Slowing down is a present we all deserve this holiday season

By David Broyles

November 21, 2013

Some comments from Surry Community College Social Sciences Instructor Jan Gordon really set me to thinking about the consequences of self image as well as hitting a lot of chords with the impending onslaught of Thanksgiving.

Gordon’s comments were part of the Beauty and the Burger event staged by student scholars of Phi Theta Kappa as they presented months of secondary and primary research for their Honors in Action Project through Phi Theta Kappa, International. Gordon really brought home the down side of how persons get socialized into the customary foundering on Turkey Day offerings.

It reminded me of the sudden realization what I thought was joking around had the unintended result of hurting someone. I think it was Mel Brooks who said comedy is someone walking into an open manhole. Tragedy is me falling into an open manhole. I guess it’s some sort of poetic justice the bird we stuff can turn us into a bunch of old stuffed birds.

One of the most powerful things I ever heard at an economic development summit was an economist whose name escapes me (see that stuffing is kicking in already), who explained a major driving force to an economy was not greed but forbearance. He was talking about everyone respecting the rules for everyone helped the machinery to run. Having done a fair share of retail in my life one of the best examples of this are holiday business hours.

In case you haven’t been in the public sector, let me just say most retail workers would agree with their customers they do not like the march toward one year-long, seamless holiday where holidays march in lock step, hypnotizing potential buyers. Agreed. Changes in how we work have all but abolished the 60’s television idea of everyone working 9-5 with holidays.

As in previous columns, I feel that we sadly cannot turn back time. How we work and the jobs we work in have changed for many of us out there. The crazy hours and the stress are something we have to shoulder because, frankly, two out of three people I meet on any given day would be in financial ruin if they missed two paychecks.

I think Gordon was correct in how these new lifestyles have caused many to fit their lives into their jobs instead of the other way around. I also agree with her that we can take this time of social change and stop, if for a moment, and assess where we are and at what point did we loose focus on what’s it all about.

I’m talking tapping our reserves of forbearance for the upcoming holidays which are as tough on service sector persons as well as customers. I can remember working when Blockbuster Video did its big push to be open noon on Christmas Day. My crew was one of the best, customer service oriented teams I’ve ever worked with and they were just glowering to see who would come in first. They wanted to see which movie was so important it justified them being away from their families.

I understand work schedules have hastened the 24-hour shopping culture but a little forbearance and advance planning and holiday purchases can be manageable making life tolerable for both sides. The goods are still being bought, it’s just smoothing out this feast (pardon the pun) and famine mindset which makes it tough on both sides of the counter. I’m thankful for us all because we are all in this together and I hate to see us quarrel when we don’t get together that often. Here’s hoping we all have a safe and slower holiday season this year.

Reach David Broyles at or 336-719-1962.