There's some discussion on a few blogs about the lack of women in UK politics. I added a comment that there seemed to be a lot of standing around waiting for some other gal to step up, and inserted one of my fave quotes, which London City Mum reminded me, was by Ghandi.
"Be the change you want to see in the world".
Isn't that brilliant? In other words, get off your arse and do something about it yourself. I know I do a lot of ranting, but I like to think I take action when and where I can. Not that I'm at all interested in any kind of "office". Heck, two years as President of the Board of my kids' nursery school (a rather large job in the US) was enough to put me off any kind of title for the rest of my life. At their current school, which also requires a lot of parental "volunteering", I have turned down many requests to be on this committee and that committee, instead being co-in charge of the world's largest garage/jumble sale, which incidentally is this weekend. Every Tuesday morning for the entire school year, we role our sleeves up, rummage through people's donations, sort them into boxes, take the occasional "gem" home for a wash, and never have to sit around a table staring at an agenda. I love it.
Anyway, back to being the change and all that. The other ways I do this are firing off letters about shoddy service. Having once worked briefly in the retail business, I know that bad news travels a lot faster than good news; if anyone is irate enough to "write in", they are usually really pissed off and your worst kind of advert. So whenever something really bad happens in that department (and despite the US being known for its fab customer service, there's still quite a lot of crap around), I "write in". Part of my intention is to get back at the pissy little waiter, clerk or sales assistant in question, but the other ten percent is to inform the business owner or the higher echelons of management about what's really going on in their organisation. Half the time they have no idea and are genuinely grateful to be told. And - the best bit - you get quite a lot of freebies if you take the right tone.
In my day I have had $300 knocked off the closing fees when we bought our first house; (our banker went off on holiday in the middle of the crucial part, leaving us high and dry. When we finally got someone else to pick up our file, we were told that he was "doing us a favo(u)r". Bloody cheek!) A certain video rental company gave me $100 of credit on my club card to compensate for one of their sales assistants going off on me because of some error they had made with my details. (I have to admit to being a bit scared of a brick coming through my window after hearing that she was fired.) I was also given a $30 coupon to a rather large chain of Home Improvement stores to make amends for the fact that I waited over three weeks for a call back on a rather large purchase I was planning. (Needless to say I went elsewhere. Heck, I'm not going to work that hard to give someone my money.)
Last summer we had a spate of street robberies, primarily due to the fact there is zero police presence in our 'hood. (It being a "nice" area, where it's assumed we don't need it.) I fired off e-mail after e-mail to our local politicians and police people asking where my tax money was going if we couldn't even get a beat police officer to show up now and again. I won't take credit for the meetings that followed but I know I joined the throng in getting something done about it, and I felt good knowing that I hadn't left it to everyone else.
I'm not quite sure it's what Ghandi had in mind, but it gives me a lot of satisfaction knowing that I'm not just sitting around waiting for someone else to take the lead. Now where's that complaint form?.....