Sometimes I wonder if she gets annoyed with my lack of initiative. No, let me rephrase that. It’s not that I lack initiative. I dive right into the things in which I am interested. New guitar to unwrap and tune? Let me at it! Vintage instrument to get ready to display? I’m on that like a kid on a Jungle Gym. The problem (and she knows it) is disinterest. Packing and shipping back orders? I’ve been there and done that, and I have no interest in doing it again. It wasn’t all that much fun the first time! Cutting a guitar part out of bone? The stench is just like a dentist’s drill penetrating a tooth in your mouth! I can do without it!
The Lovely Lady handed me one on a platter today. She lobbed a softball in my direction, ready for me to hit it out of the park. I didn’t even take a swing at it. The woman on the other end of the phone had asked for a device to remove vocals from a recording. A couple of years ago, I had ordered in such a device, but have not yet sold it. The Lovely Lady was aware of that and had the piece of hardware sold even before handing me the phone to answer a couple of questions. Then, the customer’s credit card would be charged and that baby was out of our inventory! All she needed for me to say was that the device would work with her sound system and the sale was made.
I couldn’t do it. There are two reasons we still have the “Vocal Zapper” on our shelf. The first one is that the purpose most folks intend to use it for is illegal. Yep. Illegal. Copyright laws protect most recordings on the average person’s shelf, but they aren’t really aware of it. When you buy a CD, you buy the right to listen to it and almost nothing else. The vocal zapping gizmo purports to remove the vocals so that any CD can become a karaoke-style recording. This means that without the pre-recorded vocals, the owner of the CD can provide his/her own vocals and sound like a pro singing to the star’s instrumental accompaniment. If all you wanted to do was sing at home, dancing around your living room and playing air guitar for your own amusement, it would be perfectly legal. But no one I’ve talked to about this thing wants to use it at home. They want to perform in front of an audience, using a CD they paid only for the right to listen to. Yep, I’ll say it again. Illegal. I’m not a fan.
The second reason for my indifference to selling this gadget is this: It doesn’t work. Okay, it works, kind of. If you don’t care that half of the instrumentals disappear with the vocals, you might be able to tolerate it. Oh, would you mind that it doesn’t really do that good of a job at removing the vocals either? They’ll almost certainly still be there, much softer now, but still audible…annoyingly so. I don’t fancy selling products which don’t function well.
So, my words to the lady were “illegal” and “limited function”. She didn’t complete the purchase. I’m not disappointed. I have told you before that I find it difficult to pass off merchandise which I am not proud of. My theory is that life is too short to sell junk you’ll regret later on. “Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.” (Do I hear Bogey in here?) Okay, that might be a little melodramatic, but the principle is important in every aspect of life. You do what’s right, simply because it’s right. Not because you can profit from it, not because it’s a springboard to bigger and better things. Simply because it’s right. The payoff is infinitely better than the dirty, germ-ridden greenbacks that come and go in our pockets like water through a sieve. You get to sleep at night, without guilt, without regrets. Well, if you’re like me, you get to sleep whenever it is you sleep. Regardless, a clear conscience is more valuable than a huge nest-egg in the bank any day.
I’m pretty sure that there was a sideways glance or two from the Lovely Lady as I hung the phone up. She wants that expensive little piece of equipment out of here. That said, she’s in perfect agreement with me about the integrity with which we want to live our lives. This includes how we conduct business, as well as how we treat our neighbors or deal with the tax collector.
So, no regrets. Well, I do regret ordering that zapper thingy. And, if you know someone who wants to dance around their living room while singing, or maybe even belt it out for their own amazement in the shower, let me know, will you?
“Do the right thing. It will gratify some people, and astonish the rest.”
(Mark Twain~American author and humorist~1835-1910)
“Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.”
(George Washington~First American President~1732-1799)