Covid Journal, December 1, 2020
Our Two-Tiered Pandemic Response
When are we going to force Loblaws or Metro to put all of their produce stands outside, especially as winter approaches?
Apparently, it’s OK to ask the same of small market vendors, but the question seems absurd when we apply it to big box grocers, selling ‘international and domestic’ ingredients (ie. made in China) for all of our food supplies.
This is the kind of economic disparity that we’re reinforcing with stupid decisions to come down hard on mom and pop retailers while ignoring the petri dish situations brewing with big box retailers.
I feel like I have to keep hammering on this one.
I’m not feeling too bad for the unlicensed BBQ joint in Etobicoke, but there are millions of small businesses across Canada, the US and elsewhere that are bearing the disproportionate weight of Covid lockdown requirements.
Whether it’s overzealous bureaucrats that are harassing good paying with repeat visits or it’s the wide open and overt statements like Doug Ford saying getting WalMart to do it’s thing would be a logistical nightmare, it translates to a simple concept: class warfare.
And I REALLY don’t want that interpretation to be out there because all it does is empower morons that think they don’t have to wear masks or license their business or follow protocols. Their are MANY small businesses that are doing their best to comply with inconsistent demands, but I’m afraid so many won’t survive the winter, especially when we keep changing the rules on them.
To add, we have what I would suggest is ‘system-wide economic disparity’ when it comes to even simple things like credit cards.
What’s that? Here’s an example: we got a new ‘dividend’ credit card. We get a ‘bonus’ when we shop at gas stations and grocers, but markets, small shops and other places of business may not qualify if they don’t take the time and effort to classify themselves as such with the credit card company. While we’re committed to buying local and small, it’s hard not to think about loading up on gift cards for other big box shops so we can get an extra 4% on our transactions. None of these options include local purchasing or gift cards.
I know … we have to commit to just keep doing our best for these small businesses.
Again, why keep hammering on this?
Because they employ people, the money stays local and they pay their f*cking taxes, that’s why.
It’s time we demand equitable treatment of ALL businesses and organizations. BestBuy, CostCo, WalMart, Mark’s Work Warehouse, the Gap and a few dozen other chains shouldn’t be getting a free pass in all of this.
In fact, they should be commanded to bear more of a burden to help our whole society pull out of this mess. They should be put on the spot with questions like ‘how are you paying essential workers more?’ or ‘Are you giving them more breaks?’ or ‘Have you stopped paying dividends while we’re under a pandemic?’
Most importantly, maybe it’s time we all talk about a ‘super-tax’ that gets imposed on the likes of big boxes and online retailers like Amazon that will help pay for this mess. The sooner we do so, the sooner we’ll put mumbling about disparity to rest.
And if we don’t ask these questions … it just fuels fears that it’s ‘us’ versus ‘them’.