We all have a responsibility to ourselves to take accountability for our lives and our actions, and not make excuses or blame others for our own poor choices or work ethic.  Sometimes we are put in less than desirable conditions, but if we remain positive and work hard, we can improve our condition over time.  (If this weren’t true, there wouldn’t be so many examples of people bettering their lot in life.)

     As the saying goes, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”  If people aren’t willing to explore the world around them and figure out the forces that are working for and against them, then it’s really nobody’s fault but their own.  The world is our oyster, after all.

     Many people choose the easy way because the examined, successful life takes a lot of hard, hard work. It means not giving in to every whim or desire. It takes sacrifice, determination, will-power, and a desire to become the best that you can be. That’s my take, anyways.  I’m not perfect by any means, but I’m also not afraid to call it like it is. Any faults I have are my own. I’m responsible for them. That’s the truth.


Won’t Work For Free

     I went to a certain supercenter grocery store today to pick up a few things (we don’t really have small, local grocery stores anymore), and as I went to check out I passed by (as usual) all of the self-checkout isles (which were full of people checking out their own groceries) until I came upon one of the isles that had a real live human cashier.  The cashier was standing out in front of the checkout isle, waiting to check people out.

     For the record, there have been times that I’ve stood in line for twenty minutes waiting to check out, refusing to “work for free” in the self-checkout lines, so I was quite happy to not have to wait this time.

     As I unloaded the groceries from my cart, I commented to the cashier that I couldn’t believe that all of those people at the self-checkout machines would work for free checking out their own groceries while she stood there, getting paid, waiting to check people out.  The cashier’s reaction was not at all what I had expected.

     “I check my own groceries out, too,” she said.

     “You do?” I responded, incredulously.  “Why would you work for free like that?”

     “I don’t like the way cashiers bag my groceries,” she responded.

     I then proceeded to tell her how recent articles stated that the family who owned this particular superstore market makes $70,000 every minute, $100 million every day, and that I couldn’t understand how anyone would volunteer their labor to such already rich people, especially when it means that less people will have a job because of it.

     “It won’t matter anyways because soon all checkouts will be self-checkouts,” was her flippant response.

     “Because everyone keeps going along with it…”

     “They can’t keep any workers anyways,” she continued.  “Hell, they even pay them $11 an hour to start out!  More than I ever made!”

     I tried to explain to her that the store would be able to keep workers if they paid higher wages, but it was falling on deaf ears, so I shut my mouth.

     But I am glad that I talked to her.  I always find it interesting to get insight into another person’s thought processes.

     So think about it the next time you volunteer your labor for a corporation that makes 100 million dollars a day.

Excerpted from Them and Us: A Philosophy of Freedom by Adam Soto