Retail education: What makes it right?

Home Columns Retail education: What makes it right?

by Kelly Kramer

I was recently watching a television program about people that had turned their lives around. All had served time for some very bad crimes, had hit rock bottom and decided that if they had any chance of ever getting out, they needed to show they had a change of mindset for the better.

One story in particular got me to thinking. It was about a high-dollar diamond thief before he was caught. He found his higher power in jail, was released early and became a youth advisor for the police. He is now a highly paid writer/speaker on preventing our youth from following his same bad path.

I noticed one common factor during all the interviews; all of them said they were good at the bad things they did. So, even though they were now denouncing what they had done, they were proud that they were good at it and that subconsciously made it right. It made me think of my own youth on a much smaller scale.

A bad kid

One day in the seventh grade, on the playground in the middle of a Michigan winter, I was up to no good. At the time I was a big kid with a pretty athletic background. In fact, in the years before I had won the middle school Olympic’s hundred-yard-dash and the softball distance throwing events. Needless to say, I was the best candidate to throw snow balls a long way.

So, on the playground my friends would make me ice balls. We would stand behind the corner of a mobile class room and I’d throw the ice balls high in the air, over the building, about 40 yards out into a groups of kids. One time, I actually hit a poor kid right on the bridge of his nose. The ice ball fell from the sky like a baseball-sized piece of hail. He never saw it coming and it dropped him to his knees.

My so-called friends gave me up in a heartbeat. Next stop: the principal’s office. Lucky for me, I was a nice, well-mannered Army brat and the vice principal thought highly of me. He sat me down and reminded me of a conversation we had in the fifth grade when I had gotten in a fight. He asked me to remember that I was bigger than the other kids and not to abuse that power. Then he asked me why I would do such a thing. In a calm, convincing voice I said, “Well, I guess I’m the only one that could make that shot.”

After turning away from me because he had to laugh, he said something I’ve never forgotten. “Kelly, just because you can do it well does not make it right. You hurt someone and you need to make this right.” After a public apology, the poor kid with two black eyes had a new “big” buddy.

Business ethics

We can sell dirty and why not? It is the easy way.

Free, free, free. 60 % off. Buy two rooms, get the rest of the house free. Over measuring, false claims, and bad mouthing your competition are just a short list of bad, dishonest ethics. The problem is justifying it because “that’s how business is done” and doing these things well can lead to big, yet short term, profits.

Those of us who truly do sell clean know it best because we just made it through some terrible economic times. So congratulations for keeping your ethics and selling clean. A clean operation and a good night’s sleep make it right in my book.

Thanks for reading.

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