Monday, January 11, 2010

A Rant A Day Keeps High Blood Pressure Away

One day last week I went to town to run a few errands. Returning home an hour or so later, I felt lucky to have survived the trip without personal injury.

Our weather has been atrocious lately: a little snow, but more in the way of wind, rain, hail, and sleet.

Conditions have made for a lot of ice, both on the roadways and walking areas. At home here, we're able to keep critical areas shoveled, salted and sanded . . . for the most part anyway. But what the heck has happened around public places in town? When did we lose any sense of personal responsibility for keeping sidewalks, walkways, and entrances clear of snow and ice?

There was recently an article in our local paper explaining what areas of town proper the county is responsible for and what areas the city is responsible for. There is apparently a lack in both departments of enough personnel and financial wherewithal to keep all areas free of snow and ice.

Okay, but don't business owners feel any responsibility to get out and shovel the sidewalks or entrances to their places of business anymore? Is it cheaper to buy liability insurance (in case of customer injury) rather than taking the time to clean away the ice and snow?

Although I'm in the second half century of my life, I'm still in darned good shape. (Well, physically anyway.) I'm not particularly afraid of taking a spill on the ice. My thick German bones seem to bend and bounce without any trouble. But, my gosh, anyone who was a little unsure on their feet or frail or prone to get hurt if they fell wouldn't have been able to navigate in and out of nearly any of the places I went on my town errands.

Lumps and chunks and ruts and ridges of snow and ice on sidewalks, nearly smack up to the doors of places of business. I mean the situation was truly unbelievable. It used to be that the first thing a business owner did before opening in the morning of a winter's day was to go out and shovel, sand and salt the approach to his place of business.

The entry to one public place I went in looked like it had had a very heavy build-up of ice on the sidewalk in front. (Well, I know it must have because there's always been a steady dripping from the roof of the entryway right smack on the sidewalk whenever the temperature is warm enough for melting.) The whole sidewalk area looked like someone had come out with a shovel or ice-breaker-upper thingie and chopped the thick ice into chunks so it wasn't glare ice anymore. AND THEN LEFT ALL THE BROKEN UP ICE CHUNKS LYING THERE! They subsequently refroze and don'tcha think that made for interesting navigating!

I'm sorry, I just don't get it. When did we lose the personal responsibility? We have advanced so far technologically, but common sense and person responsibility are disappearing faster than the speed of sound.

I find that downright disturbing.


  1. I remember when I was a kid in my small town that even if the streets hadn't been done yet early in the morning the shopkeepers would still be out there shoveling, sweeping and salting! I even knew a highschooler that would go in to his "afterschool" job before school to help with that chore! You are right, and especially in these hard economic times you would think it would pay off to keep your entrances welcoming and safe...

  2. Hi, Erin - Exactly! When I first started doing the early morning baking in the restaurant I ended up purchasing, I was expected to come in early enough to have time to do the shoveling, sweeping, etc. of the sidewalk in front and all the way to the sidewalk of the store next door. Seems like it's been a long time, too, since people in town have shoveled the sidewalks in front of their own homes. Sigh.

  3. You sure called this one right! Maybe this situation merits a few calls to the businesses lacking in snow removal etiquette? Or perhaps to the chamber of commerce or city council? Not sure which would be best but it sounds to me like an accident waiting to happen.

    A gal that used to work at our local public school fell down on the ice and eventually had to quit due to her injuries. She had been pestering the school for a long while to do a better job of cleaning up after snow/ice, but they never did. You can bet they do now. Not sure if a law-suit followed that one or not. Good luck!

  4. There's a bit of a decline of just doing the right thing...just because. Unless there is something in it for me, I'll just go do whatever I want and not worry about you. I pulled over a couple of weeks ago to help an older couple get across an icy sidewalk. I'm sure it was taken care of by the time they came out, because they were talking about some salt when they went into the diner, but how many people drove by these people slipping on the sidewalk, just not thinking...

  5. Hi, Melissa - From what I've been hearing from other people, comments to merchants are falling on deaf ears. How sad.

    Karen Sue - Yup, that's another "problem" with our present society: selfishness pervades and very few people take the time to extent help to others . . . even though it might require only minutes of your time. (You should get a Gold Star for stopping to help that couple!)

  6. Mama Pea,
    That is a shame that the retailers aren't listening to the needs of their potential customers. It's almost like they don't care if they do get any business and they'll just do as they please. I think it's pure laziness, if you ask me! Thanks for the thought provoking post. Take care:)

  7. I agree with Melissa, "pure laziness" There are enough snow & ice melt products available anymore, or a little elbow grease with a shovel and ice pick work too. Hopefully the warm temps from here in the south will reach you guys in the next week too so some of your ice and snow melts a bit.

  8. Hi, Ruthie - I think you're right. So many people are truly lazy these days. (No wonder their bodies give out!) I have to learn that I can't change others though. Just gotta change my reactions so I don't burst a blood vessel!