Kvetching is a big part of the job description here at Kudos & Kvetches, but in the grand scheme of things, we have to admit we don’t really have anything too serious to complain about. While the office coffee leaves much to be desired, our newsroom printer is only slightly more cooperative than HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey, and there’s the inevitable career anxiety that comes with working in the newspaper biz nowadays, it’s not as if we’ve ever had to storm a beach at Normandy, stop genocidal warlords, commute to work via crash-prone Sea King helicopters or been made to walk around in public wearing berets.
We do, however, have huge respect for those who have, which is why we were dismayed to learn the Costco in Abbotsford cut down the time war veterans could sell Remembrance Day poppies in the store to just four days this year from the customary two weeks.
It’s hard to even imagine the thinking behind the decision. Is management bitter that Tim Hortons was given an outlet at the Canadian Forces base in Kandahar and Costco wasn’t? Do they perhaps feel poppy-hawking veterans somehow impinge on the exclusive, members-only vibe that sets Costco apart from other big box stores? Did head office in Toronto confuse Abbotsford with Abbottabad and figure their local customers wouldn’t want Canadian military members hanging around? Do they prefer not to be reminded of how meaningless their own corporate careers are by comparison or did they need the extra space to store a new shipment of Band of Brothers on Blu-ray?
Another possibility is they were hoping to somehow curry favour with the current prime minister. The Harper government recently announced it was closing nine Veterans Affairs offices across the county, instead expecting war vets — many of them elderly — to somehow find answers to their questions online or by using a computerized phone tree, and is currently involved in a class action lawsuit with soldiers over privacy breaches and benefit clawbacks. It also came to light this month that a federal burial fund intended to help former soldiers in need has rejected more than two-thirds of all applications since the Conservatives took power in 2006.
On the plus side, we at least feel a bit better about having to again buy several poppies this year to replace the ones that invariably fall off.
(This post was first published in Kudos & Kvetches © Copyright (c) Vancouver Courier)