I am patriotic, to a degree. If speaking of our country and the ideals it was founded on, then heck yeah! This is the greatest country in the world.
But I also understand what David Bowie meant when he sang "I'm afraid of Americans." When speaking of the general populace of the USA, what have we gotten ourselves into?!
We've all heard the "only in America" jokes and stories...
Only in America drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.
Only in America people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a DIET coke.
Only in America banks leave both doors open and then chain the pens to the counters.
Only in America we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put our useless junk in the garage.
Only in America we buy hot dogs in packages of ten and buns in packages of eight.
Only in America the word 'politics' to describe the process so well 'Poli' in Latin meaning 'many' and 'tics' meaning 'bloodsucking creatures'.
Only in America we have drive-up ATM machines with Braille lettering.
My fear of Americans stems from the few, the proud, the morons. Only in America are we expected to tolerate stoopid people.
Case in point. Last night, after getting off work, I went to the Apple Way Wendy's to get food for Bekah. Thankfully their drive though is open till midnight. Unfortunately, their late night staff has the combined IQ of 73 (including the manager).
It was a simple order... a number two, ketchup only, large sized, and a junior bacon cheese burger ketchup only.
The girl working the first window ordered it correctly despite moving at slower than a sloth on morphine. She took my debit card and after what seemed like an hour, she returned it to me at the rate of glacial recession. I hate to be repetitive, but I'm serious; I have seen slugs move faster than her. The only thing she did fast was speak in run on sentences. "Heresyourcardnreciptpullforwardtothesencondwindowthankyougoodbye!"
At the second window (after listening to 2 and 1/2 songs on the radio) some of my order appeared and another LONG minute later the window opened with another run on sentence. "Hereyougosorryboutthewaitthanxbye."
I pulled forward a foot or two and then stopped. Looking at the soda in the cup holder, I thought to my self, "that's not a large." I opened the bag and pulled out fries, wrong size. Next i checked the junior bacon cheese burger, loaded with lettuce mayo and tomato. I squeezed out of the car since the vehicle behind me prevented me from using reverse. Scooting between my junker Ford and Wendy's brick wall in the cold rain bag and soda in hand, I stood at the window and waited for some one to notice me.
The window opened. "What's wrong." There's courteous service for you.
"This," I set down the small Dr Pepper, "was supposed to be a large. This," (the small fry) "was supposed to be a large. This," (junior bacon cheese burger) "was supposed to be ketchup only." I still had yet to check Bekah's double cheese burger. When I pulled it out of the bag, it was ketchup only but still not quite right. "This," I added "is supposed to be a cheese burger."
The scared employee sought refuge in the manager, a snide little girl who wanted to see my receipt. Problem, the only receipt they gave me only showed the price I paid, not the items I ordered. Still, I complied.
So, I stood leaning against my car, my butt getting wet, while the rain slowly turned into snow, and waited. And waited. Two cars behind me, one all ready paid the other had ordered but not yet paid. While the kitchen staff took their sweet time fixing my order, two other vehicles ran out of patience and drove off. Wendy's was losing customers because of me, but I had no had sympathy. They should have gotten the order right the first time.
Finally they handed me an accurate order and I drove home with warm food and a soggy bottom.
When we share stories like this, everyone groans in solace of similar experiences. We have had to deal with horrible customer service in every aspect of our lives: fast food joints, restaurants, grocery stores, credit card cable and telephone companies, internet and cell providers.
Worst of all, there is not much we can do about it. We could complain, but complaints rarely resolve the issue and get you little more than an apology and complimentary services. The idiot in question may be talked to but is unlikely to receive reprimand.
Even if I had complained at Wendy's (which I didn't) management would not have fired anybody and the idiots in question would continue to make their customers' lives miserable. Even if someone was fired, that person would get a job at another fast food joint or gas station or something, and be equally inept at that job.
If you as an individual are too stupid to work at Wendy's with any sort of effort or excellence, how do you expect to survive in the real world? I can not imagine the manager I talked to last night running her own business or serving as an accountant for a major corporation. Maybe she is perfectly content working for minimal wages at one crappy job after another for the rest of her life... but I doubt it.
I have a wonderful job that I enjoy and I'm able to support my family. But I'm not content; I would like to do more.
Right now we have a generation of idiots being raised by a generation of slackers who grew up being taught there is nothing to believe in, nothing to hope for.
Free speech is free as long as it doesn't offend any one. Free thought is allowed only when we are told what to think. American universities are no longer the forefront of every field of research and industry; they are now four years of parties and a breeding ground for the gullible and dim witted. Warning labels serves the fool, but stupid people carry no warning.
American culture is in decline. We are repressed by a minority, the fearful and the dumb. I'm glad President Bush introduced the No Child Left Behind thing, but it is not working. If we are to compete and thrive in international economy, we can no longer endorse and stupidity. We need to take a stand.