Attention Hospitality Industry: YOU DON’T MATTER!
If you haven’t been following the blood-trail this week, the inter-web has become a vicious place of late as a result of the announced WWAC
initiative to rally on the night of what was intended to be the Leafs season opener. Mike Strobel at the Sun picked the story up (http://www.torontosun.com/2012/10/10/can-we-at-least-get-mad-over-the-hockey-lockout-please), opining that whether yer ‘fer or ‘agin Matteo and the rest of the WWAC crew, it’s a typically Canadian position to just roll over and do nothing in the face of any kind of adversity. Strobel points out the results of the recent NFL referee backlash, where an accord was quickly struck, and suggests that it’s a pretty “wuss” way for us puck heads to react by, well, not reacting.
The Sun piece incited a barrage of attacks directed at both WWAC and Strobel, some framed around reasonably sound arguments including a 12-year old report detractors produced as empirical evidence against the negative impact of a work stoppage on the fringe industries catering to the hockey centric consumer. Apparently, the issue of lost wages/opportunity/shifts is imaginary. Well, sort of…
Other arguments were framed around the quality of Strobel’s writing, featuring more empirical evidence in the form of a Word-based writing analysis utility, suggesting Mr. Strobel writes at a pre-secondary school level. The pile-on continued, with references made to the author’s physical appearance, hairline or lack of, and other clearly scientific/impartial/rational bases for their collective contentions. Classy stuff…
After more than enough dialogue with the nay-sayers far too sophisticated to take Joffrey Lupul’s suggestion (https://twitter.com/JLupul/status/247122264804442112/photo/1) and use our collective leverage by having a voice in this mess, what we can glean from their position is that although a small problem may exist, ultimately, it doesn’t matter, and neither do those affected. Here’s why:
1. Revenues lost due to an NHL stoppage don’t dry up, based on “macro” economics. They are simply re-distributed. Cool…that’s actually a bit of a relief…unless you’re personally affected. And if you are, you’re probably stupid, or lazy, and need to make yourself more marketable. The law of supply and demand is apparently a non-starter here.
2. The fact that a contingent of the economic workforce suffers is inconsequential, as proven by the communist dictator Stalin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Stalin) quote submitted, suggesting that the plight of the relative “few” means precious little in the grand scheme of things. Now that’s comforting, isn’t it? Better red than…fed?
3. Any attempt to illuminate the issue by introducing a human component to the story, such as the impact on the single mom or college kid is willfully manipulative, sensationalist, and anecdotal; therefore, inadmissible in the high court of popular opinion. Popular opinion being theirs, of course.
4. Proprietors of establishments catering to sports-centric consumers have nobody to blame but themselves for their “folly”. If they’re feeling the hit, it’s all down to looking in the mirror and admitting that your problem is lack of business savvy. Because, that’s how capitalism works.
So, we have an argument framed around the virtues of capitalism, supported by a quote originating from the lips of the father of communism. I’m no political scientist or mechanical engineer; I’m just a dumb drummer/opinionist who really likes hockey, but…how can I say this without stooping to hyperbole or relying on rhetoric: W.T. F. ?
Citing communist principles to support a capitalist manifesto…a heady undertaking, indeed…maybe I should just stick to hitting round things and counting to four…oh yeah, the odd drummer joke for good measure reared its head on a few occasions as well.
While our “friends” we share the information superhighway with endeavor to paint anyone with an opinion they care to voice an incriminating shade of irrational, the simple truth is that the man behind the initiative at WWAC is anything but the idealistic “man-child” some would like you to believe. A successful entrepreneur, father, son and hockey fan, Matteo Codispotti founded WWAC based on the premise that he and his best friend (his father) have never once been to a Leaf playoff game. There I go humanizing things again. It bothered him enough to leverage the tools available to us all to establish a voice for frustrated Leaf fans:
“This lockout is different… fans now have social media, so we felt it was our responsibility to use our influence and help the fans voice their opinions’’. Matteo continues: “This is the start (and) we want to ask others in social media to use the powers productively, and use our template to organize events in other cities’’.
What a heretic…
Despite accusations of shady motives and self-serving agendas (Matteo also runs a small cafe in the GTA) it’s really no more insidious than that. It’s about hockey, and its absence, and the surrounding issues, not online tribal warfare between ‘’rival’’ sites who disapprove of anyone with something to say on the matter.
As the resident “opinionist’’ for WWAC, my opinion, not necessarily supported or refuted by my colleagues, is that the little guy in this, the single moms and dads, the waiters, waiters doormen and arena staff, as well as a host of other people earning an honest buck deserve to be represented. Twelve year old reports and communist literature notwithstanding, if you’re taking a hit, it matters. Whether it’s a few dozen or several hundred affected financially, the issue still exists, and that makes it worthy of commentary. At least to us at WWAC.
Matteo tells me he doesn’t care if 5 or 500 people turn up on Saturday. It’s about starting a groundswell, not storming the gates. Whether 5 or 500 like those in the hospitality and related industries, your voices count.
Twitter : @ODurkin