Saturday, February 21, 2009

Fabric-Cutter Conscience

I work at a fabric store. Specifically, I'm the nighttime manager. However, I still have to do my fair share of customer service to back up my employees, especially since we've had to way understaff lately with the economy being so bad.

So the other day I was in the back once again reorganizing the clearance fabric, and started thinking about Bush's 11th hour HHS regulation, the "provider conscience" rule. What a trip it would be, I thought, if this applied to more than just the medical field. And what if the regulation worked the other way around? People simply wouldn't stand for that, would they?

That's when I let my mind drift further off to have one of my trademark imaginary conversations...

(Scene: We open on Lauren, our heroine, working her pay-the-bills job at the fabric store. She's dressed in black pants, a white collared shirt, and the inevitable green apron. A customer walks to the cutting counter with a cart full of flannel fabric.)

Lauren: Hi there, can I help you?
Customer: Yes, this is the flannel that's on sale, right?
Lauren: Yes ma'am, $2.00 a yard. How much do you need?
Customer: (Placing several bolts on the counter) I need a yard and a half of each, please.
Lauren: Can do. What are you making?
Customer: We're making baby blankets to donate to the local crisis pregnancy center. (Note: I have actually cut fabric for people who say they're donating to a CPC. That sort of thing would happen to me, huh?)
Lauren: Oh. (Stops measuring.) I'm sorry ma'am, but I cannot cut this fabric for you.
Customer: I'm sorry? Why not?
Lauren: You see, I am morally opposed to the way crisis pregnancy centers operate. It's actually kind of a huge issue for me. I know that if I cut this fabric, a crisis pregnancy center will receive a donation that will further its anti-choice agenda and allow it to continue dolling out false medical information to vulnerable women. I simply cannot take part in any act that would help their function, no matter how big or small.
Customer: Oh, I see. Okay then, is there anyone else here who can cut this for me?
Lauren: Well, that's complicated. You see, I'm the current manager on duty. My employees would face a lot of scrutiny from their bosses if they knowingly aided in the operation of a CPC. Should management turn against them for any reason, be it professional or personal, their job could be in jeopardy.
Customer: Well I'm calling the company about this!
Lauren: Go ahead. Universal provider-conscience rules prohibit the firing of any employee on the basis of their acting on a moral conviction.
Okay, I want to speak to your manager about this!
I am the manager.
How did you become the manager?!
See, that's the real kicker! In addition to not being able to fire me, universal provider conscience rules also declare companies also cannot refuse to hire or promote any individual whose convictions will interfere with the company's operation or its integrity! They can't touch me!
Customer: We
ll it is the law, and your convictions are protected by it. I guess I'll have to drive across town to the other fabric store and see if they will help me out.

It's fun to dream...

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