Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Tolerance: How Freemasonry has Helped Me

I have to relate an incident that happened at work yesterday that put me in a situation that had me have to deal with a weakness of mine. TOLERANCE. Lately I have been having problems verbally controlling myself when confronted with either hypocrisy or ignorance. I own and operate retail food establishments, and being open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, we experience all types of customers. Good, neutral and bad.

As a local business, we put out various coupons for patrons to use. Written on each coupon are the stipulations in which these offers may be used. We always get individuals who want to change the rules of use to meet their individual needs. They always have some story about their personal situation or have some analytical deduced action that can circumvent the stipulations, so instead of having to go through this clever circumvention of the rules, just break the rules for me now and we will be good. Insanity!

Written in bold print on these coupons are the words: “One coupon per person per item per day.” I also accept competitor’s coupons for similar items, and on their coupons it states the same thing. One could say it is pretty straight forward, right?

Yesterday, a woman dressed in a $250.00+ matching sweat suit, with a $400.00+ purse, was giving my manager a hard time about not being able to use three coupons on three items. After many attempts at my manager to explain the policy and our procedures, she demanded to see the owner( ME), well that does not have me in the most pleasant mood having to be called out about something of this nature, but duty called.

This woman, early 40’s or late 30’s, begins to complement me on my employees and how she is from the community and is patronizing me instead of my competitor down the street (a national franchise) and how I could be a big benefactor to help her out with her daughters school birthday party by allowing her to use all of these coupons. She explained how I should want to help out on this special day. I first thanked her for her support and the positive remarks about my employees. I then explained the stores policy which has been in existence for about 30+ years, and I would be more tolerant if the individual questioning the practice could not read the coupon to understand its usage. She exclaimed that she had a Master’s Degree. I replied “ And you are standing here arguing something in print?”

I explained that it was nothing personal, but her event is not special. Every day someone comes in to my establishment with a “story” about some “special” event in which the rules should be bent for them. I also stated that if I bent the rules for her, I would have to do it for it for others and allowing this would practically be giving the product away, and in the end, one could go out of business if they never charged full price for things. I explained there are ways to receive discounts and ways to use coupons, and that we would be happy to accommodate her in the future if she so wishes.

After trying to do more than one end around to get her way, and fully letting me know the error of my ways, I sent her off with this, “Mam, when you leave and go back into the community, make sure you tell everyone that you were treated EQUAL to everyone else.” That she did not get special treatment at the moment she wanted it. I felt good that I did not loose my temper and tell her to “Bug Off”, which in the past I could be pushed to that. I felt proud to be able to control myself and passions within the presence of the public. My food establishment is Kosher, so I had an orthodox Jewish Man comment to me on how I handled that situation. He claimed he probably would have lost it. Not having been exposed to the Masonic teachings and having some of it imprinted onto my core being, I would have handled it a lot different.

I give to charities and food shelters daily. A Prince Hall Brother and his wife come by every Wednesday to pick up product to feed the poor. If someone is destitute or in real need, we take of people and organizations. But an educated well to do suburban house wife trying to con me into “giving” her product for free virtually is enough to incite me. The young Orthodox Jewish man said he was embarrassed for her! He and I then had a discussion on the Torah, God, Christianity, Astrology and History. I have ex convict employees, illiterate employees, black, white, young and old working for me. I do not discriminate and allow peoples pasts to remain in the past and give second and third chances to individuals. That is why I had to laugh when Manny Blanco called me an Anti-Semite for referencing Mainstream Masonry and Pork Dinners in the same sentence with a derogatory undertone. I deal with Rabbi’s on a daily basis. I donate and get involved with private Jewish Academies within Cleveland. Cleveland has one of the biggest Jewish populations in America for being a smaller big city. Orthodox men call me brother, and some guy in California, Manny Blanco, is going to call me an Anti-Semite! In do not know what ritual they use in California, but I do not know where in the three degree lessons it is allowable to call one that? I am glad I am not a California mason if that is acceptable……………….

I had to pass on this story about what test’s get thrown at us. The Cosmos knows what ones weakness’s are and continually tests you to see if you have learned and evolved up the staircase or down it…. Which way are you evolving?

1 comment:

Masonic Traveler said...

Well met brother. Sometimes these tests come pout of no where.