When did the World become a monetized Society? These days, it seems everything is supposed to have a price. I want to issue a challenge to the idea if you have enough money, you can buy whatever you want. Not everything is for sale, and sometimes, the price is not payable with change or a cheque.
I want to take the argument a stage further: in the current money-grabbing climate, it has become fashionable to throw out a sentence (or more rather a phrase – today correct English seems to be linguistically optional) and give absolutely nothing to back up the contention.
My contention was not everything has a price, and for some things, a ‘transaction’ is not payable in monetary terms.
To take an example, not one of my wonderful pets ever asked me for anything. All three loved me unconditionally, every day of their lives with unquestioning devotion. I ‘paid’ by loving them in return. The cost of insuring them, feeding them, keeping them warm – I never counted the price of being a responsible pet owner.
All of it was as normal and natural as treating them properly, with care; grooming them, bathing them after a muddy walk, clearing up after toilet breaks were all part of the ‘deal’ with owning a pet.
I will always consider my pets gave me far more in love, companionship, laughter and precious memories than anything I did or paid for to take care of them during their lifetimes.
My parents brought me up to believe in good manners and civilised behaviour. I hold open doors for those about to enter the place I am about to leave: its ‘good manners’. I don’t ‘expect’ anything for my action, although ‘thank you’ would be nice.
Years ago, I went shopping in my local city. As I walked to the furthest of the shops I wanted to visit, I saw an old man, obviously homeless. He looked chilled to the bone, so I went to a nearby sandwich outlet, the kind with a just a serving hatch, and ordered a hot drink. I can’t remember what it cost. It didn’t matter; I gave the drink to the homeless man and walked on. I don’t want any praise or a medal. It was the humane thing to do in a civilised society.
Today, I was (again) supermarket shopping. I joined a short queue to pay. The customer in front had one item. The customer in front was engrossed on a mobile phone, and did not place one of the ‘dividers’ after the single item, to allow me the opportunity to load my items. The cashier charged the item confirming the price and the customer said nothing. The cashier and asked for payment, still the customer did not speak. The cashier produced a receipt for the single item, without the customer uttering a single word by way of acknowledgement. The cashier remained pleasant throughout the entire transaction.
I use the supermarket in question on a regular basis and know all the assistants well. During Lockdown, when we all had to queue and the clinically vulnerable had to order online to avoid unnecessary contact, this specific supermarket (and staff) was nothing short of amazing. I took the time to write and personally thank them for a service I felt went above and beyond.
The single-purchase customer will probably not remember the visit to our local supermarket, and equally will not consider their behaviour at all amiss. It would have ‘cost’ no more for the single item for the customer to have acknowledged the cashier in some way.
I’m not advocating servility – saying ‘thank you’ or ‘please’ does not demean you. It neither adds nor detracts anything at all from the person, their status or the price they have or will have to pay.
A smile, a pleasantry and a few simple words can make a huge difference to the other person. The other person may be ‘training’ or on ‘probation’ in the job. It could be their first day of working, or the last before they retire. You have no way of knowing (unless you ask).
Try it – you could get a smile back; the ‘transaction’ will likely be more enjoyable and less of a chore and you could very easily ‘make someone else’s day’.
Being pleasant and well-mannered is as easy as checking the road before you cross it. It’s another ‘habit’ you can adopt and you could find you like it!
Now, have I illustrated quite clearly, not everything has a price, and some things are ‘paid for’ other than with money?
Saturday, 8th December 2022