Two Ways…

FUDGE, verb
: to fake, falsify; to dodge; to cheat; to hedge

[Or The Kid’s definition: “I know what fudge means… that’s ‘to make something up as you go along,’ right?”  Right, Kid.]

 

1.

So, there was this package I was expecting last Friday. Expecting, not because I’d particularly arranged for it to be there on Friday, but expecting, because I checked the U.S. Post Office website and the package said, “Out for delivery” on Friday morning. Super luck! I was hoping to have it in my hands before the weekend, and it was on the truck, on its way to me.

The guy who delivers our mail was right on time, 12:30 as usual. He handed me a bunch of mail, but I stood waiting impatiently for the package, and he didn’t hand anything else to me.

“Do you have a package there for me as well?”

I explained that the website said out for delivery, it’s rather important, etc. He shrugged.

Asked again, in case I wasn’t being clear, Could he have left it on the truck? He said, “Nope. Sorry, that’s weird,” and left.

All day, I had a sneaking suspicion he’d be back with a grin and a “Sorry, it was in a dark corner” or some such. He’s pretty new, at least to our area, and he comes around to deliver mail a second time, in just that way, fairly frequently. Plus… now it had gone from I wish I’d have it before the weekend, to the Post Office promised me I’d have it.

Such are the unintended consequences of convenience-features like package tracking.

Well, he never did come back. Instead, I checked the website at 4:30, and it still said “Out for delivery.” Then at 4:40, before shutting my computer down for the afternoon, I hit the refresh button.

Delivered at 12:35pm with Delivery Confirmation.

Whaaaa?

I checked around the door to see if he’d been too embarrassed, maybe, and left it outside, or if he was on his way back into the building now, and perhaps their site was referring to 12:35 in California or something. No package, no returning letter carrier, and I had signed for exactly nothing. What kind of confirmation is that?

I gave it another few minutes, then called the P.O. to report the problem, starting from the beginning. I got the standard, “You must be mistaken,” that they give to all us dummies, their paying customers, so we feel small instead of them, then she checked the tracking number and saw that it said exactly what I claimed it said.

“You’ll have to file a claim.”

“The letter carrier should still be around, it’s still business hours—can’t someone just ask him or something?”

“You’ll hear from us within two business days,” she said, after getting my particulars.

 

Today, the guy who delivers our mail was right on time, 12:30 as usual. Only I was on my way out when he was coming in. “Hi! Remember how I was telling you about that package I was expecting Friday, that it said on the website out for delivery, etc. The weirdest thing happened—later on it said it had been delivered.”

“When?”

“At 12:30. With delivery confirm. And you were here at 12:30 of course, but you didn’t have it.”

“Yeah. I remember. Hey, that’s weird,” he said, as if he’d made quite a discovery.

“Yeah, weird. Maybe you have the package on the truck now?”

“Nope. Just something for the doctor’s office over there.”

“Okay. Thanks anyway,” I said.

I sat in the drive and fiddled with my cell phone for a few minutes to listen to a hard-to-hear message before driving off. Less than two minutes later I popped back in because I’d forgotten to take something I needed.

The package was waiting for me.

 

2.

A friend of mine, has a client at work.

(This is not the news.)

Once, a while back… maybe two years ago now, this client dropped in for a meeting, and brought brownies. Oh, not just any brownies… I may cry as I describe them, because I was lucky enough to pop in just after her client had left, and I got to taste these still-warm morsels of Heaven… the most miraculous dag-nab brownies that have ever been bitten into. (And I have bitten into a lot of brownies, so I feel qualified to say this. No, your own/ your girlfriend’s/ your mom’s are not better. Mine aren’t better, either. *sigh*)

My friend told her she should be doing this for a living. And she was (almost) right, because I kid you not, I wanted to run after her and pay her for more.

The next time that client came, she also brought brownies. My friend gave me one later, and even when the halo of the oven had floated off, they were still the most unbelievable brownies ever. Heavenly + sinful. Mmmmm.

The next time my friend mentioned her name, in passing, I realized that even though I know the names of none of her other clients, that name is burned into my head… and makes me hungry. Oh, dear. I resisted asking how dare she mention the name without a brownie in hand, though.

Several months have passed since then. This morning, I had an urge for a brownie.

Any ol’ brownie, really… I think I’ll get one when I’m done with this work…

And my friend’s client’s name popped into my head.

So a bit later I called my friend and said that she’d trained me like Pavlov’s dog, and that I was pretty embarrassed to have made neural connections in my brain between her client and brownies, but that I guess she could pass the compliment along the next time she sees her.

“I told her, everyone loves them, and she should be doing it for a living,” she said.

I know. You told her that a while back, right?

“Well, I told her again. They’re like nothing I’ve ever tasted. And you know what she said?”

No…

“She said, ‘Everyone who’s ever tasted them has said that to me—but a business is a lot more than a miraculous brownie.’”

 

Moral of the story:

Some people are fudging it, and even though I promised you two ways… some people are not.

A business is a lot more than a product (or a service). Sometimes this means you’ve got to up your game; sometimes, it means you’ve got to know that business is not the game for you. (Both take guts and wisdom.) If you’re going to run a business that grows and succeeds, you don’t get to fudge.

 

Now, has anybody got a brownie?

 

Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson