Monday, March 29, 2010

It is Broken but I will take it!

The other day I was at the grocery checkout patiently waiting for my turn when I overheard the cashier at the next checkout counter pointing out to the customer that one of the 12 eggs that the Customer had picked up and packed was broken. The Customer to my surprise said it did not matter and requested for billing the same. The cashier offered to get one of his colleagues to pack a fresh set of 12 eggs and even called out to his colleague but the customer was adamant and paid for the 12 eggs he had packed with the broken egg. Why would anyone want to carry home a broken egg? Besides being a wasted effort it would also add work in terms of cleaning up the other 11 eggs!

I couldn't get an answer immediately but a few seconds later I realised that I had just witnessed an act of integrity and selflessness. The Customer held himself responsible for the breakage and wanted to pay for the egg. When he packed it, it was good but the heavy potato bag which went over it in the trolley may be the culprit. You might say "well he could have paid for an extra egg and taken the offer of a fresh set. That is where his selflessness came through. He did not want to put additional burden on the staff or fellow shoppers by slowing down the line while they get him a fresh dozen.

Contrary to this the same evening a movie that I was watching showed the heroine drop and break a glass doll accidentally in the supermarket. She looked around, seeing that no one had seen her, picked up the broken pieces, balanced it together and left it on the display counter and walked away!

As I mulled over the two incidents the focus turned to me and the question that got my attention was, "what would I do?”. In the first instance I think I would take the offer of the cashier to have the egg replaced justifying myself that I did not wilfully break the egg. In the second instance, I would bring the broken doll to the attention of the staff and offer to pay for it.

I was not very proud of myself . . . I wished that I could be like the Customer with the broken egg. An egg does not cost much but then integrity is not based on the value involved but rather it is a practice, every day practice that makes it a way of Life! This incident opened my eyes and challenged me to take my integrity quotient to the next level . . . Integrity in all dealings even if the value involved is negligible!

I Salute the customer for his high level of integrity and rejoice that we have people like him a light to others!