The Economy…It Sucks!
Being a business owner during these current days of economic strife has really been an eye-opening experience for many of us in the business world. As I think about the way we bill work in my company, and then have to almost beg to collect the money sometimes, well, one just has to smile at it all. (By smile, I of course mean grimace, a tightly drawn false smile located under the deer-in-the-headlight looking eyes on a business owner's face).
This was heavily on my mind when the following story crossed my screen the other day, and the more times I read it, the more I saw it for what it was...actual fact.
Did I then in turn create a lesson on the human experience, using the story to show how to put the economic situation into a better light and make it a true learning experience for the masses?
But it is a lesson for us all in the absurdity of doing business in our present economy.
You see, the story starts with a visitor, a tourist really, visiting the area and stopping at the local motel. Laying a $100 bill on the front counter, he stated that he wanted to inspect the motel's rooms before he decided whether to stay there that evening.
As soon as he left the lobby, the motel owner grabbed the $100 bill and ran next door with those deer eyes we were talking of earlier. His next door neighbor was a butcher, and the motel owner slapped that $100 bill on his counter, saying "put it on my account," doing so with much false bravado and a satisfied look on his face. (You see, the butcher had that very morning threatened to cut off the motel owner if he did not come up with some money today to pay down his account.)
The butcher nodded with satisfaction, having put his foot down and getting results as planned. However…as soon as the motel owner left…he took the $100 and ran down the street as quick as his heavy body would allow…to retire his debt with the pig farmer.
You see, Mr. Green, the farmer, had also put his foot down that morning, telling the butcher to pay up or find another source of meat for his shop. (Of course, the pig farmer was in his pen at the time, so the process of putting his foot down made a big splash…literally!)
Now farmer Green is a quiet fellow, and he stood by patiently as the butcher laid the money on his table and quietly left the farmer’s house. Walking to the window, he watched the butcher walk back down the street and round the corner in the road before he quickly slipped into his coat and headed out the door. Walking up the street to the Co-op, the farmer took the $100 to the accounts manager in his office, a nasty little man with beady eyes.
The dilemma Mr. Green was facing you see, was that not only had the Co-op been ready to cut off the feed for his pigs, they also were going to cancel the oil delivery for his furnace.
The beady eyed guy set down his finely sharpened pencil and proceeded to lecture Mr. Green on the moral and financial ineptitude of not paying ones bill on time. With slumped shoulders, Mr. Green then left the office with a heavy heart.
As the farmer was leaving by the front door, Mr. Beady Eyes was sneaking out the back, taking the $100 bill through the alley to Sarah Jane…the local prostitute. You see, she was at the point of cutting off the accounts manager too…a situation that had left the accountant scrambling for money.
“She had obligations too,” she had said, and “maybe your wife would be willing to lend a hand.”
Well, you can imagine the situation that that would have put Mr. Bug Eyes in…it was not pretty. So he had gotten to work this very morning, squeezing Mr. Green for cash, which ultimately started the ball rolling on the whole town.
Now everything was right with the world…or was it?
You see, that not the end.
Sarah Jane then walked across the street to the motel, leaving the $100 with the motel manager to settle her account…at the business rate, of course.
The motel owner, having been nervously pacing in front of the counter when she had arrived, was now happily engaging in small talk with the girl (are you busy on Thursday afternoon…about 4:00?) as he calmly laid the $100 bill onto the counter.
At that very moment, the traveler came back down the stairs, stating pompously for all to hear that the rooms were not to his liking, and that he would just be moving on that night. Picking up the $100 bill off the counter, he pocketed the money and walked calmly out to his car.
So, I know there is a moral to this story…I can feel it! But I will get to that in a moment.
I had put together a few observations to share with you after reading this, and although they may have seemed well thought out and even enlightened, they were really just so much bunkum.
For you see, I was one of the people in this story. Although I would not dare to name my character for the whole world to make fun of, I would suggest that maybe we have all fell into the role of one of the town’s folk of the story from time to time.
So I would finish this story with the wisdom I have gleaned from the situation. Grasp it firmly and reflect on it, or delete it from your screen, for morals to stories are always there whether we accept them as true or not.
In the end, the true moral to this story is:
Everybody feels just a little better if they can pass the buck, and nothing ever happens until the girl threatens to cut someone off.
Copyright by JT Lewis 2011