Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Shoe Salesmen of Nation's Capitol respond

At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on a non-binding resolution that opposes Bush's plan for a military build-up in Bahgdad, Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., said: ""I think all 100 senators should be on the line on this. ... If you want a safe job, go sell shoes."

Shoe salesmen from around the nation responded angrily to the Senator Hagel's comments in flood of letters, phone calls, and talk-radio commentaries. "Man, when was a $6-an-hour base plus commission considered a "safe" job?" said Ken Johnson, assistant sales manager at a PayLess Shoe Store in Alexandria, VA. "If I don't move enough of these Hush Puppies today, I could be out on my ass tomorrow."

"Ain' no senata wouldn't last one day in 'dis job," said Shaniqua Washington, a sales rep at the same store. "People can be real demandin', like, 'You don' have size 14 in camel suede finish? What is wrong wid you people?' And I'm like, 'Honey, what's on them shelves, dat's what we got.' It hard."

"Camel suede, my ass," she added.

Carlton Jones, a store manager for a Foot Locker store in downtown D.C, agrees: "You see that 'No Concealed Firearms on premises' sign on the door? That ain't just there for decoration, you know what I'm sayin'? You see them bars on the back windows? When a new shipment of [Air]Jordans come in . . . shit, I'd rather be in Baghdad."

"Well, maybe not Baghdad . . . maybe the north side of Anwar province or somethin'."

Shoe industry workers at all levels responded with equal ire. Colleen Hutchinson, vice-president of marketing for Adidas, told reporters: "It's a cut-throat market out there for high-end products. We're under constant pressure to innovate. Marketing budgets are astronomical, with a lot of high-risk placements . . . sometimes even Super Bowl ads. If Senator Hagel had said, 'Go sell laundry detergent,' now that I could understand. Life was easy when I worked at P&G. But shoes? The Senator is clearly out of touch with harsh realities of the private sector."

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