Saturday, November 15, 2008

Crossing the picket line, K-Mart

I was basically a student in Canada, and there were not many things that I consider eventful to rehash about. There was however, this incident involving K-Mart. My friends, P, K and W got wind that the workers at K-Mart were on strike, and the management was putting on a big sale.

The Windsor University where I was attending was about two kilometers from that shopping mall, and there was no bus service there. Students used to walk there and walk back pushing their trollies of grocery. There were trollies left around the residential halls, and I think K-Mart paid boys to come to retrieve them.

On that occasion, it was winter, and the ground was thick with white snow. My three guy friends persuaded me to go for a bargain. I wasn't very keen as I didn't have anything in particular from K-Mart to buy and I didn't fancy walking in the cold.

I didn't mind going on an outing, and when we got there, there were workers holding placards and shouting slogans about unfair treatment. There were some Canadians crossing the picket lines despite the loud heckles. I was quite nervous when the workers started to push and joist me and shouting," We supported you, you should support us."

I panicked and froze, I was in tears and my three guy friends came to rescue me and dragged me inside the store.

The irony was the merchantise didn't seem any cheaper than before. I picked up a white cotton sleeping gown which looked like what Arab man's dishdasha. I didn't wear it very often and I brought it with me to New Zealand. Years later, after I got married, the water engineer and I went to a Navigators' fancy dress party. He wore it as an Arab man wearing his dishdasha and a white single bedsheet for his head gear.

K-Mart came and just as swiftly went in Singapore. One day we were there, and they had the red light special. They were selling American vases very cheaply. I bought a couple, and I still have one with me. When I see it, or when I go near K-Mart, at St Luke Square in Auckland, I think of the brush I had with the strikers in Windsor, Ontario.

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