Mike Rowe Just Needs One Pic of a New Monopoly Figurine to Show What’s Wrong With America’s Work Ethic

Toy company Hasbro recently held a contest that allowed fans of its Monopoly game to vote on what tokens the game should have. KTLA wrote that there were 64 options, eight of which were the pieces already included in the game.

At least two companies got in on the fun, rallying fans to keep iconic tokens, such as the thimble and wheelbarrow, in the game:

Cast your vote to keep the thimble token in the Monopoly game! #thumbsupforthimbles #monopolyvote

Posted by Singer Sewing Company on Monday, January 16, 2017

SAVE THE WHEELBARROW! For the last 67 years the Wheelbarrow has been helping build properties all across the Monopoly…

Posted by Ace Hardware on Wednesday, January 11, 2017

In the end, three new tokens were chosen: a rubber ducky, a penguin, and a T-Rex.

Naturally, not everyone was happy about the replacement of the boot, thimble, and wheelbarrow tokens:

The post on your newsfeed you are least likely to care about: Parker Brothers has eliminated the boot (shoe),…

Posted by Jordan Hue on Monday, March 20, 2017

Among the dissatisfied was John Pribe, who reached out to Mike Rowe for his thoughts on the change:

Off The Wall Hey Mike – Are you shocked and outraged by the sudden disappearance of the work boot, the thimble, and…

Posted by Mike Rowe on Monday, March 20, 2017

Rowe wrote, in part:

But I must confess, I was deeply dismayed to read about the sudden banishment of honest work from the Monopoly board. And I was doubly dismayed by their duly elected replacements – a rubber ducky, a penguin, and a dinosaur. That’s right – we didn’t just eliminate three iconic tokens of work – we supplanted them with a baby’s toy, an over-dressed bird, and a dead lizard.

He explained that when Hasbro made another change, swapping out the iron for a cat, he also expressed some dismay because of what it seemed to represent:

It began in 2013, when the noble iron was replaced by a cat. (A cat! See? This is what happens when people are allowed to vote on the Internet!) In the wake of this travesty, I wrote that the iron was “a truly transformative invention that allowed men and women of all classes to walk around without looking like a piece of used Kleenex.” I also said, with all due respect to felines, that it was “an ironic decision, given the fact that cats view humans with the same contempt that humans view housework.” Anyway, the Iron/Cat debacle was four years ago, but clearly, a mere harbinger of things to come. Because this week, we have lost three more symbols that helped make America great, and their loss is no small thing.

Rowe was quick to point out that he supports the right of Hasbro to change its game pieces. But he added that it was not the company that made the decision of what would go and what would stay … and it reflects the current climate in America:

But this recent change is not a reflection of what the company wants – this is a reflection of what real people actually voted for. And the people have spoken. The wheelbarrow is out. The rubber ducky is in. And the real question, John, is why are you shocked? Why is anyone?

As of today, we have 5.5 million jobs that companies can’t seem to fill. Why? Because many of those opportunities look like work. Many require the willingness to push a wheelbarrow, or don some steel-toed footwear. I don’t know about the thimble, per se, but I do believe that if society valued the people who make our clothes, the humble thimble would still be passing Go, and still collecting $200. Likewise the wheelbarrow, the iron, and the work boot. But alas – these tokens no longer represent the kind of opportunities that people desire.

In his response, Rowe mentioned millions of unfilled jobs. He also pointed out that his mikeroweWorks Foundation helps people get training for said jobs and even has $500,000 available in scholarships.

According to KTLA, Rowe’s Facebook post may have made a valid point. Senior Vice President of Marketing for Hasbro Gaming, Jonathan Berkowitz, said contest voters just didn’t seem to embrace the tokens that were replaced:

“I imagine that the thimble, boot, and wheelbarrow tokens don’t resonate as much with today’s fans.”

According to Monster, blue collar jobs are among the most difficult to fill, with jobs in skilled trades such as carpentry, welding, plumbing, electrical work, and masonry ranking among the hardest. This comes despite the fact that workers in those areas are in high demand.

What do you think?

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