By: Ken Boone
When recording my weekly podcast, I always give my listeners an update on the shows hosted by my wife, Celia, and our "daughter", Angel. They've both been under the weather, for different reasons, until recently. Fortunately, they're doing much better and will be recording and releasing new episodes of their podcasts in the near future. Amen to that!
It's been several months since I'd last seen Angel. She used to come to the house most Sundays to record her podcast episodes that would be published every other Thursday. It's been even longer since the last time I saw her husband, Chad. The last time I saw the two of them was the day after I was discharged from the hospital. They came to the house with loads of food and other necessities.
As weak as I was, I was no match for them when I tried to pay for the purchases. In fact, they asked me if I needed anything else! That's just the generous nature of the two of them. They are truly family! The type of family you get to pick!
Last week, Celia and I jumped at the opportunity to go to lunch with them. This also gave us the chance to meet their daughter, their son-in-law, and their two adorable granddaughters. We'd heard so much about them, but the closest we got to them was "liking" their pictures on Facebook. I'll tell you this... they were better than advertised!
While waiting for our food at the local iHop, Chad kept commenting on how good I looked. My color had returned to normal, I got rid of over 50 pounds of excess fluids I was retaining, and my steps had more pep. The best thing about it was being able to fight off Chad in order for me to pick up the check!
I tend to think of myself as a relatively selfless, generous person. But I have a few friends who can, and do, put me to shame when it comes to having those attributes. Chad is among them. Angel has those same traits. In fact, you could consider them heroic, because by definition, a hero is one who acts when their is a duty to act.
As for me, the older I get, the more selfish I think I've become. Maybe it's because I can sense my mortality better. Or maybe I've grown tired of the perceived attempts at being victimized by people only looking out for themselves. Either way, I find myself constantly questioning my character, even though Celia constantly tells me that I'm still a good person.
On my past three or four podcast episodes, I brought a segment titled "Let Me Shop in Peace" to my subscribers. It was a humorous take on commerce's heavy-handed approach to squeezing charitable acts out of their customers. One episode I shined a light on a large discount store. Other episodes featured my favorite supermarket and sandwich shop.
None of these businesses needed my money, and made a point of splashing images on the walls depicting giant checks with larger dollar amounts donated (in their name) to worthy charities. Those donations come from profits earned through sales to people like me.
Even though I can rationalize their tactics, I still feel a little bad when I rebuff their various pitches for donations. Am I really a selfish S.O.B. or should I just turn back around and give them the mere $2.00 asked me for?
I wasn't thinking about it during our meal, but somehow we got to that subject. As I said earlier, Chad and Angel are two of the most genuinely selfless people I've ever met. They give without expecting anything in return. Their example makes me take my own inventory.
However, somehow the conversation drifted to how businesses employ different upselling tactics. Some will ask if you want to "Super Size" your meal, while others ask if you want to round up you purchase to the nearest dollar to help some worthy cause. None of the tactics are meant to inflict any noticeable pain on the consumer. But once in a while, you do check your back to see if they put a sign that says "Kick Me" on it!
The mild remorse I would feel when I said "no" to the requests quickly left when Chad stated that the sandwich shop I mentioned earlier was the same one whose donation pitch pissed him off the most. In fact, he did a word for word recollection of the pitch which actually made me shutter.
If a genuinely generous person like Chad found this behavior annoying, I was right to feel put upon. It also made me grateful that my defenses mechanisms were still functioning. Not to be paranoid, but we always have to keep our guard up because there are others who make a career of trying to separate you from things of value to you.
I may bring Chad in to do an episode where can gripe about not being allowed to shop in peace. Or maybe not. All I know is that Angel will be recording new podcasts episodes in the near future. So will Celia. I will also tell you that we won't ask for your loose change to hear those episodes. That's because they're free! Thanks for letting me gripe a bit!
But wait... there's more!
About the Author
As owner of the Descant Music & Media Group, Ken is a creator and producer of several podcast shows. He is also a music producer, as well as a writer and an accountant for small businesses and nonprofits.