This post was prompted by Teri Conroy’s Times Union Farmlife blog. Here, I elaborated a bit more on my personal business experience.
My comment on Farmlife: Christmas or Merry Christmas has been changed to Happy Holidays to pacify the objectors to the word Christmas. But if it were not for the celebration, and commercialization of Christmas, there would be no Holiday Season….just Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.
Flash mobs can be a beautiful few moments of entertainment. And yes, the presentations are usually in public places like malls, train stations, etc.
I would guess that the reason malls welcome(give permission) to flash mobs during the month of December, is to provide some free entertainment, as in free for them, and free for the shoppers in a vain that will encourage them to spend a few extra dollars at their tenants; not that they necessarily agree with the flash mob’s tenets.
How many have ever been to New York City, or some other city, and witnessed the “street performers” who hope you’ll toss a buck or two in their box or hat. Should they be called “flash performers”?
In either case, if I like what I see/hear, I’ll stick around for a few minutes for the performance.
Now, if I disagree/dislike a performance, I have several options: move on, complain to management, not shop there anymore; or all three.
In my opinion, being politically correct is a double edged sword. One side to “keep the peace”; the other side to be a coward. And sometimes the decision should be to keep it in the scabbard.
Sorta related to this discussion is a real life situation I encountered three or four years ago. I had a customer base of around 200 retailers. Some were stores associated with local or national chains. The majority, probably over 90%, were mom & pop establishments, owned and operated by people who had been born outside of the United States, or at least their family origins were. Examples of where they came from include Sudan, Iran, India, Pakistan, Guyana, and Nepal, amongst other countries.
Obviously, besides the various nationalities, surely there was just as diverse a group of religious beliefs and backgrounds.
So here it was the middle of December as I made my bi-weekly deliveries. Now for my dilemma. Knowing the diversity of my customers, do I make my deliveries, say thank you and walk out the door as usual, or……do I do something else?
I choose to leave the sword in the scabbard. And if you think I wasn’t scared of a possible confrontation, you’d be wrong. But, I figured I’d take the risk that I knew my customers.
As we exchanged paperwork, I held out my hand and shook hands with each and every customer, as I said, “Merry Christmas, or whatever you do, or don’t celebrate”.
To my astonishment, they all returned my greeting with a smile and some version of ‘Merry Christmas to you, too, my friend’. AND…….NO ONE objected or was ticked off, then or down the road! Actually, I believe it strengthened the bond and trust between us.
Although Christmas is still nearly a month away, to all of you, “Aloha, and Mele Kalikimaka, or whatever you do, or don’t observe”.
What I left out in my comment on Teri’s blog, is that I considered this group of customers as sorta my little United Nations. What I learned from them about their homelands and in some cases personal backgrounds, could never be learned in a classroom or the press. And was an education that was priceless. They were all friendly. Fact is, there was a far greater raport with them, than most of the large stores I served. Many, not all, of the large stores, seemed to enjoy creating a power struggle of sorts.
At most of these mom and pop stores, I gathered the returns, put the new product in the racks, handed them the bill to sign or pay, and left. As simple as that. Trust both ways. Of course, if they weren’t busy, I’d get my history/geography lessons.