Every day, I encounter a new challenge to the idea that things can and should be open and real.

Be it social, political, or personal, serious or trivial -- every time, I ponder the implications.

I hope you'll join me in the conversation!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wonderful to Look At, Delightful to Hold

But if you break it, we mark it sold. Yes, today was the first time my child broke something in a store. Against my better judgment I let her play with a bottle of nail polish in the shopping cart. I’ve learned that as a parent you take calculated risks all the time simply in order to get through the day.

I have to hand it to her, she made a pretty grand mess from a simple drop. The color was “Pat on the Black,” and the square glass bottle never even bounced. There was an enormous crack, and then the white tile floor looked like the world’s biggest beetle had been crushed under foot, oozing thick midnight blood in coagulating puddles.

I went back down the aisle and got a new bottle. At the checkout counter I mentioned to the young man that he should ring me up for two of that item, due to the debacle in aisle five. He stared at me. “What do you mean?” I explained again that my child had broken what I originally intended to buy, and therefore I would be paying for both the broken item and the one I was taking with me.

After processing my apparently bizarre behavior, he thanked me over and over again for “being so honest.” I said you’re welcome, but the mess is right there, I think you know what happened. “Yes, but we don’t fingerprint. You didn’t have to admit it.”

I do understand what he was saying. When it happened, it even ran through my head to not even acknowledge it. The item was overpriced to begin with, and it’s easy to feel like the world owes you a “gimme” when you are trying to function with a toddler in tow.

But I don’t want a gimme. I want people to admit it when they cause damage, and I want them to make it right as best they can. It has to start with the little things.


KathArine said...

And every time we do the right thing in front of our kids, we make the future a little more right, too. I can give specific examples of times I've gone back when I was undercharged for something because I have a scene in my head of my dad doing that. I'm sure he didn't think I'd carry that scene around in my head for the rest of my life. You never know what's going to stick.

Rob said...

Owning up to the damage I caused was how I was raised too. However, in some relationships (recently) I find it difficult to own up to my (small :) transgressions when the other party is throwing damage everywhere and owning none of it. It creates quite a spiral of negative energy. Your post reminds me that integrity should never take a holiday, whether it's nail polish or an ill-chosen word.

BTW, I've read everything now and think you deserve more awards. Great job E!

connie said...

Good for you. I'm brutally honest that way too. The looks I get from merchants are unbelievable. Is the world so jaded, that honest behavior is not the norm. Say it ain't so.