Art of Saying Hello

One of the most overwhelming psychological problems facing homeless people is isolation. Think of yourself as homeless for a moment. You have no family that wants you around, no home, no address. You spend today day trying to make it to tomorrow.

Most people do not want to talk to you, they give you some change to make you go away. People fear you, people make you invisible. No one gives a crap if you are around tomorrow or not. Now imagine that is your life, and you are walking down the street, and you say hello to a passing stranger in an attempt to reach out and make a connection, however small. You may as well have said hello to a tree.

If you were alive in 1614, saying hello would not be an issue. You would seldom venture more than a short walk from your home, especially alone. You would be born, grow old, and die with people who live close to you. Once you walked more than a short way from your house, you were a stranger, either someone to leave alone, someone to rob, or worse.

Because you are alive in 2014, quite a bit has changed. You are safer now than in any time in history. You do not have to worry about war and plunder arriving in your neighborhood. You can walk down the street without being robbed. You can drive across town or across country without fear of being raped, robbed, murdered, or captured for slavery. Sure it happens, but let’s be real for a minute, it is not something likely to happen to you. There are easier targets for those people who prey on others.

We now know the bogyman is a fable. Dirty old men are very hard to find. Your neighbor or the person walking towards you is probably not a psychopath concealing a bloody knife they are about to use on you.

Don’t be afraid to say hello to a passing stranger, homeless person, adult or child you do not know. You never know how much one word may mean to another. Saying hello costs nothing, and has the ability to change both your worlds. Unfortunately in extremely rare instances, your saying hello may be the last word you ever say to another human being, or the last word they ever hear.

No longer do you need to be frightened of strangers. All fear does is lead to isolation and loneliness. The greatest love stories, the strongest relationships, and the greatest people you have ever met or read about practice the art of saying hello.

Saying, “Hello” is more than good manners. When you say hello, you acknowledge the other persons existence and worthiness. You let them know they are alive and they are somebody. You may be the only person the other person will see today, and you connected with them in a small insignificant way.

Stress Relief You Will Actually Use

I know two stress relievers so profound I try to keep them in mind throughout my day. We should repeat them several times a day, every day.

The first stress reliever may have originated in the Christian bible, possibly from Paul’s writings.

This second thought is a suggestion I learned from Burt Goldman, American Guru, in several of his videos. You can find Burt on you-tube. These two thoughts we need to add to our lives and our day starting as we wake up, during the day, and before going to sleep. They will change your life for the better!

‘I have everything I need within me to not only manage every problem in my life, but to solve every problem in my life. All I need to do is use the tools I have learned, and think before acting’.

And from Burt Goldman, ‘I am getting better and better and better every day in every way’.

…On a side note…If you haven’t heard it yet, an awesome feel good song you need to hear is: Meghan Trainor – All About That Bass. Check it out!…

These two thought help me relieve daily stress. They will help you too. Remember the mustard seed parable? The song is awesome, thank you Meghan Trainor.

The Hustle, The Hard Sell

Door bell rings with excitement, dong-dong, dong-dong, dong-dong. Man at the door looks like a cross between your average Joe, and acts like he is my favorite puppy, almost bouncing with enthusiasm. “Hi, I’m Jim, how are you?”

Almost without waiting for an answer, “Hey we were in your neighborhood, going to drop off a purchase for a customer who’s not at home. We sell _____, interested? Just come out and look, no buy, no foul.”

I do not mention I saw them around the neighborhood last week too….

“Hey, its cold out here, you might want to put on a jacket, you don’t want to get cold. We would rather sell off the purchase than haul it back to the warehouse.”

“John is over at a house across the street, he will be back in a second. Small pause. Here he is” in an upbeat voice.

“John this is Michael, he wants to take a look at what we have.”

John opens the door to the van. John, “Do you have any interest in _____, ______, or ____?”

Michael, “No, about all we use is _____.” John is not impressed, “Sure you don’t have any interest in ____ (much more expensive)?”

“No thanks, ____ is about it. Rarely use anything else.”

John, “What’s your name again?”

My best buddy Jim says forcefully, “His name is Michael. Are you losing your mind?”

John acting in a very professional manner inside the van takes out a large carton and proceeds to open it. Jim is continuing to do a ‘my favorite puppy’ imitation on my left.  John removes the product and explains to me why it is superior to what I can buy at the store. Jim stands still and remains quiet.

John, “We normally sell on-line”, and pulls out a brochure showing me their choices. “This is our asking price”, showing me the price below the product he has displayed. “Because we don’t want to drive it back, we can let it go for $xxx.xx (which is almost thirty five percent off brochure price).” “Am I anywhere close in price?”

Michael, “It’s a great price, but more than I want to spend.”

John, “What is your price?” “A lot less than that.” “Can we get close on price” “I would like too, but it is just too much to spend.” “You don’t have to pay cash”, John say’s showing me the brochure again with all major credit cards on the bottom of the back page.

“Sorry, it’s too much for me…”

John turns his back on me and starts packing up the goods.

In this moment, I feel rejected, which is what was intended. Here are a couple of guys on quietly excited, and the other acting professionally, and I turned down their offer.

I back up and look at Jim, the human puppy. He is looking dejected, like I scolded him for peeing on the floor.

“Thanks for the offer Jim, wish I could afford it.” John is still putting the offers away, and refuses to acknowledge me – more rejection in the making.

I walk away and Jim continues to look like a lost puppy who lost his best friend.

What a hustle! These two men deserve an award! As smoothly as they played it out, I was feeling rejected, and I expected to be put in a situation. I am curious how many people after feeling rejected, decide to be a do-good take the offer. After all, all’s well, that ends well.

Why Some Waiters Make Bigger Tips Than You

I stiffed a waiter today, leaving no tip, and suggesting the other people with me also not tip. If you wait tables and this is has happened to you, you may want to read on as my tipping standards are very liberal, at times up to twenty-five percent for exceptional service.

1. You work for me while I am seated in your section. Your boss pays you you something, but your real income should come from your tips. I am your customers and make or break your paycheck. Sounds brutal, but that is how it is.

2. Doing a three second drive by after the meal has been delivered is not enough. I do not sit at the table thinking if I would like a refill, clean fork, or another napkin.

I am talking with whomever I am with, and focusing on the conversation. I don’t appreciate your pausing two or three seconds to interrupt, ask a question, and answer it yourself as you walk off. As you are walking away there is usually something someone at the table wants, but you are gone.

3. Instead of seeing how efficiently plates can be removed, look for what you can do.  Check the drinks on the table. Refills should not be something one has to ask for. An almost empty glass is a good indication someone will likely want a refill.

For example, I like my coffee. For what I pay, I expect more coffee than the first cup. Same with soft drinks and water.

4. Performing a drop off the check drive by, assuring me you will be be back is a waste of your breath, and my time. You rarely come back until I am standing up to leave. Do you really think I am going to ask for something at this point and sit down again?

If you say you will be back, I really expect to see you before I am ready to leave. Otherwise do not bother to tell me to take my time, and you will be back to check on me.

5. It may not be obvious to you but you are in the people business, not the food serving business. I can serve myself at home for less money no matter where I am eating or what time it is. Make it an expectation of yourself to visit your customers and use proper manners.

Look over the table and see what you can bring that does not need to be asked for. Otherwise wait until there is a break in the conversation, before asking if anyone at the table needs anything. Wait a few seconds for people to shift from conversation to their wants and needs.

6. Whenever you get stiffed, and it is more often than occasionally, it is usually something you are not doing. Telling me, “Thanks a lot”, in a cynical tone, when you do not see a tip does not improve your skill set. It may however spark a fire in me to speak with the manager about your slovenly performance in taking care of us.

Usually I am a very good tipper, having worked in food service myself, and knowing how hard and unrewarding it is. For me not to leave some kind of tip, well, you really blew it.

When you have a customer, they are not generally their to visit a feeding trough. They are their to eat and leave the world outside the door. They may not want anything from you, and they will let you know. They may have a five a five dollar bill for a ten dollar meal, that you may never see because you think throwing plates around is doing doing enough.

Memories of Sixty Years of Changes

I brought up some life changes that have happened over my life in a conversation yesterday. I thought they are kind of interesting, and thought I would share them with you. I grew up in rural Minnesota, so the experiences of others may be different. Below are memories I remembered off hand.

1. Telephone lines were shared between different families in the same neighborhood. You knew of the call was for your family by the ring. They were called party lines, and your neighbors could listen in on your conversation if they were quiet and sneaky. Children were rarely allowed to talk on phones as they mostly for the adults in the house.

2. Dancing was much tamer than it is today. I remember my sister telling me that during school dances when a slow song was played, there had to be at least a three inch gap between the couple. Chaperone’s were responsible for couples maintaining the proper distance. In the seventies, people would be kicked out of dance halls for performing a too suggestive version of the song Locomotion as an example.

3. Music had a much different meaning than it does today. Most songs were love songs with the exception of the blues and jazz which was off limits to most people who were not raised in the south. Fats Domino songs, Twist, and Blueberry hill were on the edge of what were acceptable songs.

4. There were no movie ratings. Parents generally had to call the theater to see if it was okay for their kids to go to a movie. It was big event and caused lots of discussion between my parents when the beach movie, “The Ghost in the Tiger Striped Bikini” came to town. My folks thought it may be too adult for kids to see.

I walked out of the movie, “Last House on the Left”, as it took violence to a level that made me sick to my stomach. Some people actually threw up before they managed to leave the theater.

No one who saw the movie, “The Exorcist”, went home and had a good nights sleep for a number of days.  The Exorcist took the Devil out of church and put him in daily life. I knew a man who committed suicide because he was supposedly told he was possessed by a priest, when really he was mentally ill.

Sidelining, speaking of mental illness, my Sister after marrying and leaving home, told my Mother, the walls were talking to her. My Mother told my Sister that was taboo subject in so many words, and she did not want to talk about it. My Sister by that time had read, “Valley of the Dolls”, learning how to quiet the voices on her own, along with most of who she was.

5. There were no skateboards. The closest to a skateboard was taking steel roller skate wheels or cart wheels off and screwing them unto a board. Neither option worked too well.

6. When I saw my first calculator which was only rumored to be in a store, it cost around $360.00. Of course we weren’t allowed to actually touch it, as the four function (+ – * /) calculator was locked behind a glass case.

7. It was every kids dream to have their very own transistor radio. They were about the size of a cell phone, only thicker, worked on a 9 volt battery, and if you lived in a big city, had something called FM radio which was thought to be better than AM radio.

8. We did not have a television until I was about six years old. We did not have a television channel that stayed on morning until midnight until I was ten. We didn’t have a color television until I was about thirteen. The movie, “Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, was about as racy as it got in those days. Of course cartoons and westerns were full of extreme violence, but that was okay for the time.

9. Our milk came from a daily farmer. It was milked from the cow, chilled and bottled in gallon root beer bottles we brought from home. The cream would float on the top, and the bottle would have to be shaken before being poured out. When the Farmer and his family  got sick with the flu in winter, all his customers usually did too.

10. Tea, Milk, and Bread Men were common when I was little. The Tea man sold tea, hygiene products, hair and tooth brushes, and of course cheap little toys for toddlers that were not old enough for school.

11. Abuse in the home was much more common that it is today. Spanking, and beating (both children and wives) was not uncommon. Children were to be seen and not heard. Never questioned the authority of an adult, and kept out of sight unless it was meal time. I remember a friend of mine went to baby-sit three young boys, and one was proud to show off a hole in a the wall that his Dad made when he threw the boy into the wall. One boy in my class was discovered by our teacher (who touched his shoulder) to have black and green welts on his back from his mother beating him with a rubber garden hose. I also had an eleven year old alcoholic friend whose father never noticed the missing liquor.

12. Skate boards as we know them today did not exist. Bicycles were made of iron, and at the slightest grade you generally got off and walked it up the hill. Back packs were only for hiking and camping. Bumper Tennis shoes were the rage, Hoods had Duck Tails, and wore blue jeans and black tee shirts with engineering boots if they could afford them. We voted on whether or not girls would be allowed to wear slacks to school.

13. The Pill, otherwise known as birth control pills. Sex was a rare event, believe it or not except among the high risk taking group. Parents frequently slept in separate beds. To be intimate and risk having sex was dangerous at best, because the chance of pregnancy was very high compared to life today. The Pill started the sexual revolution of the sixties, giving Women more power and control in their lives than any time previous in the worlds history.