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Best of Steve Goodier: We Are One

August 7, 2016 by admin  
Filed under Best Of Blog, Empowerment

This post first appeared in our blog here.

Have you ever had something like this happen to you?

My son recently told me that his vacuum cleaner broke. We had given it to him when he moved into his first apartment. “No problem,” I said.

We bought it at an electronic discount store and picked up a three-year service contract. “If we can’t fix it,” the salesperson said, “we’ll replace it.”

“We’ll just take it in and let them fix it,” I said.

“They can’t fix it,” he said.

“Why not?”

“You see, it started smoking,” he said, “so I put it outside. I didn’t want the carpet to catch on fire. By the time I went outside again, it had melted.”

I stopped by to fetch him and the melted machine and take them to the store. He was right. The sweeper was a now a shapeless blob of plastic attached to a handle, a motor and four wheels. And it reeked. We loaded the mess into a box and took it to customer service.

I had just come from my home in the mountains. I wore a flannel shirt, old jeans and shoes, and a cap. My son, a nineteen-year-old college student, wore torn jeans and an old tee shirt.

We plopped the box on the counter and said, “The vacuum cleaner burned up.”

“How did that happen?” the young man asked skeptically.

“It started to smoke and my son took it outside to cool off. It must have had an electrical short or something,” I said.

“I can tell it was used inappropriately,” he said. “There are leaves here. It looks like someone used it to vacuum outside.”

I can understand why there may have been leaves there - college-age boys are not always the most immaculate housekeepers. They probably vacuumed once every three months, whether the floor needed it or not.

“I don’t like to vacuum INSIDE,” my son explained. “I’m certainly not going to vacuum the outdoors, too.”

“Well,” I added. “We have a service contract, anyway.”

“But that service contract states that if the appliance is misused, we will not repair it. And I believe that it was misused.”

I thought I could argue that point with him, but I didn’t want to pursue it any further at that time. “Thanks anyway,” I said to the clerk and I took the box back. On the way to the car I said to my son, “I’ll be in town again in a few days. I’ll take care of it then.”

A few days later I attended a wedding. Afterward, I stopped by the store. I approached the service counter carrying my box reeking with what remained of the vacuum cleaner. I wore a dark suit, white shirt and dark tie. My shoes were polished.

“We have a problem,” I said placing the box on the counter.

“Yes, sir,” a young man said, looking inside the box. “I’ve never seen anything like this!”

“This USED to be a vacuum cleaner,” I said, “but something went wrong.” I explained how it was smoking and my son placed it outside while it melted down.

“I’m sorry, sir,” he said. “This never should have happened.”

“No problem,” I responded, laying a piece of paper on the counter. “I have a service contract!”

He looked it over. “Just go to the shelves and pick out any vacuum cleaner you’d like under $300,” he said, “and we’ll take care of it for you.”

I delivered the new machine to my son who looked at it and asked, “How did you get this?”

“It was the suit!” I replied. “Works every time!”

BOTH of the service clerks responded to our outer appearance. One clerk treated us as if we were scamming the store. The other was all too eager to please. What they both missed was that the outside means nothing — essentially we are all the same inside.

We have the same needs, the same fears, the same hopes, the same tears. for underneath, we are all one.

That is the truth that can set us free.

Steve Goodier’s books & newsletter: http://LifeSupportSystem.com.
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