The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It


 A young man had just joined the staff of a local supermarket and had been assigned to stock the fruits and vegetables in the produce section. As it was only his third day on the job he was adhering rigorously to the instructions he had received on how the mart did business and how he was to conduct himself in his duties.

An older man walked over to him holding a head of lettuce. The man said, “Excuse me, sir. I am a single person and I find that if I buy a whole head of lettuce, half of it spoils before I can finish it. Would it be possible to buy just a half head of lettuce?”

The young produce clerk said, “I’m sorry sir, but you have to buy the whole head of lettuce. That’s the way we sell it.”

The older gentlemen asked, “Would you mind speaking with your supervisor to see if you couldn’t make an exception?” Because the young man knew that it was always right to try to accommodate the customer, he took the head of lettuce from the man’s hand and went in the back of the store to speak with his boss.

When he saw the produce manager he said, “Listen, Mr. Thomas – there’s a ‘jerk’ outside who wants to buy a half head of lettuce.” But as quickly as he made the statement he realized that the customer who had made the request was standing behind him. So he quickly added, “And this gentleman would like to buy the other half. Is that okay?”

His boss looked at him and said, “Sure. You know our motto – we aim to please.” So the young produce clerk cut the head of lettuce in half and wrapped one piece for the older gentleman who left with a very satisfied look on his face.

The manager realized what had happened and said to his new employee, “That was really quick thinking on your part and very diplomatic I might add. I have to say, I’m pretty impressed with you. But I don’t know much about you. Where are you from?”

The young man said that he was from Canada.

The manager asked him why he left, to which the young man responded, “There’s nothing in Canada but hockey players and whores.”

Looking a little put out, the manager said, “Is that so? My wife’s from Canada.”

To which the young man responded, “Oh, really – what team does she play for?”

There’s really no great point to this post – other than to share an amusing story with you. Every so often the effluvium in my head runs dry – and today was not only a Monday but it rained here– and remembering Karen Carpenter – that will “sometimes get me down.”

Although Gracie and I went to the dog park three times today, we never encountered more than two other dogs on any trip. (In Las Vegas people treat rain as though they were the Wicked Witch of the West and avoid it at all costs).

She has been fed and is content – though she senses some disquietude on my part. So after I have a light supper, I’ll settle down to do some reading … and she’ll settle in with her head in my lap.

If the diplomats of the world had her simple and gentle view of life, it would be a better world for all of us.




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