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When I Learn How to Fly You’ll Be the First to Know.

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*Disclaimer* No innocent customer service employees were harmed in the production of this blog.  Only the lazy ones, no just kidding.  I have had a few retail and customer service jobs, so am well aware of how crummy they are treated at times.  I try really hard to be patient and kind with the front line staff.  They often take the brunt of customer complaints and general lack of patience.  Often, when mistakes are made by co-workers, it effects everyone on the team/department.  This retail experience was one of those examples…

I have been on a search for new furniture, specifically a dining room table.  This search has dragged over years, mostly because of a tight budget and the fact that most of our funds are now drained by the need for various baby gear.  I am even willing to get second hand furniture, but it has to fit in our tiny space and be in better condition than what we have.  I had my eye on a new 5 piece table set in my local department store.  Recently the price dropped for a two day sale, from $399.99 to $199.99!  Oh I wanted that table! 

 On sale day I walked over to the store and found that they still had one left, but the box was perched on a tall shelf.  At least 7 feet high.  That was a strange place to put a box that, according to details printed on the side, weighed 50 KG .  I had two issues; I needed to measure the box to see if it would fit in my hubby’s car.  Second problem; there was a man already standing under the shelf, staring up at the same box I was eyeing.  I didn’t know how long this man had been waiting.  I knew better than to try and look for an employee to help me with measuring.  I had worked in this store and knew that they were under-staffed in early morning hours.  I marched off to the hardware section to find a measuring tape to borrow, then grabbed a ladder to help with the reach.  Once again I thought; ‘Why would they put this box up here?  Anything over 70 lbs is supposed to be on floor level’.  I set myself up in front of the shelf, climbed up, and measured as best as I could as it was still out of reach. 

The Waiting Man was now sitting on a stool and reading a paper, looking out the corner of his eye once in a while.  Just as I was finishing my calculations, a store employee, I’ll call Joe came down the aisle.  Joe didn’t seem bothered at all by my borrowed items from the hardware department.  I guess he is used to customers taking things into their own hands.  I heard him tell the Waiting Man that he was unable to find the lift that would get the box down from the shelf.  The Waiting Man asked if he could buy the table set and come back when it could be rescued from its perch.  Joe said he was sorry but they couldn’t hold Door Crasher items.  Waiting Man was done being patient; “When I learn how to fly you’ll be the first to know, but I have been waiting here since the store opened an hour ago for you to get this box down!”  Joe apologized and wondered out-loud if a fellow employee was pulling a April Fool’s prank, by putting the box up that high in the first place.  The humor was lost on Waiting Man

I couldn’t stick around to see the resolution for this sit-com.  I had to start work soon, and I had recieved a text from my hubby.  It wasn’t the news I was hoping for…the box wouldn’t fit in our trunk.  As I was unpacking boxes at the home decor store I work at, I had a light bulb moment.  When break time came, I went back to the Department Store.  The ladder was still there, no surprise to me.  I found something to poke the box and climbed up.  *POKE POKE* Haha, the box moved.  It was EMPTY!  Which means it was the DEMO box.  The poor schmo that had been stuck putting that DEMO together, couldn’t be bothered to mark DEMO on the box before putting it out of reach.  April Fool’s indeed.  I wondered what the Waiting Man would have to say about that bit of news.

Give and Take?

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*Update after post*  This was part of my personal philosophy on volunteerism as it relates to philanthropy.  I have blurred the lines between the true definitions of donating, volunteering, and fundraising simply because I have a hard time separating these concepts in my own head.  My main goal was to share how important it is for ME to give back to my community.  And how I strive to remain connected and aware of what is happening in my country and the world at large.  This was not meant in any way to be a judgement on those that may not hold philantropy in the same light.

 

National Volunteer Week is approaching.  When someone mentions volunteerism, do you shudder and think, “Ok, what are they going to ask me to do now?”  Or do you think, “Wow, that’s a great idea, how can I help?”  Lets face it, we are all busy.  You might think that your kind of busy is more important than mine, but thats a different topic for another day.

I have been volunteering since the age of 13, at least that’s as far back as I remember.  My first gig was as a volunteer leader for The B&G Club, which was my Church’s co-ed version of  Boy Scouts or Girl Guides.  I had graduated from the program, so was invited to continue on as mentor.  Naturally, being very shy, it was a real challenge for me to try and talk to people.  Having gone through the program myself, it was easy to use my own feelings and experiences as a way to encourage my younger friends.  Volunteerism has become a natural concept to me and continues to be a big part of my life.

There are groups that make constant pleas for donations and volunteers and this can seem like a pain in the rump.  And yes, some organizations do go overboard, trying to evoke guilt to motivate people to give money.  Those that don’t have money to give, tune out, saying “I can’t help.”  I am in this category at times, I won’t deny it.  I like to encourage people by reminding them that giving isn’t exclusive to monetary donations.  You don’t have to make lengthy commitments or join a club either.  Find an issue you are passionate about and determine a way to offer sincere aide.  GIVE: TIME, TALENT, or TREASURE.  It could be as simple as shoveling the driveway of a senior in your neighbourhood, or cleaning out your closet and giving gently used items to a women’s shelter.

I’m going to get nerdy and throw a few stats at you *snort, snort*.

Who do organizations serve?
Seventy-three percent of nonprofit and voluntary organizations provide services or products directly to people (as opposed
to other organizations). These organizations most frequently report serving the general public (46%)(Table 1.3). However,
they also provide services to specific segments of the population. Children and youth are served by 23% of organizations,
the elderly by 11% and persons with disabilities by 8%. Other specific populations served include Aboriginal peoples,
immigrant populations and religious communities.

Cornerstones of Community, Stats Canada Catalogue, 2003

There are many needs in every community that are met by the caring hands of volunteers.  They don’t often get a lot of praise for what they do, but that isn’t what motivates us anyway.  I have benefited from the nurture and guidance given to me by volunteer run programs, as a child, a college student, and now as an adult.  I choose to give because I want to have a positive influence on the issues affecting neighbours in my neck of the woods.  National Volunteer Week is coming soon, thank a Volunteer .

National Volunteer Week is April 10-16, 2011

**photo is from Volunteer Canada site