Monday, November 28, 2011

I just finished eating what will officially be my FINAL meal of Thanksgiving leftovers. It’s been a steady stream of turkey, stuffing, corn casserole and sweet potatoes – in varying amounts/combinations – since last Thursday. We did break for pizza last night, but that was out of sheer desperation. (Long story.) I’ve eaten enough of said Thanksgiving foods that I am teetering on the verge of being disgusted by them. I’ll only need a short break, then I’ll be able to resume enjoying those sweet and savory dishes just in time for Christmas dinner… when the turkey will likely be replaced by ham, but the sides will be pretty much the same.

That said, I have officially switched gears and have my sights set on Christmas. Every year, I hope beyond hope that we will somehow manage to give our family a nice Christmas, while weaving in a meaningful thread of charity/humility/spirituality. (Take your pick.) There has been such buzz lately about “going local” that, once I really thought about it, it made complete and total sense to me. If I was a small business owner, I would be doing everything I could to compete with everyone likes to call, “big box stores.” I get it. They have Corporate America on their sides; and who does the little guy have on his side? Exactly. So, I kind of had it in my mind to start thinking of ways to support local businesses and integrate those items into my gift list.

Then, this past weekend, a very well-known “big box store” royally screwed us over. Let’s just call the store, “Greatest Purchase.” (I know you’ll get it if you think about it for a minute.) Anyway, Greatest Purchase, offered a Black Friday online deal for a video game system that Jeff wanted to buy for our family. Anyone who knows Jeff can attest that he will research a purchase thoroughly before making a move. (If “research thoroughly” means having no less than seven different browsing windows open on one computer at a time, each one with a different review of the same product.) So, once he found the deal he wanted, he purchased this video game system from Greatest Purchase, and opted to pick up the system in person at Greatest Purchase’s store in Muncie, IN. (The Fort Wayne stores were sold out already.) Yesterday, on the way home from Indianapolis, Jeff stopped at the Muncie location, presented his receipt and paperwork, which clearly stated that the item WILL BE HELD well past the November 27 pick-up date, only to find that there was nothing for him to pick up. The store sold out of the game system before someone bothered to pick the item for online orders. Again, anyone who knows Jeff can attest to the fact that he not only took issue with the sales clerk, but the store manager as well. In the end, it was all for naught. They were happy to offer a different game system as a replacement, but would not offer the Black Friday price. Ugh. Corporate America strikes again.

Last night, as Jeff detailed the situation at Greatest Purchase for me, including the conversation with the store manager who repeatedly claimed “there’s nothing I can do,” Jeff posed the question, “Where has the concept of taking responsibility for actions gone?” He’s right. I’ve felt this way for a long time. I have seen more than my fair share of people who – for whatever reason – firmly believe they have no responsibility for their own actions, and repeatedly blame other people, their cars, the weather, cats, dogs, shrubbery, etc. You name it, and it’s the root of all the problems for these people. Personally, I cannot stand that character trait… or, I should say, character flaw. There have been a few times when one of the kids will start in with the whole “it isn’t my fault” argument, and I immediately nip *that* in the bud. There will be no throwing of anyone or anything under the proverbial bus, in order to escape taking responsibility for something. “Have character,” I tell them. “Take responsibility for yourself and your actions. Period.”

So, to recap… Buy local. Take responsibility.

Not quite the warm and fuzzy holiday message, but it’s a start.

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