Dirk Lotriet
2 minute read
4 May 2018
9:15 am

The responsibility and duty that come with having rights

Dirk Lotriet

Those of us in decent employment have a duty to protect the interests of our employers, or else the employers and our jobs will disappear.

Picture: Getty Images

Two incidents earlier this week forced me to think about Workers’ Day.

On Monday, my dear mother-in-law ordered 10 pancakes at the door of a local supermarket and arranged to pick it up after her shopping. When she came out, the bakers had only made three pancakes.

She had to fill in a form with her details before a refund could be made. Later that afternoon, she received a call from the supermarket’s manager, who asked her to come and see him. At the supermarket they gave her 21 pancakes to apologise for the misunderstanding.

The very next day – on Workers’ Day – the lovely Snapdragon and I went to a local wholesale store for our monthly shopping.

I waited in the long line while Snapdragon searched for some school trousers. Later, when she returned, I slipped away to the sports department.

But I couldn’t buy anything, because a commotion in the queue drew my attention. Afterwards, I pieced the story together from fragments of information from an upset Snapdragon.

The stout woman in front of her accused her of bumping into her repeatedly for 10 minutes. Snapdragon explained that she had just arrived in the queue, but the woman refused to listen.

The mad woman insisted that Snapdragon show respect for her age and Snapdragon said middle-aged dementia deserves sympathy, not respect. And told the woman where to shove her verbal attack (I think it was somewhere in the curtain isle).

When the woman threatened Snapdragon with violence, I asked a staff member to fetch the manager. She promised to call security, but I’m still waiting.

It is the time of the year when we focus on workers’ rights, and rightly so. They have been hardearned.

But all rights come with responsibility and those of us in decent employment have a duty to protect the interests of our employers, or else the employers and our employment will disappear.

In the incidents above, it cost the first manager a few pancakes to ensure that Snapdragon and I, as well as our families, will be loyal lifelong shoppers at that supermarket.

And the second one? She’ll never get the opportunity to explain to us what happened to the promised security guards.

Dirk Lotriet. Picture: Alaister Russell

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