Friday, 29 August 2014

Frozen To Bits

I don't believe that there is a place in South Africa that is not experiencing freezing cold weather today. It is freezing cold, the wind blowing gales and just unpleasant. Strangely enough, as cold as what it is and it is cold, I still don't feel the cold like I did before I gave up smoking. Previously, I would be so cold that my bones would literally ache. My hands would be so cold all the time that they would be dry and almost raw. I know we do forget how cold or how hot it was in the past, it is a way, I believe, that enables us to carry on and face the next season of cold/hot weather. I am always saying that last year I felt the cold more than this year, but in this post here in July last year, I said the one good thing about giving up smoking is that I don't feel as cold as before, because my skin does not burn when it is cold like it did when I smoked. So from last year I was already feeling the cold less than before. It is cold though and I am not denying it.

The Weather

I mentioned in this post about my views on sixty seven minutes that we managed a second business that employed minimum wage staff and how we just barely broke even and some months we didn't even break even, because we tried to pay the staff a bit more, but had to keep our prices market related. Well that business is a car wash and from Monday we won't be managing it anymore, because of the renovations happening at the site. It is a huge relief, not only because it does not make money, but, because both Mark and I feel terrible when these poor guys have to wash cars in such freezing cold weather. It is a kind of catch 22 situation, because we have a nice bunch of guys that work there and they are very sad that we won't be their bosses anymore and we are also sad that we won't be their bosses. This morning I asked the supervisor if they wanted soup because it is so cold, he said don't worry. I asked if they don't like the soup I buy and he said they do like it, but I mustn't worry. Ask Chad I can be like a pit bull and don't give in. Shame he said if I have enough money then I must buy some otherwise I mustn't worry. I went and bought soup and bread rolls for them and our workshop staff at both branches, because they also work outside mostly or in the workshop with open doors and it is cold in the workshop. However, they definitely don't have it as tough as the car wash staff and certainly don't earn as little as them.

I went to our local Spar and parked close to the parking lot cat who was inside the kennel and I thought I would buy him/her some food, because it is cold and maybe the cold would make him more hungry than usual. Whilst buying the cat food, I thought it would be unfair to give the cat's food to the car guards when they were standing in the freezing cold, so I bought them soup too. I buy packet soup, nothing fancy, but it does warm the tummy and hands a bit.

I am not posting about this to toot my own horn, but this is one of the reasons why I don't give to beggars. There are people out there who work hard and live below the poverty line and they have smiles on their faces and take pride in the work they do. Today our staff did not work very hard, but at 5 pm two people came to wash their cars. One man in his fancy merc with his warm jacket and scarf did not tip them even R1.00. The other young guy bought them a 2L cold drink, which is far more than a tip and he certainly did not drive a fancy car with a jacket that cost more than their monthly wages. Yes they get paid and it is their job and yes you pay to have your car washed, but really, will a tip to say thank you, bankrupt you. You pay for your meal in a restaurant but still tip the waiter. Whilst I was cashing up at 5.30 in the freezing cold wind, we usually close at 6 pm, but planned on closing at 5, because it was so cold, a man pulled up at 5.36 to wash his car. I just said sorry we are closed. Seriously, who washes their car in freezing cold weather on a Friday night. Have you ever washed your hands in cold water in freezing cold weather - it is cold and actually stings and aches - now imagine your hands in icy water whilst you are shivering and freezing. A small tip to say thank you won't break the bank, but will be most appreciated and will go along way. After all, we are very spoilt in South Africa when it comes to cheap labour. Do you tip staff at the car wash or do you also believe the staff earn a wage and you pay to have your car washed?

Wishing you a very warm weekend

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