The email arrived late one night. “I only wanted one,” was the terse statement. The missive was in reply to a question I had asked earlier in the day of the customer. Her order had arrived in my in-box and I had promptly pulled the merchandise and prepared it for the shipping room. Coming back to my monitor a moment later, I was surprised to see another, identical order from the same lady. The time stamp showed that the two orders had been placed within two minutes of each other. I had a pretty good idea of what happened, but wanted to hear it from her. Sure enough, she clicked twice on the button which finalizes her order. In bold black type, the online instructions plainly say, “click the button below ONLY ONCE.” The directive goes on to say that it could take up to three minutes to process the order. In spite of the instructions, the order was placed again. I’ll cancel the additional charge to her credit card and will only ship one item. I wish all the consequences of impatience and self-gratification were so simple to remedy.
On a different front, in my music store, I have threatened to have tee shirts printed up with the slogan “You can’t have too many guitars” emblazoned on them. These, of course, would be intended for the unhappy wives of a number of our guitar customers. Once again, the suggestion is facetious, but in fact, it’s almost a serious enough issue to be concerned about and not to laugh about. There are people to whom common sense is a stranger when they see a guitar they have read about, or seen a friend playing, or heard played on their favorite recording. They must possess that instrument and will go to almost any length to obtain it. I’m not sure that I know of this problem causing any divorces, but there is no question that a fair number of family squabbles have been started by the purchase of one of these beautiful ladies with their glossy finish and siren-like qualities. Perhaps it is possible to have too many of these wonderful instruments. Maybe it would make more sense to print up some tee shirts with a blurb that says “Listen to your wife!” and distribute them to my married customers. Nah…that wouldn’t be good for business. Anyway, some of those wives have the same problem when it comes to purchases in their field of interest. We haven’t yet discussed shoes, or handbags, or…I think I’ll stop there or I may have to face some consequences later.
Indeed, we live in a day when self-control is not encouraged. The messages with which we’re perpetually barraged tell us to give in to our desires. See something you want? Get it. Can’t afford it? Charge it. Been taught that it’s not good? Ditch your belief system. We live in a new reality; a reality without consequences. What once was good is actually bad, the formerly forbidden is to be desired and attained. The new truth is that if you want it, it can’t be wrong. The only problem with this new reality is that it is a dream-world, one guaranteed to turn into a nightmare the further you proceed into it. We’re surrounded by the evidence in ruined lives; stars in recovery programs, politicians (and preachers) resigning in shame or going to jail, marriages in shambles, hoarding, alcoholism, drug addiction…the horrendous list is almost without end.
As I write this, I’ve started practicing a new phrase, one which I’ve not had much experience saying; “No, thank you.” I don’t want to super-size it, don’t want seconds, don’t want another one in the driveway. I’m thinking that the great man who said many centuries ago, “True Godliness with contentment is itself great wealth,” had his head screwed on straight.
I’ve had enough, thank you!
“Self-control is just controlling myself
It’s listening to my heart
And doing what is smart
Self-control is the very best way to go
So I think that I’ll control myself”
(Mike Milligan~Singer-Songwriter~”The Music Machine”)
“And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong–you want only what will give you pleasure.”