big is impersonal and out of control. The growing trend towards polarization and anger is disturbing as people simply don't treat others with much respect or kindness anymore, nor do they seem to understand the need to do so. What a world What a world!!! Hope, in spite of it all, that you and yours have the happiest of happy holidays!

Schnee said...

My cousin has her first job, since raising her kids, in a big chain retailer. The manager made a big stink about the rules and told the employees in no uncertain terms that they could not ring up customers in jewelery that were buying non-jewelery items. A customer came in, asked them to ring up a huge purchase in jewelry, when they said they couldn't do that... that she would have to wait in the main register lines, she went to the manager and the manager proceeded to do ring her up in jewelry and blamed his employees in front of the big shot customer.

So retail workers at big chains get no benefits, get treated lousy by the customers, even more lousy by the management, work long hours in understaffed stores for piddly wages.....the new normal really sucks all around. My cousin is getting ground down already by her retail experience....it really is time to go back to the local independently owned companies that treat their employees and customers like human beings.

Tracey Broome said...

Debbie, you are exactly right. The store I work in is locally owned by a really cool couple in their 40's. There are 5 stores in NC and Va. And people love shopping there. I had so many happy customers today, unreal!
Schnee, I feel so sad for your cousin, I can understand so much what she is going through. I once worked for a family owned furniture company that was bought by a huge corporation from China. I went from having my dream job to living in a nightmare. Bigger is most definitely not better. Maybe your cousin can take what she learns from this bad experience and make a difference somewhere else, at least for herself.

Tracey Broome said...

Merry Merry Christmas everyone!