Two Sides to Every Story

One of the biggest challenges we face in life is interacting with other people. Sometimes our simplest words or gestures are interpreted in a whole different way than we intended.

I had an experience last week that reminded me all over again of how differently people are wired and that there are always two sides to every story.

I was having lunch with a friend who told me about a co-worker that had come back from running errands, all in a huff. The co-worker went on and on throughout the afternoon grousing about how a woman had been in line behind her at the eyeglass store and while she was having her glasses lightened, she turned to apologize to the woman who just gave her a smirky dirty look – how rude!

My friend said:

“It just amazes me how some people let one jerk ruin their whole day.”

Now, here is where the story gets REALLY interesting.

I am the jerk.

Yep – me.

And, I had not given the incident a second thought.

I won’t bore you with all the details, but basically I was in line behind her for a LONG time and when the store owner asked her to try her glasses outside so he could see how he could help me, she declined and brought up a second issue with another pair of glasses. As he continued to help her, she turned toward me, shrugged and said “sorry.”

I did not acknowledge her apology with any words. Just a half-smile.

Based on the three-second interaction, she decided I was rude.

I WAS irritated that rather than letting him help me, she decided to bring up another issue.

I was also wearing sunglasses so all she could see were big black glasses and a lopsided smile/smirk.

When I heard about her reaction to our interaction, I didn’t know whether to be irritated she thought I was rude, or proud that my “smirk” was that snarky.

My friend and I then had a GREAT discussion about how our actions, or non-actions can often be misinterpreted. My reality of that encounter was totally different from her co-workers, even though it involved the same 15 minutes of time, in the same place.

Two sides – same coin.

Just a good reminder that interacting with people is not always as simple as it seems.

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Shopping Local: Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday was launched several years ago to encourage people to spend money in their local businesses during the busiest shopping retail shopping weekend of the year. While traveling between several specialized local shops is not always as convenient as one-stop shopping, think about how shopping at local businesses can impact the local economy.

According to Shop Small statistics, 89% of people believe that small business contribute positively to their community. They do this through sponsoring local events, supporting student activities, and paying taxes that improve infrastructure, and pay the salaries of police, fire and medical personnel.

In addition, small businesses are the backbone of our economy when things fluctuate. The Small Business Association states that American small businesses provide 55% of all US jobs and over the past 24 years they have added mobs when big businesses have eliminated them.

 

Think about it like this:

A cycling enthusiast decides to open a bike shop in your downtown. He hires a local student to help run the shop. The business grows and he hires two more locals. With the extra help, the business begins to take off, expanding into repairs and guided bike tours.

 More sales could mean more local taxes, which would fund things like roads, parks and bike trails, creating an environment that is more bike-friendly and results in more business for the local bike shop. (Shop Small 2012)

 

The reality is that it probably isn’t possible to do all our shopping in historic commercial districts. But we can take a shot at looking there first, or making specific purchases in the shops that are in our districts and not just on Small Business Saturday, but throughout the entire year.

As a passionate supporter of home-grown businesses, I encourage you to check out your historic commercial district, MainStreet or Arts and Cultural District and share a little love this year!

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