How much is enough?

Look around you. How much have you got? I mean, in terms of possessions. Have you a house, furniture, ornaments? A wardrobe full of clothes, some that you wear, and others that just sit there? Do you have a car? Perhaps you have some valuable jewellery? How about a gazillion gadgets, without which life would be impossible? Now, take yourself out of this picture. Imagine someone sorting through all this “stuff” of yours. How much do you think they would keep? What would hold any kind of significance for them? How much do you think would be sold or disposed off or end up in a landfill somewhere?

I say this because I am in the throes of sorting out a loved ones belongings. There isn’t that much to sort. He lived a very simple life. We, on the other hand, live amongst the day to day clutter that life seems to bring in its wake. How much does a person need anyway? And why do we place such importance on material things? Why not surround ourselves with love, goodwill, peace and harmony? Surely these are far greater indicators of a life being lived well.

My lesson in all of this has been to enjoy all that I have, while I can. Not to add to my nonsensical pile of nothing with more of the same. And finally, to try and pare it all down. For someday, someone will be going through my lifetime’s accumulation of things, and will have to make painful decisions on what to keep and what to dispose.

I hope neither pile is too high.

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Maybe you get bad customer service because you’re a bad customer

Fantastic! And a great follow up to my last blog.

The Matt Walsh Blog

I could have taken a picture of you and posted it here to publicly shame you, but I didn’t. That’s because I am not trying to be vindictive, ma’am. I’d merely like to answer that question you posed. This can be what the politicians call a “teachable moment” for you and everyone like you.

See, I was in line at that particular fast food establishment yesterday. You probably didn’t notice me, I assume you didn’t notice any of us from the way you blatantly barged to the front. I was about to tap you on the shoulder and politely explain how lines are supposed to work in a civilized society, but I could tell you were in the throes of an ungodly rage. I figured this must be an emergency. My God, you were practically foaming at the mouth. I thought maybe someone at the counter had killed your dog…

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Nasty or Nice?

Yesterday I encountered an interesting situation. I, somewhat symbolically, became a punching bag for someone. His (verbal) attack was vicious, unexpected and unwarranted. Now, I do understand that his frustration was directed towards my company. I was just the unfortunate person who happened to be in the line of fire. However, it did get me wondering about the nature of nastiness, provoked or unprovoked.

Anyone who works in a customer service arena will attest that although, nine times out of ten, people are nice, it’s always the tenth- the nasty one- that sticks in the mind. Why is that? Is it because the emotions that a negative encounter stirs up are so much more complex, and likely to linger much after the event?

Moreover, how one deals with something like this also reveals a lot about oneself. Are you nice to nasty, or nasty to nasty? As for me, I stood my ground, and reiterated that the situation was beyond my control. I didn’t turn nasty, but refused to turn into a doormat either. My colleague congratulated me on standing up to the bullying behaviour of this particular person. But he also pointed out something rather thought provoking.

Why had this man not railed at my (male) colleague, yet, repeatedly, insistently, picked on me? Because, as a woman, I was more likely to give him an emotional response. As a woman, I was perhaps, in his mind, more vulnerable, As a woman, it was easier to dump his anger on me.

Living in the West, sometimes it is easy to forget the kind of prejudice that women face in other parts of the world. When something like this happens, I do wonder, whether to men, or certainly these kind of men, women are still the inferior species?

Anyway, back to the man and his outburst. Reminds me of the idiom: You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Had he been nicer, I still wouldn’t have been able to change the situation, but I would certainly have tried to help him in whatever way possible.

Bottom line is, it rarely pays to be nasty in the long run.