How Much Stuff Do We Really Need?

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Every year we kick off the holiday season with Thanksgiving, a day when we stuff the turkey, stuff ourselves and give thanks for all the people and stuff in our lives. We’ve barely had time to digest the Turkey before we’re out the door to be the first ones in line to get more stuff to place under the Christmas tree for our family and friends, more stuff to ensure we are the most decorated house on the block, more stuff to find a place for, more stuff to dust, and more stuff to ultimately ignore. When is it enough? When is it too much?

In this video, Father Scott J. Brown references a family in Ethiopia who seems content with twenty-eight possessions in a 360 square foot hut, a very different picture from the average 2500 square foot American household. At what point do we have enough stuff in our lives?

Sarah Book Publishing

Sarah Book Publishing

Scott J. Brown is also a children’s author. His latest book, a must read, tells the story of three kings who face the dilemma of (gasp) having to come up with a personal gift fit for a king when the shops were already closed for the day. Purchase The Gift of You here and share the story with your children this season.

Little Miss Wordy

Reported Death at the Walmart

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Breaking news…or maybe not. I am reporting a death at the Wal-Mart. Which Wal-Mart? Any actually, or Target or any local grocery store for that matter. You see this death can unfortunately be witnessed anywhere in our society today, Wal-Mart just happened to be the scene of the crime for me. It’s not the death of fashion sense as many of you are thinking, though that is evident as well. It is the death of common courtesy. It saddens me and infuriates me all at once that common courtesy is something I now consider a special treat just out of my reach that makes me oh so happy to be on the receiving end on occasions that are few and far between. From the aggressive jockeying for a parking space in the parking lot to the blocking of the entrance while wrapping up a cellphone call, so many people seem to be oblivious to those around them. Where does this sense of entitlement come from? What makes someone believe it is more important for them to get that item off the shelf than it is for the person standing in front of that shelf, and to do it without the two simple words, “excuse me” preceding their action?

In my opinion, customer service goes hand in hand with common courtesy as well, yet it has become increasingly more difficult to find anymore. This is even more surprising given business owners actually pay their employees to make us feel welcome. How you treat your customer is how you should treat a guest in your home isn’t it? Make them feel so welcome they walk away with a pleasant feeling and want to come back for another visit. Common courtesy. If someone came to visit your home and asked you where the bathroom is located, you would likely walk them down the hall to the left and show them where it is located. If someone came to your place of business and asked you where the shower curtains were you should probably walk them to that aisle and show them where they are located. You might even want to do it with a smile on your face.

A few years back, Wal-mart came out with the genius idea of specifically hiring employees to be “greeters” at the entrance to their stores. Forgive me if I sound ignorant, but shouldn’t all employees be “greeters” and if you are actually going to pay people to say “hello” and “welcome” to your customers shouldn’t they follow through and say “thank you for coming” or something along those lines as your customers exit the store? Instead, they ask for your receipt supposedly with the purpose of ensuring you didn’t sneak anything in your cart after you paid which would be an impressive feat in and of itself. This receipt perusal doesn’t give the customer a warm fuzzy feeling…just saying. Maybe it wouldn’t bug me so much if there was any possible way this employee could actually determine all the items in my cart actually match the items on the receipt in the 0.23 seconds they take to review the receipt, glance at the cart, and mark the receipt with the all important yellow highlighter or scribble of their choice before you may exit the store.

Of course, upon exiting said store the death of common courtesy is all over the parking lot too. Nothing like arriving at your car to load your purchases only to find someone thought it perfectly acceptable to leave their shopping cart directly behind your car, instead of walking a couple of steps to return it to the shopping cart area. And if it’s your lucky day, you may find a dirty diaper on the ground as you open your car door!

RIP Common Courtesy. You are gone but not forgotten.