Friday, September 21, 2007


I was pretty proud of Joe today.

On our way down to work Joe was talking about getting the car washed by a disabled guy who likes to make a few extra dollars. I didn't know that Joe had set an appointment to have the car washed, didn't even realize the car needed washing. I'm the kind of guy who is surprised that carpets have to be vacuumed. What does 'dusting' mean? So, anyways I nod and appear interested (the two things you need to learn to do to stay in a successful relationship).

The problem, as Joe explained endlessly, was that the time he booked no longer worked and he needed to change the time. The decision was to find the guy and change the appointment time. Scintillating conversation and problem solving, no? Well, the best laid plans ... the guy wasn't around so Joe left a message for him with the new time.

He did all this with a sense of real urgency.

Well the guy pops into my office to say the new time isn't good for him and rebooked for next week. I called Joe. He was concerned, "That was OK with him?"

"Yeah, it was."

"Good," he said with a voice that told me he was relieved.

"Why is this such a big deal."

"People promise things all the time, then they don't keep them, or don't show up. You know the guys who stand outside the beer store begging for change, everyone says 'I'll give you what change I have on the way out and then they rush away not looking up? Or you know the guys who get their car squeegied and then laugh while driving away? Poor people, diabled people, children, all have people promise them things ... to get them to shut up, or to get out of an uncomfortable situation. You know people do that right?"


"I don't. Because equality is something you do as much as it is something you believe."


I knew that.


Casdok said...

Good on Joe!

Anonymous said...

So, I had an interesting thought after I read this...

I am a haggler. If it's a situation where the price isn't set in stone, or even sometimes if I think it is, I'll make a lower offer and see what happens. So today's hypothetical musing:
IF there was a disabled neighbor kid who had himself a little carwashing business...would I haggle with him just the same as I would a nondisabled kid? Hmmmm. You?

Anonymous said...

How else would this hypothetical emerging entrepreneur learn how things work in the real business world -- or acquire the skill of haggling back -- unless customers haggle with him (or her) in the same way they do with other young, emerging entrepreneurs?

Anonymous said...

Yay for Joe. My mother spent my entire childhood making promises, big and small. My father had to wach us become disappointed again and again. Not entirely her fault, she didn't even know she was doing it, she was not capable of appropriate parenting. When she started doing the same thing to my daughter, I told her she wasn't going to do the same thing to my kid that she did to us. I have ALWAYS been VERY careful of making promises. If I know I cannot keep it, or if there is even a slight chance the promise will not happen, then I don't promise.

Paula said...

What a concept!!!!!I get so frusterated when I see the parents of my kid's friends make promises that they know that they can't keep or make threats to them when the child is out of control which they do not follow through with.
And then wonder why their kids do not know how to behave!!