Sunday, May 31, 2009

What if...

What if... every child was required to visit a sewage treatment plant, a mine shaft, a landfill, and a slaughterhouse?

Pretty gruesome, yes, but that's the whole point!

Unfortunately I think most Americans are so far removed from the processes that make our lives comfortable that people just take things for granted without thinking of the consequences of their actions.

It's easy to toss a plastic soda bottle in the trash can, rather than recycling it, because it just gets sent off on a garbage truck and you don't have to worry about it anymore. It's just gone, move on to other things in your life, right? But set your eyes, ears, and nose on a 100 acre landfill, and you'll quickly see that everything that gets tossed has to go somewhere, not just magically vanish into thin air.

I certainly can't sit here and say that I'm a perfect saint when it comes to sustainability, but I think by actively taking notice of what I do and how it affects my surroundings puts me way ahead of most people in this country, and perhaps this world. We are all lucky to have what we have and I'm proud of the fact that I live during the most advanced time in history, but at the same time, I realize that there's a long way to go in order for us to live at peace with our world. Hopefully it's not too late, but what if... it is too late???

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Little Things Go a Long Way

Stopped by my local dry cleaners today to pick up clothes that my wife dropped off about a week ago. I'd say I make an appearance at this dry cleaner about once every 2-3 months... in other words pretty infrequently.

It's a family owned business and I've never really chatted with the owners, just drop off, pick up, not much to it.

But today it was a little thing that went a long way. A younger fellow, possibly the owner's son, greeted me with a hello. I returned the greeting and said I'm sorry, but I don't have my receipt slip with me today.

He promptly took out a book that he has people sign when they don't have their slips, presumably to serve as a record for who picked up the clothes and when in case there's any dispute. I've had to do this in the past because I often lose the slip, so I'm used to it by now.

But I noticed that right off the bat, he flipped to the section labeled "S"... as in the first initial of my last name. I was shocked!

He scribbled out some things on the notebook lines, including my last name and the date. He then proceeded to give me the book to sign and then went and flipped the switch for the rotating clothes hanger and took them off without even flinching.

This small little sequence really amazed me! I barely knew this kid, yet without me telling him my name, giving him a credit card or any other type of identifying information, he already knew who I was and didn't hesitate to process the transaction. Unreal!

I must say, that's true one-on-one marketing right there. It was quick and personalized service like you rarely see anymore, and all from a fellow who I've hardly said two words to in the past. But that little moment I'll certainly remember, for the sheer simplicity yet effectiveness of it.