I’m having feelings about capitalism again. Mostly about the lack of respect shown for the workforce. I deleted a whole post because it got to be like seven paragraphs of me yelling about cheese and I sounded absolutely batshit.
The summary of it was that y'all are seeing empty shelves and the workforce quitting en masse because 2020 and 2021 were “fuck around” and brought us to 2022’s “find out”.
The supply chain has been collapsing far longer than consumers noticed. Yeah, maybe you’ve been coming into the store and buying goat cheese crumbles on a regular basis and figured that there was no problem, but you didn’t see me behind the scenes being shorted two out of every three orders I placed for them, and just trickling out my backstock a little at a time so I never had an empty shelf, just nearly empty.
The warehouse workers noticed before I did, because they’re the ones who got product from the processors or manufacturers. And the manufacturers noticed before that, because they knew when they weren’t getting the raw materials. And the transportation workers are the ones who could see this happening all along, because they’re the ones who are with the supply chain every step of the way.
The shelves have been empty for a long time. People are just noticing it now because it got to the store level.
You know when you’re drinking a thick milkshake through a straw, and you run out of shake, but it takes you a few seconds to notice that your cup is empty because you’ve still got some shake in your straw, and you don’t know it’s gone until you hit that air bubble? It’s like that. The cup’s been empty for a bit. We’re just now hitting the air bubble.
[just gestures at the notes of this post]
Everyone is feeling the crunch. And I keep coming back to the thought that so many people are leaving their jobs not because of illness, but because they (understandably!) can’t deal with the pressure anymore. It’s been constant, and it’s physically, emotionally, psychologically draining work. The workforce has been metaphorically crumbling for longer than it’s been literally crumbling.
We’re tired, and the corporations and consumers want us to pretend like nothing is wrong. Just use the backup product. Use the other brand. Don’t wear the gloves unless you have to. Just put something on the shelf to fill the holes. Pretend like nothing is wrong so that everyone else can keep pretending like the pandemic is over and life is normal again.
I mean, we’re doing what we can. We’re all doing important work. It doesn’t always seem like it. We’re just shelf stockers, we’re just transportation drivers, cashiers, baristas. But you know! You’ve lived in this Covid world too! You know how necessary morale boost is. You know how important it is for your mental well being to be able to go get a fluffy coffee drink when you’re sad. To hop over to the store for a pre-made salad so you can spend your own energy on something else and not worry about nutrition. To know that your garbage will be picked up so you don’t have it in the house. The world is filled with people doing little day to day jobs so that you don’t have to worry about them. And we’re trying to keep those things going, even through the struggle and the shortages.
The bottom line of the supply chain problems is people. The people are getting sick. The ones who aren’t sick are rightfully deciding that they can’t handle the constant crunch and they’re leaving to take their chances with other jobs. When someone is standing there like Atlas holding the world on their shoulders, and then you add in all the people from customer to corporate yelling that you’re not doing enough, it’s not enough, make it more normal, make it like it was! Then yeah, you’re going to set the world down and say “fine, fuck you too.”
Right now, the best thing you can do to help is be kind, be kind, be kind.
[gestures once more to the notes, because it’s filled with stories]