Can we talk? Well, that depends.

If you’re under 24, “talking” means texting. If I can condense my thoughts into 160 characters and don’t mind using my thumbs to communicate, then we can talk. I won’t even think about calling you, because you never answer your phone or check your voice mail. You rarely use email but you change your Facebook status every time you eat out, get sick or update your blog.


She was one tough customer. Ignoring hundreds of people clamoring for my attention during the busiest sale of the year, she insisted on finding a long-sleeved, pink satin blouse with a high collar. It was not in season. It was not in style. But she would not be swayed. I pleaded with her to try this collared blouse or that pink sweater, but nothing would satisfy her. Finally, in desperation, I asked her, “Ma’am! Why do you need this blouse?”


I recently purchased a fashion accessory without the assistance of my trusted personal shopper. This was a bold move, and I was nervous about my solo selection. I told the salesperson, “If this doesn’t pass inspection by my 13-year-old daughter, it will be returned.”


We live an hour away from a mall that’s “bigger than our entire city,” according to our daughter. Spending the day among it’s chic shops and sweet-smelling restaurants is the highlight of her back-to-school shopping spree. She chose not one, but two pairs of itty-bitty super-skinny jeans then eagerly accompanied me to the grown-up home furnishing stores.


There was no way I was going to make it. My flight landed at 8:24 am. The conference started at 9:00 am—but Mapquest said it was 29 minutes, 20.2 miles away. Dozens of passengers departed before me and we made our way to baggage claim. I used the restroom and returned to the carousel to find my hot pink suitcase sitting all by its lonesome by the belt… no other bags in sight. The bag and I headed to the curb to hail a cab, where cab driver Damona Szada whisked me off to the hotel with a minute to spare: we arrived at 8:59.


Don’t even think about it. Under no circumstances, ever, should you even dare to ask if the Beverage Bar is included at this buffet. In case you didn’t get the message, they’ve told you once, twice, EIGHT times on signs posted in the parking lot that boldly and badly proclaim, “Beverage Bar Not Included.”


“Washing off the fellowship” was one pastor’s expression for a thorough hand washing after a friendly Sunday morning. One church was even asked by their local health department to stop the meet-and-greet portion of their service—“Shake hands and say hello to someone sitting around you!”—during the recent swine flu epidemic.


I checked the map then hobbled to the first aid station at the amusement park in search of a Band-Aid for my blistered feet. Their path took me past an ice cream shop, souvenir store, caricature portrait gallery and a restaurant. On my way back I found that a shortcut would have saved my soles and possibly my pocketbook.


Do you have someone in your life who pushes you higher than you could go on your own, a power source who makes you work harder, do better and enjoy life more fully? Have you acknowledged that person and told them how their influence has helped you? Are you a refreshing breeze in someone’s life, or do you carve the landscape like an eroding storm?


Do you ever tell Ms. Jones no? Is it a better service to say no than to say yes and fail? What can you do when you can’t do anything? Can you call your competitors to find what she wants? Can you rack your brain and search your racks to find an alternative? Or are you willing to sacrifice your staff and stretch your resources to “try” to leap through Ms. Jones hoops?

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