Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tales from the Trenches: Something confusing to me.

Today was museum day at work. More specifically, since it was a government holiday, we had lots of lookers, lots of touchers and not a whole lot of buying. I felt like the shirt folder at the Gap. I did a lot of straightening. Then I straightened what I straightened.

Don't think that I'm complaining about this or that this is the part that is confusing to me. Other than the older man going to the public restroom, peeing, leaving the seat up and not flushing when he left, all the rest of it was fine retail stuff.

I had a customer come in. He was a well dressed man, full length wool coat, beautiful scarf tucked in just so and cruising around with a group of equally well-dressed friends. Julia was speaking to me about comparing the three work calendars, letting them know days that need to be covered for our store and noticing that their calendar talks about the weird theme days that they decide to set at our sister store, but forget to tell us about. We were going through the list. Yellow day. Animal print day. Hat day. We're cool with being forgotten, though. We're not really the joiners anyhow.

So, full-length wool coat guy chimes and starts talking about a fun theme party that he had with his friends. He said that they had a "Whi*te Tr*ash Party" and they had great fun.

I'm not often offended, but this time I was. I held my tongue and really gnawed on it all day. I'm confused. Why is it okay to make fun of a certain subset of people that are lower income than you? Maybe I'm missing it. Maybe it isn't about disadvantage. Maybe it is about socially off substitution choices.

You know, I did a search to see about celebrities that had done such a party. I thought that I had remembered Ashl*ee Simp*son doing one, but apparently Za*c Efr*on had such a party and Hei*di Klu*m decided to renew her vows with her husband with the same theme.


About 5 years ago, Hubs went on a week-long park conference with his previous park system that was held in the Hocking Hills area of southern Ohio. This area is very deeply set into the Appalachian region of Ohio. Poverty is so, so sad. The housing is somewhat makeshift at times. Such very poor housing conditions surrounded by only the most gorgeous of state parks. Hubs said that his coworkers made fun of the folks living in the Hocking Hills region all. week. long. He was left shaking his head and so sad.

Am I confusing a theme with extreme poverty and a need to "make do?" Is it just that some folks are a little backwards and do things a little different than the norm? Why does it seem that people think that it is acceptable to make fun of a certain subset of folks, when it certainly wouldn't be acceptable to do it with others?

Provide clarity, please.

Smiles in my day:
- Both Hubs and K- slept all night long and didn't disturb me once. No calls for "Mommy!" to have me run, panicked and to find that K- "needs my CD changed." No early morning request to climb into my bed. No early morning request from my much needed slumber to please "pinch my pimple." No bellyaching from Hubs during the night with the belt to the side that "Your nose is whistling. You're snoring. Move over!" Y'all I love my people and fully realize that I married a light sleeper (found that out after marriage since we lived separate until the vows), but still a night of uninterrupted sleep. Just typing that has just jinxed me for tonight, I'm sure.
- We made it to 501 on the 100 book challenge. My goal is to bust out 100 twice a quarter and since interims are Thursday, my goal date was coming close.
- Hubs and I were able to sit down to discuss finances and future big purchases. We need to purchase a new truck for him in two years and devised a reasonable savings plan.
- We'll be purchasing Hubs a new lawn mower and his dream weed eater-- the Worx GT. Bless his heart, but after living here for 10 years, his current equipment is in need of replacement. The mower is limping along with a wheel that flops off. The weed eater had to be screwed back together after he tripped over it and stepped on it. Poor guy is working with some tools that are way suffering.
- We found a lovely Amish couple that sell play systems that they deliver and! put together. We really think that we'll be going that route. A requirement? That at least I can swing on the swings, too. Oh how I love to swing on a swing.

Have a great day!


ChupieandJ'smama said...

Not sure I can help with the "White Tr*ash" party theme. Is it the same as a Hill*Billy party, only saying White Tr*ash sounds cooler? Confused...

I hear ya on the big purchase issue. Hubs and I have been discussing that too. I need a new vehicle in the future (although I think I've pushed the future out a ways with him for now). And we need a new grill this summer and possibly a new mattress (Oh my aching back...).

Rach said...

I haven't even read your smiles yet, I had to click to comment.

I come from Appalachia, and poverty. Many of my family are considered "white tr*ash" because of how they live. Extreme poverty is nothing to poke fun at, it is way of life. Have you heard of the culture/cycle of poverty? This is it.

I find it interesting people feel it is okay to host "white tr*ash" parties, but KNOW it would be unacceptable to host a party themed with other derogatory ideas about minorities.

Folks, extreme poverty is no joke, it's nothing to poke fun at. In fact, it's quite awful trying to rob Peter to pay Paul, and God forbid you have a medical condition/crisis that will cause you to be hospitalized, because goodness knows you don't have insurance.

Sorry, I'm on a soapbox. I'd never heard of such a party and I'm TERRIBLY upset by it and people's acceptance of it as being fun and funny.

This makes me ponder too, why, when the majority of citizens of the US are overweight, do people feel the need to make fun of "fat" people? Sheesh.

Anonymous said...

I am staring at your blog in dismay. I had no idea such parties existed. I'm shocked. But I shouldn't be suprised.

Afterall, there's actually a snack recipe with that same name. A female celebrity that is considered Americas Sweetheart even sells it prepared using that name. (I'm not using her name for fear I may blame the wrong celebrity.) Not kidding. She touted it on one of the afternoon talk shows. I remember thinking..."She does realize that isn't a nice name, doesn't she???"

Goodness people. Can't we be civilized?


Anonymous said...

I think the parties are appalling.

However, I do not equate White Trash with poverty.

White Trash = anyone with any income level who chooses to live like a slob.

When we see a property that is filled with trash and garbage and a torn apart couch (etc), that is what we call white trash.

Melissa said...

I personally dont equate the term with poverty either. I guess I have always equated it with a way of dressing and/or acting.

Loose women, skin heads, rabid racists etc. Heck, even rich families who let their teenagers dress like hookers.

Michelle said...

wish I had some clarity but that confuses me too :(