I've been watching it come across the country. I've been watching the social networking posts of friends and family in the midwest as they dealt with more snow than what they're used to and severe plummeting temperatures. I knew that it was coming my way, but I was prepared to deal with it. Because, after all, it's Buffalo. It snows. Deal with it.
This morning I awoke to the sound of the wind still howling and the snow still blowing, and we were in "official" blizzard status. Mr. D. still went off to work because apparently Federal employees are immune to the travel bans that are issued by local agencies which limit driving to only medical essential personnel. I sent him on his way with the promise that I would not come bail him out if he was pulled over for being on the road when he shouldn't be.
Now, here's my complaint...
BAN means "to prohibit". A driving ban means no driving unless you are a county essential employee or medical personnel. (Still unsure that U.S. postal workers can or should be able to get around this, but that's another argument for another day.)
The problem is that we had this driving ban telling us to stay off the roads (for a reason!), and yet there were businesses that were open and advertising that they were open on Facebook and Twitter (and probably elsewhere). At this point I have heard about pharmacies, pet stores, shopping malls, grocery stores, local gym facilities, and a free public viewing of a theatre production that were planning on being open today.
The pharmacies I can understand...maybe...except that the entire store is open for those who also feel the need to restock their beer and cigarettes, oreos, or condoms and whatevers during this "white death". If I don't include pet stores in that same understanding, I'll have animal rights activists all over my butt screaming that our 4-legged friends need to be fed in this weather. And it's a stretch, but if we're keeping the animals fed, then certainly actual people need to be nourished and therein lies the need for the grocery stores to remain open. Even though we've had a week's notice of this impending storm, numerous weather forecasts and reports, there will certainly be individuals who didn't pay attention and have run out of certain necessities...like bacon...or toilet paper.
That leaves us shopping malls, the local gym, and theatre productions. Admittedly, I was nearly broken-hearted to have to decide that I couldn't head downtown to see the "load-in" for my favorite musical. (As it turns out, the weather downtown turned nasty, so it really was a smart decision on my part) But how can these places, and others, continue to count themselves a necessity to remain open?
I apologize to my friends who have already heard my rant, but this morning as I scrolled through my Facebook newsfeed I came across a notification that " ***** *** is OPEN!" One person had already commented questioning the driving ban that was in place, so I added a comment that I thought it was irresponsible for businesses to remain open, and thus encouraging drivers to be on the road when a driving ban was in effect. I promise there was no rudeness or name-calling, I was simply stating my opinion that I disagreed with their decision in the midst of the wicked weather. My comment was deleted.
So I added the words again...and it was deleted again. I was in a bit of disbelief that someone seemed to find my comment so "inappropriate" that it had to be deleted, yet it was also slightly amusing - and annoying - all at the same time.
A third time, I added my comment (maybe I should have stopped with the 2nd one? I don't know.) A third time, the comment was deleted. A few minutes later a new announcement was posted that due to the weather, they would be closing. (Finally! A sensible decision!) I privately sent a final message. Maybe I shouldn't have, perhaps it was over-stepping, but again, I believed it to be an appropriate response on an open forum -
Thank you for proving to me that you may value the monthly dues from your members but not our opinions. Deleting my comment 3 times from your announcement that you are open today DESPITE there being a driving ban in Hamburg is not only rude but bad business. The fact is, it is irresponsible to announce that you are open for business when there is a driving ban in effect for the town and village of Hamburg. Glad to see that you have since made the smart decision for your employees and members to close at 9.
Shortly thereafter, I discovered this business had removed my ability to continue posting on their Facebook page. Not once, as a business, did they personally acknowledge my comments, concerns, or messages. I'm slightly curious that the next time I check in to this business with my key-tag, I will find that it will be refused and my membership revoked.
I'll survive not being able to communicate with this business via social networking in the future, and hopefully there were no accidents this morning as individuals were coming and going to this establishment that had announced it was open for business as normal.
But at what point did profit become more important than the people themselves?