A Tale of Two Soccer Moms …

A lower level manager at the local branch of a national retail chain specializing in information and information-related products was called to the front of the store by another employee. When other managers of this establishment are called to the front of the store it is generally to provide an access code or to answer a basic question. When this particular lower level manager is called to the front it is usually to find something that has been lost or, in this case, to take the verbal blows of an angry customer. Because of this he will, when called, try to take a deep breath and tell himself that Jesus loves the person he is about to see, so he should try to as well. (And also that violence is never an appropriate response to an upset customer.)

"I just want to tell you how extremely upset I am that you have that behind the cashier for me and my children to see!" she said with ire in her voice and a fire in her eye as she pointed to the adult-oriented product. The pointed action was performed with a velocity that caused the cross hanging from her neck, which could be assumed as an identification of the subject of her allegiance, to sway ever so slightly.

"Thank you for sharing that ma’am. We actually keep those products behind the cashier because we want to be sensitive to the desires of our customers," said lower level manager. "We used to display them on the sales floor like our company wants, but we had enough complaints that we decided to move them to a more obscure location."

"But it’s right there, we have to read it!"

(Do not be fooled by the writer’s propensity for bravado. The lady literally said "We have to read it!")

"Thank you for sharing that. I will pass your concerns on for you," said lower level manager, reminding himself about Jesus loving her and violence not being the appropriate response.

So the lower level manager resumed his lower level management duties when he ran into another lady with children in the section marketing information related products to teenagers. Before the previous incident he had overheard a conversation between this family. The young teenage daughter was perusing the products. She saw something she wanted and presented it to her mom for purchase. Her mom told her "OK," but also said the product was of the “fantasy” variety.

"You know, sometimes those can have things in those that aren’t appropriate. I’ll want to look through it first," said the mother kindly.

"Sure, no problem," said the young teenage girl.

When the lower level manager happened upon this family he inquired as to how he could be of service to them. They had a couple of products on a list they were unable to find. He assisted them in locating them, thanked the family and then left them alone to continue their leisurely browsing.

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A few minutes later the lower level manager rounded a corner and ran into the mom who stopped him to look in his eyes and tell him, with gentle sincerity, "Thank you so much for helping us out," the cross around her neck hanging in peaceful assurance of its place.

One mom taught her children that there are bad things in this world and that when corporations peddle evil they should be dealt with forcefully. We are at war and we will not stand by and let the enemy win. Lower level retail manager is a soldier in the army of the enemy and needs to be dealt with. Anger is the appropriate weapon. Make sure they get the point.

Another mom taught her children that there are things in this world that we should be careful of, so lets see life as an exploration we do together to find out what those things are and sort them out from the things we want to be identified with. We might find some scary things, but we can handle it … we have each other. In the meantime, let’s treat everyone with dignity and kindness.

The crosses were identical, but lower level retail manager knew which one contained value and which was just fool’s gold.

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