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  • Life Is Not Always So Simple
    Copyright 2003, Bill Platt

    Perfection eludes each of us. I know. I deal with the challenge 
    to live a perfect life on a daily basis. 
    In all that I do, I try my very best to perform with honesty 
    and integrity. 
    Even in my day job, I work hard to perform above reproach. As a 
    commissioned salesman in a small retail establishment, the fear 
    of cutthroat sales people is always in the air, especially in 
    this the slowest season of the year. It is not as bad in my job 
    as one might expect since there are only four of us to run the 
    store year around. 
    All of us have made a commitment to one another to always play 
    above board, and to give credit where credit is due. If a 
    customer is working with one sales person and the customer 
    returns when the sales person is absent, credit for the sale 
    will go to the sales person who had been working with the 
    customer from day one.
    We have all agreed that this is the only fair way to work the 
    business. For more than four months, this system has worked 
    If a customer comes in and asks for someone who is not present, 
    and the customer knows what he or she wants, then the full deal 
    goes to the original sales person. If the customer has not made 
    their mind up as to what they wanted before coming into the 
    store, then we are free to split the deal between the two of 
    The only time we experience problems is when a customer comes 
    in that one of us does not recognize. To combat this problem, 
    we take the time to remind the customer to ask for us when 
    they return to the store. We also make an effort to query the 
    customer to learn whether they had talked to another sales 
    person on a previous visit. 
    Let me tell you one thing that I have learned in this job. 
    It is not enough to try to do everything right. Sometimes, 
    a situation may arise that prevents the execution of a perfect 
    I now stand accused of breaking the trust we have spent four 
    months building among the crew. 
    On a busy Sunday afternoon, only two of us were working so that 
    the other two could attend special functions. 
    Upon completing one transaction, I rushed to the next customer. 
    The customer asked immediately if I could help direct him to a 
    television that would fit into a specific space. I pointed to 
    three televisions that would meet his needs. We were able to 
    work together to narrow the customers interest to one specific 
    television and we closed the deal. 
    While I was getting a serial number for the set, the customer 
    told the manager on duty that he needed to run to his office 
    and would return shortly. I returned with a serial number and 
    noticed the customer leaving. I asked him if he had changed 
    his mind. He told me that he would return shortly and that I 
    "will still get the sale."
    Upon the customer's return to the store, I was helping another 
    customer with his purchase. So, the store manager assisted the 
    customer in doing the paperwork and loading his purchase into 
    his vehicle. 
    All was well until two days later. Upon returning from my own 
    day off, I was confronted by one of the other sales people. 
    He told me that HIS customer had stopped by the store on my 
    day off and told him that he --- the customer --- had asked 
    about the missing sales person while he was in the store on 
    I stood firm in my assertion that the sales persons name had 
    never come up. I still stand firm in that assertion. I made 
    a point to remind my co-worker that I have gone out of my way 
    in times past to assure that he had gotten credit for his work.   
    Yet my co-worker wanted and still wants to believe I screwed 
    him on the deal. Yes, the deal was made only under my number 
    --- it was not split with anyone. 
    I have reached the conclusion that I will not fret this 
    situation. My co-worker has decided that he wants to believe 
    the worst about me on that day. 
    Yet, in my heart, I know that I did no one wrong. As such, I 
    refuse to feel guilt for this unfortunate situation. I stand 
    firm in my belief that I have done absolutely nothing wrong, 
    My point in this article is? I don't know. I just needed to 
    get it off of my chest. One would think that my record of 
    honesty and integrity should override any misgivings another 
    might have. Unfortunately, in the real world, it is not 
    always so simple.

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    This article was originally written: February, 2003

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