Heather Hamilton-Maude: I don’t Understand
We often hear and discuss things people do not understand about our agriculture lifestyle. But, what about the opposite. What about those things we don’t understand about the rest of society?
The one that has remained lodged in my brain for years occurred when my OBGYN told me she may not be present at one of my kid’s births because she had scheduled a vacation coinciding with my due date.
Wait a second. Scheduled a vacation, and for a time when a customer who entrusted her to oversee their pregnancy and delivery was due? For real? I am certain I sat there giving her a dumb stare for several seconds following her announcement.
My own “customers” don’t even cut me a check until at least nine months after they’ve given birth, and she was expecting payment as we went along, with zero remorse that she may not be present at the birth. We won’t even touch on the subject of vacations.
How about the statement we hear as consumers that, inputs have gone up, so while unfortunate and difficult, the retail store “has” to increase prices to their customers in order to keep their margin. So, when the going gets tough, they still make a margin. That’s novel. Maybe we should try that with food supplies starting at the producer level. Oh wait…
Or, when you have a breakdown of some kind, but it’s 4:30 on Friday. Again, while everyone feels bad, rarely will anyone stay after 5 to ensure whatever it is you need is operational asap. Can you imagine explaining that to a ewe stuck in the mud. “Sorry honey, I’ll be back Monday at 9 a.m. You just hold on until then.” Or, “Awe shucks, it’s 30-below and the pickup won’t start. Guess I’ll leave it until next week and feed and check water then.”
Just today, three weeks after starting the process, the local appliance store called to say the part for my washing machine was in. The next available date and time for a technician to come out and install it is June 2 at 1 p.m. When I asked if that was a standard wait time, the man on the phone informed me it was all determined by when he could get parts. I was asking about the amount of time between when he got the part and I got the part installed in my “under warranty” machine, but he missed that. So, I mentioned going more than a month without a washing machine (thankfully I have a second machine, but he isn’t counting) was quite a challenge. He somewhat curtly replied that it most certainly was, but I am far from alone, it’s just the way it is.
Now, the last time a local trucker had a breakdown the day before he was to haul our calves, he didn’t call and say he would reschedule us as soon as his part came in, 3-6 weeks if all went well. No. He called and apologized for what was out of his control, and had the name and number of a replacement truck he had already lined up to fill in for him, if we were alright with it.
Guess who I am happy to continue doing business with.
While the above things make most of us in agriculture shake our head a little, or a lot, it is just as the appliance guy said – the way it is for most of humanity. Most do not know any different.
And while I don’t think we have it all figured out – my kids were sneaking potato chips for breakfast while we AI’d heifers this morning, I do believe that as an industry, we are far closer than most. May is a good month to remember the value of a job we have all come to know and enjoy enough to finish, rather than to clock out of each Friday at five.
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