I experienced something today with a customer that made me realize how some people only get their news from the 6 o’clock network broadcasts, if at all.
The customer had related to me how he had just come from 14th & Broadway in Oakland. He had gone to the Occupy protests to sight-see. I asked him what he learned, how was the effort going down there today, and the general mood? His answer caught me off guard.
“They were all just camping.”
To say I was taken aback would be putting it mildly. It took me a moment to remember I was at work, and this was a customer. My first instinct was to ask the address of the rock he was living under. After a few deep breaths, I was able to regain some sanity in my though processes, and see clearly again.
I asked him what he expected to see down there. He was honest, and said he wasn’t sure. I asked him if he knew that the site was manned during the day with those who are currently out of work, while those still lucky enough to have jobs were away at theirs. I asked him if he knew that they reconvened each evening to hold General Assemblies and do their voting, and then hold organized marches. We went on to talk about what they were all there for, how they were going about getting their message heard, and what their goals, as currently stated, are.
At the end of our conversation, it seemed as if he had a whole new appreciation for the movement. He spoke of possibly joining the General Strike tomorrow. I don’t know, and will never know if he actually goes down to take part, or even had a real interest, but I walked away knowing I had done my part. I had taken the time to give him information enough to understand what he saw today, and not tell all those he saw of his initial perceptions; that he went to Oakland and saw a bunch of lazy people, who didn’t want to work, camping out and making a mess.