Caution: Rant Ahead.
You've been warned.
This morning I went to set up my goodies at the local Farmers Market. Around 10:30, a lady brandishing a clipboard walks up to one of the first vendors. Being as there were only six of us there, everyone stops to eavesdrop on what was transpiring. The woman was from The Arkansas Department of Finance and was here because of a “complaint”. Not a complaint about the health or safety of the market, but because supposedly some snitch was upset that the vendors weren’t collecting sales tax at the venue. First of all, I hate a snitch. I’m not talking about “Oh, I just killed somebody, but don’t you go telling on me” kind’a snitch. But a busy-body kind’a snitch that has nothing better to do than stir things up or make him/herself feel better because we’re “getting away” with not collecting sales tax.
And truthfully, I’d bet my best milking doe that it wasn’t really a snitch, I mean, complaint, but the fact that the state has nothing better to do than to squeeze every last stinking penny out of every last citizen.
As soon as I realized who the lady was, I tore down my little display, put away my table and chair and started to put my bread & cookies in the car. There was no way in hell I was going to even acknowledge this woman’s existence other than removing myself from the immediate area before I blew a gasket. But then I got to thinking. Why should I have to “run and hide” from a civil servant? Remember when that’s what they used to be called. You know, when we actually thought that they worked for us?
So I took my remaining goodies, went down the aisle of vendors and passed out bags of cookies to customers with a smile. I also mentioned (so the civil servant could clearly hear) exactly WHY I was giving the cookies away for free. I told them that because of the woman (and pointed directly at her) from the department of revenue, I would no longer be selling my items at the market. I told them I refused to charge or collect sales tax for the state and that they could thank the woman over there for effectively running out every vendor at the market.
Four of us have already said we wern’t going to continue the market. How completely sad is that? All for the sake of a few dollars of “revenue” for the state. How’s that for stifling the local economy?
It’s not like any of us were really making money. And I’m sure if one actually factored time/labor into the goods being offered for sale, that we were probably losing money. But this was a nice little venue. A place where local residents could drive or even walk to, in the middle of a quiet park, and do a little shopping to support their friends and neighbors, buy a cookie for their kids or biscuit for their dog.
But the state has to stick it’s damned nose in everything and bleed us for everything we do. The fruit of our labors is no longer our own. The state comes and picks the ripest, juiciest fruit from our tree of labor and leaves us to gather up the rotten or spoiled fruits for ourselves. I know, this is nothing new, but I guess it just pisses me off when it comes down to this. A tiny bunch of retired old folks, selling banana bread, homemade crafts or vegetables from their neighbor’s farm just wanting to do something other than sit at home watching Dancing With the Stars. A few hours out of the week to socialize and meet new friends or talk with old ones. How much money does the state collect from this (and even the surrounding) Farmers Market? Do you want to bet it doesn’t even remotely cover her taxpayer funded salary or all the other government red tape and costs?
So. Back to me. Me, me, me, it’s all about me you know.
Civil Servant Woman did not say a word to me, nor do I think she went out of her way to try. Lucky her because I REALLY would have given her a piece of my mind. Now don’t pull the “it’s just her job” crap on me either like I heard her say. You know what? Just because your superior tells you it’s in your job description to do X Y or Z does not make it right. You do NOT have to take employment with entities like that. Period. She is carrying out immoral, unethical and downright despicable acts in the name of her superior, in the name of her fancy pants government agency. Paid for by us, by the way. She needs to be shunned. She is taking part of a government supported theft of property, period. I heard her say things like “I wish I didn’t have to do this” or “I hate to tell you this, but….” several times during conversations with the other vendors. If she really felt that way, she wouldn’t take a job like that. Stop blaming The Boss or The State or Gawdknowswho for what YOU are doing.
Ok, back again.
I took the remaining loaves of bread and cookies to the real estate company, bank and water department just down the block from the Market. And told them the same thing. That they wouldn’t be seeing me at the market from now on and I thanked them for their past business. And every single one of them were disgusted at what had happened. So why is it that one civil servant holds such power over so many others with opposing views? How have we let our civil servants become our masters?
Ok, back again again.
Once I was in the car, with my pitiful $12 worth of sales (not income, mind you) and on the way home, I got to thinking. Although I told the other vendors that I refused to come back because of the events that morning, I indeed WAS going to come back next week. Because I’ve been hatching little plans and ideas in my twisted right-wing-redneck-patriot-homeschooling-raw-milk-drinking head.
I will not be silenced. I will not bow down to one lady with a clipboard and a fancy title. I will stand up to this (albeit small and trivial) outrage because if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.
You’ll just all have to wait until next Friday to see what “devious” plans I have come up with :)
If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.