Friday, April 29, 2011

“Don’t Be a Sucker” – But at What Price?

One of my biggest pleasures is when my married sons come to spend a shabbas (Sabbath) or holiday with us. However, as their families grow, they have been coming less often. Also it was drawn to my attention that the guest room was not really all that comfortable. One problem was the lack of good ventilation; the other was the bed. So when I cleaned the porch off that room before Passover, I removed a lot of things, providing for the possibility of some breeze in the room. Next I needed to dismantle the old bed and buy a new one.
Dismantling the old one was a bit problematic, as the screws in the bed were irregularly shaped, but eventually I found and bought a screwdriver that could do the job. Then I managed to get “Y” and “D” here one evening to dismantle the bed and haul it downstairs for disposal. By this date, it was two weeks before the Passover holiday. With the old bed having been disposed of, I could finally order a new one. I was sure that it would take only a few days to arrive, as most appliances and furniture do.
Imagine my disappointment when the store owner informed me that while he would TRY to get me the bed before the holiday, he could not promise. Not having time to research other possibilities, and fearful of postponing the order to a later date (by which time delivering in time for holiday guests would be impossible), I reluctantly ordered the bed despite the uncertainty of obtaining delivery in time for Passover.
About a week later my married daughter heard this sad story, and she immediately flew into action. As she grabbed the phone to call the store, she told me “Mom, if you don’t bug them the beds that DO arrive will go to whoever pesters them. Don’t be a sucker!”
Well, she called the store, threatening to cancel the order, and “lo and behold”, the bed arrived the next day. Minus the mattresses. The mattresses were “supposed” to arrive the same day.
Early the next morning, someone from our family called the store, yelling at the secretary, saying that we needed the mattresses for guests arriving that very same day. This was a lie.
I can understand that my daughter pestered the store in order to get the bed delivered. But since when does “not being a sucker” entitle one to lie and not be a “mentsch” (decent person)??????

So I quickly called the store back. I apologized for the fact that the secretary had been yelled at, and explained that we did NOT need the mattresses the same day, only in time for Passover. And did she know WHEN the mattresses would arrive, by any chance?
The lady informed me that the mattresses had already left the factory, and would arrive that day. Which they did.
Yes, you don’t need to be a “sucker”. But you still need to be a decent, considerate person.


belehcar said...

You know you are right. I have never really thought about it that way. It's a problem that living now creates... using any means to get ahead... I've done it before. But, now I won't. I just hadn't thought about it that way. A lie is a lie.

Henya said...

Yes, you are right. But, I see that "American nice" does not always get the goal. We lost a taxi we called to the supermarket on Sunday before Pesach because some one just pushed her way in and sat down in it. Funny, possibly, but I waited an hour for the next one. I wish I could speak some Hebrew and not just stand there and green like an idiot. I would also worry about embarrassing my kids.

Batya said...

There must be an in between way.

rickismom said...

Henya, Being nice (and honest) has nothing to do with standing up for your rights. One could still say nicely, "excuse me, but I ordered this cab, and let the driver know that if you don't get preferance (ie the cab), you will order from another company in the future.

SOMETIMES you can give another person your turn (someone asks if he can go before you at the cashier because he has two items and you have a cartfull), and sometimes you need to stand up for your rights ("I'm sorry, but I have already let two people ahead of me and I DO have to get home....")

Unknown said...

What an excellent illustration of a good point! I hope that with your newly furnished guest room your children will be able to visit more, and thus be able benefit from your good example.