This Saturday, December 2nd, was an unofficial national holiday down here in New Zealand. Crate Day was started seven years ago by an NZ radio station, “The Rock”, and is meant to celebrate the first Saturday of summer. Kiwis around the country are meant to pick up a crate of beer from their area of origin, wear shorties (cut-off shorts) and singlets (tank tops) and jandals (flip-flops), and sit outside and start drinking beers at mid-day while cooking some meat on the barbecue.
The holiday is hated by grown-up and civilized people around the country who say it is a throw-back to a New Zealand they are trying to move away from. I read several articles about Crate Day and there is definitely a bit of a fall-out from it. The majority of people who celebrate Crate Day are young millennials who seem to have absolutely no idea how to drink responsibly (go figure).
This is a picture of the village green of Queenstown, down on the South Island. The city is now looking to enact a 48-hour alcohol ban in the town centre after idiots trashed the place and I don’t blame them.
What I do find silly though is the way articles vilify Crate Day and say that it promotes binge drinking and alcoholism. You could say this about any bar or restaurant that sells alcohol as well as the bottle shop down on the corner. One article even went so far as to say that Crate Day is the cause for a rise in domestic abuse. They didn’t cite statistics to prove that there is a rise of domestic abuse calls on that day or anything, it just said, “Crate Day, and binge drinking in itself, is also linked to a rise in domestic abuse”. I’m not defending Crate Day or anything, but man, I just get so irritated by poor journalism. With a whole internet world of information at your fingertips (literally) you’d think people could put some facts in with their articles. If you’re too lazy to do that, then just write a damn editorial.
Speaking of people not utilizing the interwebs, a few weeks ago I did something that I said I would never EVER do…..I got stuck in a comment thread….for like hours.
A friend on Facebook posted a video that had gone viral of this dude in Celina, Ohio walking around the back parking lot of a Walmart and filming shopping cart after shopping cart laden with food that was being thrown away. He held up bakery cakes, milk, cheese, etc. to show that their expiry dates had not yet passed. And he asked the teenage manager (who was very nervous) if he could have some of the food but was denied.
And of course everyone went crazy. Oh! Walmart is so evil! This is what’s wrong with our country! They get too much food shipped to them and then they just throw it out.
It took me about 30 seconds to do a bit of research and find out that Celina had been hit by major storm that caused a 14-hour loss of power. All that food was deemed improperly stored and couldn’t be sold or donated. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t like Walmart. I think a lot of their practices are pretty crummy and rumour has it they treat their employees like shit. But in this instance, they hadn’t done anything wrong (except maybe poor emergency planning….ever heard of back-up generators?) yet everyone just starts spouting vitriol without taking the time to find out the facts.
This drives me freaking crazy!!
Tons of people were commenting on the video so I posted about the storm and how all the food was deemed inedible. And then people started commenting on my post. And I’m sorry but, OH MY GOD PEOPLE ARE DUMB!! One guy said, “It was 34 degrees in Celina that day, they could have just left the food outside and it would have been fine.” I wrote back, “Ummm….no….the FDA has pretty stringent regulations on stuff like that and would have a field day. Plus, if someone drank some milk Walmart left outside, and then FOUND OUT it had been left outside, there’d be a lawsuit.” He answered that Walmart is a multi-billion dollar corporation and they could afford to lose money.
I was getting so worked up. I’m even getting worked up right now thinking about it. I finally had to put my phone down because it was getting late and I had work the next day but then I kept going back to check it and someone else would post an unbelievably stupid comment and my fingers would start typing like crazy. Things like, “The FDA imports in spoiled food from China all the time. They don’t have stringent regulations” and “I work at Whole Foods. We donate rotten food to homeless shelters all the time. They’re starving…they’re just glad to have anything” and “Why did they throw out the cheese then? Cheese is just mold anyway, it can’t go bad.”
I felt like my head was going to explode. I finally turned off all notifications from the post and put my phone on silent but I was still stewing as I fell asleep.
Addendum: I feel it’s important to add that this comment thread I was in was a viral thread, one where hundreds of FB strangers were commenting. It was not on my friend’s page. Just don’t want people thinking I’m a FB bitch to friends of friends. Anyway….
I just find it scary to know how many people out there believe things that are told and/or shown to them without taking even a moments time to verify it. And no…I’m sorry. Not everyone’s opinion is valid. Some opinions are just insanely idiotic and should never, ever be uttered.
Anyway, wow, I went off on a tangent there didn’t I?
So Crate Day. Does it promote drinking? Yes. Do people take it to the extreme? Yes. There are people who ALWAYS will take something to the extreme. And thanks to these people the majority of beaches in New Zealand no longer allow alcohol which stinks because I wouldn’t mind cracking open a beer while staring at the ocean.
I went to my friends’ house for Crate Day. I was of course, a bit nervous about it. A party? Where I probably don’t know many people? This will be GREAT fun. The Crate Day revelries started at 11 am but I intentionally waited until past 2pm to get there because I figured if people were little tipsy they’d be more inclined to talk to the somewhat awkward American girl. Am I an over-thinker?
You better believe it.
Anyway, it turns out I didn’t need to worry at all. The house I went to belonged to a co-worker of Tom’s and his girlfriend. And there were a lot of people there who Tom works with and they all seemed to be surprisingly happy to see me. I was actually pretty touched by it. I had a good time. No awkwardness.
In this picture it doesn’t look like there are a lot of people at the party. This is because I am sitting in the shade of a grove of trees and the majority of people are doing the same thing behind me. It was a hot day and that sun was burn-y. I put a lot of sunscreen on before leaving the house but I still have a VERY obvious tan line.
One of the guys at the party was showing me his watch which has dials that turn orange when he’s being hit by an unhealthy amount of UV. I thought this was pretty funny. I don’t need a watch to tell me when I’m being hit by unhealthy UVs, I know when I am…it’s called being outside in New Zealand.
Anyway, I wanted to post more pictures but I didn’t think to ask people permission to post pictures of them on my blog so I can’t rightly do so. I’m kind of toeing the line with those two dudes standing at the barbecue as it is….
So it seems like summer is finally here in New Zealand and the weather is absolutely beautiful. Three straight days of sunshine with no rain at all. Wow.
And here I go….heading into Texas winter.