Monday, April 23, 2012

Stealing Gas

A few saturdays ago, I was on my way to a baby shower and stopped to fill up my jeep.  I noticed the large price sign out front was advertising gas for $3.58 a gallon and so I pulled in, swiped my card and started to fill my empty tank.  As I waited, I glanced at the pump.  The digital screen for unleaded gas read $2.58.  "Huh, thats weird" I thought, "Must be a glitch with the screen".  But as I did the math in my head for the total the machine was charging me, I realized it was in fact charging me a dollar less per gallon than it was supposed to be.  I glanced around, wondering if it was a joke but the busy station looked normal.  I finished filling up and stepped into the store.  Despite a long line of customers the cashier made eye contact with me and I told him the pumps were not set correctly and charging me only $2.58 per gallon.  Another employee who overheard my comment jumped onto a computer and started frantically punching keys.  Reagan was in the jeep so I quickly left.  No one said thank you.  No one said anything in fact. 

When I arrived at the baby shower I told my friends about my savings, since I had filled up I had saved about $16 that morning.  They asked which gas station it was and told me I should have called them right away!  They were laughing about it but then seemed surprised when I told them I had notified the store of the error and I expected the correction had been made right away.

Now that I was thinking of it, several people in line also gave me the evil eye when I had talked to the cashiers.  People were genuinely surprised that I was doing the right thing.  It never really occurred to me to take advantage of the situation.  Although I had already benefited by receiving reduced gas, I didn't have any intention on continuing to steal from the gas station.

That's what it was after all, stealing.  It may not have been my error to mis-program the machine but I knew the price was wrong, I knew someone had made a mistake.  I have no idea how long those pumps were not charging the right price, but at the large busy gas station it is fair to stay they probably lost hundreds of dollars, if not thousands for that mistake.   I have no doubt the responsible employee was in hot water, if not fired for the error.

I began to think about how other people would have not thought twice about calling friends, and cashing in on that mistake.  It's easy to feel like taking advantage of that low price wouldn't hurt anyone.  It wasn't my fault, I was just buying gas at the price they set, right?  Conoco is a huge company, and a few bucks off my bill wouldn't bother them!  But if we are honest, taking advantage of that gas was the same as robbing the owner of $16.  It was still stealing, it was still wrong, and I was still responsible for my actions.

So for me, of course I told them.  I would tell them again if I had the chance, even though it came without a thank you.  The reality is, doing the right thing doesn't always come with recognition,  you don't do the right thing because of what it can do for you.  Am I annoyed that they didn't acknowledge the fact that I helped them out, even when I didn't have to?  Sure, but that's not the point.

I challenge you the next time a situation presents itself to do the right thing too.  Not because you have to, not because someone is watching, and not because it could give you a reward or recognition.  Do it because it's what Christianity is about and God will always know.

The Liberty Mutual commercial doesn't quite get it right - it's easy to hold a door, give up your seat or loan someone a quarter.  But can we have the same approach when no one is watching, and when it could benefit us when we DON'T do the right thing?  I want to take it a step further, past volunteering and donating.  I challenge you to take risks by speaking up even if your opinion isn't popular, sacrificing even when it means you do without, and making the right decision even if you do it alone.  That is when it gets hard, but means the most.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Wanted: Best Friend

Wanted: Best Friend in the Stillwater Area

MWF seeking a BFF.  Must be willing to bash on your husband, relate to new mom issues, live in the Stillwater area, have ideas about losing a few pounds, love chocolate and enjoy sno cones and mexican food.  Added bonus if you have kid(s), love cats and or have a husband in the police force, but not required.

Best friend duties include helping me plan events and activities, being honest about how clothes look on me, sharing hand me downs, attending "girl's night"s, and spending a ridiculous amount of time talking to each other about everything.  Must be able to keep secrets and be willing to share secrets.  Also must be willing to forgive all the crazy you will discover in me once you get to know me.  I will expect you to utilize phrases like "He said WHAT to you?, "I will be right there and don't worry, I'm bringing the rum", and "Sounds to me like you were right and he was wrong".

Plan to discuss and analyze the following topics in details:  In-laws, husband's crazy habits, the cute thing my daughter did today,  my budget, my next craft project, and the drama in my office.  I'm willing to listen in detail to your issues as well, as long as I can throw in my two cents. 

Perks of friendship: Willing to dedicate myself as a work out buddy, swap free babysitting evenings, and give you camera and photo tips.  Friendship also includes regular trips to get a chocolate/caramel covered apple from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and sno cone from Cruise's.  I have a pool (that is almost ready to fill) and apparently, I am also a resume whiz so good ahead and ask that favor now...

Planned activities include garage sale and flea market junk shopping, painting or craft projects, sunbathing and swimming, sweating and swearing to Jillian Michaels, walking Boomer lake, gardening, cooking and tailgating for OSU football.  Some shopping, mostly in the Stillwater shops because I hate driving to the city.  Up for occasional well planned adventure like road tripping down Route 66 or exploring a new lake.  I love being by or in the water so those type of activity requests will always be a yes for me and I have a huge kitchen we can cook or bake in. 

Disclosures: Please try to avoid my pet peeves which include canceling on me last minute, making me repeat myself and waking me up.  I have a bad habit of holding grudges so I will go ahead and apologize now!

If you can relate to country girl, have sympathy for homesickness and sleep deprivation, and would enjoy spending time at my country home then this is the "job" for you! 

To apply send resume and references to andrea.skimbo@okstate.edu

p.s. If Chrissy tina, Erin or Leah relocate to the Stillwater area than this posting becomes irrelevant.   Though I doubt it, those yankees are afraid of tornadoes.

p.p.s .  One more thing: Obviously must have a great sense of humor because if I can't laugh at this crazy life of mine I will go crazy!  

http://www.oprah.com/relationships/In-Search-of-a-New-Best-Friend
http://mwfseekingbff.com/

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Growing Where I am Planted

It was a post a friend left on my facebook page a few months ago, in response to a status about dealing with regret.  "Grow where you are planted".  That is what I have been trying to do lately.  I can't change alot about my life right now, so that just leaves acceptance.  My prayers aren't for second chances, or do-overs because I know that is just not an option.  My prayers focus on finding happiness exactly where I am.

In times of trial, its very easy to indulge in self pity and sadness.  I don't doubt for one minute that if I had the chance to do it all again I would rewind to my senior year of high school and do every single thing differently.  But that is the value of hindsight, you have the knowledge of the future and wisdom of your mistakes.  I would spend more time with my Dad, his sudden passing caught us all off guard.  I would have double majored in business and photography, so I could have the information I would need to open my own studio.  I would have gone to school by the ocean, instead of always trying to vacation or visit the sea.  I would have looked at large public universities, instead of a private college that left me with student loan debt.  I would have dated Christian boys, worked out more, kept playing tennis, taken more pictures in undergrad, and moved closer to my family before starting a family.  I would have/should have/could have done a lot of things differently.

But I didn't.

So here I am planted in Oklahoma.  Trying desperately to grow.  I find myself caught in daydreams of the tails I spin if I had done one thing differently.  If I had chosen a different college.  If I hadn't walked away from a past relationship.  If I had accepted a different Graduate Assistantship.  Sometimes it blows me away to think how very different my story would be right now if just one decision changed.  And yet, those daydreams are toxic.  I can't spend anymore time dreaming or wishing for one of those possibilities. 

It's not about the mistakes I have made, though I do admit they exist.  It's not about what I wish was different.  It's definitely not about finding a way to go back in time.  I am looking for ways of changing the view from looking back over my shoulder to facing forward.  I need to concentrate on making today better for me in ways that are possible.

I may not be blooming yet but I am reaching for the sun. 

I saw a sign the other day that said 'It's not the happy people that are thankful, it's the thankful people that are happy".  That is my attitude today, thankfulness.  Not of empty wishes and pockets full of regrets but of finding the joy that does exist in my life and focusing on love.  There is so much to be thankful for, right now and right here.