Something better to do

By | October 10, 2005

“Did you see my letter in the paper?” I asked my sister and her husband as we sat down in the restaurant.

“Yes,” they said, laughing. “Our friends did, too. They all got a big kick out of it. Sure, they’ve all encountered the problem you wrote about, but why waste your time complaining to the paper about it? Don’t you have anything better to do?

My sister’s reaction wasn’t terribly surprising. She and I have always had a rather different outlook on life. Besides, I’ll always be her “little brother;” on the rare occasions when we try to have serious discussions, it seems like the possibility that I might have a valid opinion never crosses her mind. Still, the question remains. Why do I bother?

My friends joke that I have a “bad customer service aura.” If there’s any way a business can mistreat a customer, they’ll do it to me. Or, at least, so it seems, given the long collection of stories I’ve amassed and shared with them over the years. I don’t really have that much more trouble than others; the difference is that I care more than others.

To most people, the little injustices that crop up in everyday life are just something to be coped with as quickly as possible. Why make a fuss about things that happen to everybody? Why worry about the little things when there are big things to worry about? “Your letter was beautifully written, as always,” my sister said. “But why don’t you write about something meaningful like world peace?” (Yes, she really said that.)

I see things a little differently. I don’t expect ever to be rich and/or famous. I don’t expect ever to be a “powerful” person. I doubt anything I could write would have much of an impact on world peace. But where I can make a difference is in the little things. Institutions mistreat people because they can. They can because people let them get away with it. When enough people refuse to put up with mistreatment, the mistreatment stops. And even if it doesn’t, it’s worth it to fight back if it saves just a single person from being mistreated as I was.

Speaking out about injustice, no matter how small, is a moral obligation. It is, indeed, something better to do, and I’ll keep doing it, God willing, for as long as there’s injustice to speak out about. And now, thanks to my sister’s unintended inspiration, I’ve got a blog to do it in.

(Incidentally, if you’re curious, you can see what prompted me to write to the paper here.)

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10 thoughts on “Something better to do

  1. George Horsford

    Is the Faire wheelchair accessible?
    I can’t find a word about it.

    Reply
  2. mike from swampscott,ma

    good for you.their motto is suck the commoners dry!!!!!!!

    Reply
  3. PUBLIC ADVOCATE

    TO YOU WHO HAD THE STRENGTH TO SPEAK OUT… FROM ME, WHO ALWAYS, ALWAYS DOES THE SAME AND FOLLOWS THROUGH TO BRING ABOUT CHANGE EVERYWHERE I GO…

    YASHER KOACH!!

    Reply
  4. Denise

    I used to work at the Faire. It singularly soured me to the whole Renn Faire experience for a long while, and even now, I seldom attend them.

    Oh, I know it was unique to the KRF. I also know it’s because of Bonnie Shapiro. There are a LOT of ex-employees, and ex-customers who fully agree with what you’re saying. Some of the ex-employees have gone out of the way to create competition for the Faire. (There’s more than just the Connecticut Faire, by the way, though that one’s very good.)

    The downfall, TBH, happened when Bonnie’s husband, Dick, died. And now, without their fantastic King (That was Ray), and their fantastic Queen (Bodge) both who have passed…I can’t see where the Faire could have any redeeming value.

    I’m personally glad I’m no longer in the Boston area…I have the Renn Faire venues where they still give a passing nod to entertainment and it’s not only about skinflinting all the customers.

    Every point you’d made in that article, and your letter to Bonnie, was accurate and was valid. Not just for Jewish people, but everyone.

    If they’re charging 25 bucks for a “show,” then the show should be worth it…but they’ve reduced the “show” quality to about 20 percent of what it used to be…it’s more about “come in and shop at our vendors.” So you’re paying to pay.

    And then the food…it’s good food, yes (if you can eat it), but it’s hardly worth the money they charge for it.

    The games? Silly, and not well done at all anymore.

    Music has all but vanished, they used to have such a great minstrel base…and it’s skinned down to next to nothing. The performers don’t want anything to do with the Faire anymore, due to lack of fair treatment. Fair treatment. Ooh, a pun.

    The jousts are the same each time, and the real excitement has gone from it. They serve alcohol, and most who come (without children) come to get plastered…

    so the interns don’t learn, don’t act…they spend all their time playing “calm the drunk.”

    No, the CT faire is by far the better options. I’m sad to say, I’d love to see the KRF fold.

    Reply
  5. Pablo Alvarez

    I decided not to take my kids to the Faire this weekend. jik’s article, which came up #2 on Google, was one of several reasons (I have a son who cannot eat wheat). So yes, the article did have some small impact.

    Complaining is common. Actually doing something about the complaint and trying to hold people responsible is much less so, and is indeed one way to make the world work better. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
  6. SANDRALEE

    I AGREE WITH YOU I WAS TREATED POOR BY THE MANAGERS OF THE FAIRE FROM THE GM TO THE MANAGER HIMSELF THEY USE TO GIVE ME BROCHURES FOR MY BED AND BREAKFAST IN CAPE COD,MA THIS YEAR THE GM TOLD ME SHE NEVER HEARD OF ME & THAT I WAS NOT ON THE LIST THEREFORE I GET NOTHING WHEN I CONNTACTED THE MANAGER I WAS TOLD THE SAME BY HIM , BELIEVE ME!! I’M SURE THE FAMILY OF THEM MANAGER’S GETS IN FREE THIS YEAR I HAVE NO BROCHURES TO GIVE MY GUESTS I USE TO PROMOTE THE FAIRE I WAS DRESSING UP AS THE PRINCESS MY SON WAS THE LORD & MY GRANNDSONS DRESSED UP AS WELL THIS YR WE ARE DEVESTATED BY THE BEHAVOIR OF THOSE MANAGERS IT WAS UN- EXCEPTABLE & HORRIABLE TO TREAT PROPLE THAT WAY WHAT MAKES THEM THINK THEY ARE ABOVE US IN ADDITION THEY ARE NOT FOR GAINING THE FAIRE ANY MONEY WITH ATTITIDE LIKE THAT AS FOR THE PERFORMERS U CAN’T ASK FOR BETTER THEY ARE GREAT & THE FOOD IS GOOD I’M SORRY THAT U HAD THE PROBLEM IN A CASE SUCH AS YOURS THEY SHOULD MAKE ALLOWANCES FOR PEOPLE LIKE YOURSELF THAT WAS WRONG & WHAT THEY ARE DOING TO ME IS WRONG I HAVE PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD !! THEY THE MANAGERS TOLD ME THE ONLY WAY THEY WILL CONSIDER ME IS IF I SHOW PROFF FROM LAST YEAR WHO IN GOD’S NAME WILL KEEP THE ENVOLOPE THEY SENT ME WITH BROCHURES & FREE TICKETS FROM LAST YR THAT IS ABSURED & NOW I HAD TO BREAK MY GRANDSONS HEARTS I TOLD THEM GRAM SHIP THAT IS WHAT THEY CALL ME ,CAN’T ATTEND THE FAIRE THIS YR FOR THEY CLAIM THEY NEVER HEARD OF ME THE G.M. & THE MANAGER HIMSELF HOW DISRESPECTFUL & FOR HER THE G.M. TO SAY TO ME SHE HAD THE ODIOUS TO PUT IT LIKE THIS & I QUOTE I HAVE GIVEN ALL THAT I WILL THIS YEAR & YOU ARE NOT ON MY LIST , THEREFORE YOU GET NOTHING THIS YEAR, I WAS APPALLED & DEVESTATED OVER THIS WE HAD BEEN FAITHFUL FOLLOWERS OF KING RICHARD FOR YEARS MY SON STARTED THE TREND HIS NAME IS CHAD & WE JUST GROW EVERY YEAR IT IS A SHAME DOWN RIGHT DISGRACE, THE MANAGER & THE G.M. SHOULD BE FIRED THEY ARE DESTROYING THE FAIRE NOT PROMOTING IT LITTLE DO THYE KNOW SURPRISE, SURPRISE THE OWNER OF THE FAIRE WILL KNOW & I HAVE PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD COME TO MY PLACE & NOW THEY HAVE RUINED IT FOR THEM TO COME TO THE FAIRE DO YOU BELIEVE THE MANAGERS TURNED DOWN SENDING ME BROCHURES LIKE I HAVE GOT FOR THE PAST 3 YEARS I TOLD HER WELL HOW ABOUT THE BROCHURES WITH NO FREE TICKETS? THEN INSTEAD SHE SAYS ,NO ,THEY GO HAND IN HAND WOW !!! WHAT A FARCE THEY (THE MANAGERS) HAVE TO BE KIDDING IF THOSE MANAGERS WERE ON MY TEAM & WAS RUINING MY KING RICHARD & FAIRE ,THERE IS NO QUESTION THEY WOULD BE FIRED THAT IS DISCRIMINATION WHAT THEY HAD DONE TO ME & THE OWNER WILL BE SEEKED OUT & TOLD OF THIS MATTER, THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME & TO LISTEN TO MY STORY, I HEAR YOU & FEEL YOU ,BELIEVE ME IT IS A SHAME, GOOD LUCK @ ANOTHER KING RICHARD FAIRE NOT IN CARVER, I SAY WE MOVE THE FAIRE , ALL THE BEST TO YOU, SANDRALEE

    Reply
  7. Rebecca

    Although I am not Jewish, I wholeheartedly agree and support you for ‘making a stink’ about the Renaissance Faire and not being able to bring in your own food. I agree that keeping kosher at these faires is almost impossible, and diabetics have a hard time as well. Your rebuttal to the owner’s letter was well written and very accurate. It seems to me that you are being singled out because of your religious background. I am continually frustrated that I cannot bring in my own beverage when I attend this faire and have made the decision not to go this year.

    Reply
  8. jik Post author

    I’m going to reply to the last comment here in the blog entry devoted to what happened to me at the Faire.

    Reply
  9. Angwantibo

    I almost said that it’s because you’re a redhead, but then I realized that your sister’s a redhead too.

    I think that you enjoy complaining. More power to you.

    Sometimes, leading by example works better than fighting injustice, sometimes not. Sometimes, it’s a person’s style.

    I am a bit surprised by the response of the Faire. Most places that don’t allow food make exceptions for people that keep kosher. The point of not allowing food inside is so that they can make money on concessions. Sporting events have the same policy. But if you’re not going to eat the food there anyway because it’s against you’re religion, they let you in. At McCoy stadium, there are actually several items (including good beer) that can be purchased inside. So I find it hypocritical to try to sneak food in. Instead, I just plan on eating lunch in the car first.

    Sometimes Jews can be the worst offenders.

    Here’s the real questions:

    Do you really think that your letter in the Jewish Advocate will sufficiently reduce the attendance or damage their image to make them rethink their policy? If not, was the fight worth it or at least satisfying?

    Reply

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