Life’s Lessons

Life is full of lessons, and I learned many from the two wise and caring people to whom I was born. Some were easy, and some were hard — but the hard ones were usually those I learned on my own.

My father taught me that pouring kerosene in a yellowjacket nest after dark will kill the hive by morning. However, I extrapolated from this (being expected to mow the lawn before nightfall) that pouring gasoline down that hole on a hot summer day, then tossing a match into it, would work just as well.

Explaining the burned grass and the enlarged hole in the ground was not one of my more pleasant learning experiences. However, I still maintain that it wasn’t as bad as hitting a yellowjacket nest with the lawnmower.

* * *

My dad taught me from the time I was very young that we have power as consumers, and we should exercise that power judiciously. That includes the right to support with my dollars the people whom I believe to be assets to the community, and the right to deny my dollars to those who detract from the same. Similarly, we have the opportunity to share our experiences with others – I’ve referred many people to local businesses whose owners are good stewards of responsibility, and have shared my refusal to do business with a few as well.

Since Dad worked for Union Carbide, we never bought any batteries except those made by Union Carbide. It mattered not that K-25 didn’t make batteries — it was company loyalty, pure and simple. It didn’t matter if it was Christmas night and the company store was closed; we simply didn’t buy batteries until they could be purchased from the right company.

On an individual level, it’s a very small impact, but small impacts add up over time. I’ll never hesitate to recommend my favorite hardware store, not only for the superb customer service, but also because the proprietor of that business is well known for giving back to the community. I’ve often recommended my favorite car dealer for his honesty and integrity, but also because he’s the partner in education for the elementary school that my children attended.

And though it happens much less often, there are a very few folks with whom I just won’t do business, or recommend such.

That is my right, and yours as well.

4 Responses to “Life’s Lessons”

  1. on 31 Jan 2007 at 3:42 pm daco

    I completely agree with you Netmom. I am usually pretty vocal about those businesses that I have had bad experiences with. Fact is, some businesses are owned and operated by people that, for one reason or another, I would cross the street to avoid. Those folks will never get my business and if asked I would give my honest opinion about them to others.

    And then there are some people in business that should stay the hell out of local politics. It does have an affect on the bottom line.

  2. on 31 Jan 2007 at 4:23 pm Jacket

    Business owners can make or break a city just as much as the city leaders. Businesses can actually stifle growth within an area for their own selfish purposes. When a local business owner gets involved in the local politics it certainly can be detrimental to the well being of their business. In politics you tend to make half the people happy and half mad. If I were a business owner I would not want anybody mad at me, but when you take a stance, you take that chance. Is it worth the impact on your pocketbook?

    Business owners instead should do what they can to foster harmony within the community, it is better for their bottom line, the community benefits, and growth can occur for both.

    I would recommend a business, like you say NM, based on how that owner treated me in that business or in public. A nasty disposition in public usually indicates a nasty disposition in business.

  3. on 31 Jan 2007 at 8:12 pm Regular Guy

    I really hadn’t considered this dichotomy before; however, after reading Daco’s and Jacket’s comments I will tread lightly if I’m ever tempted to mix the two.

    Thanks for the advice guys!

  4. on 31 Jan 2007 at 8:46 pm Jacket

    They can be mixed RG, it should just be on the q-t.

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