Monday, December 22, 2014

It's Perspective Season

The dimension of perspective helps us distinguish between what is important and what is trivial.  One positive side effect is the ability to separate wants from needs, which lead to the ability to prioritize conflicting desires.  Another side effect is gratitude, appreciating what we have and not always yearning for more, bigger or better.

One week ago today the news was filled with stories about how retailers and the shipping companies were adjusting their schedules and updating websites to show the absolute last date to order on line and guarantee delivery by December 24.  They were in the process of fine tuning expectations to avoid over-promising and disappointing.

“After facing an avalanche of criticism last year for failing to deliver thousands of packages by Christmas Eve,” UPS is making extra efforts to ensure everything is delivered as expected.  Both UPS and FedEx “began strategizing immediately after last year's disappointing holiday performance,” which combined bad weather with an unexpected increase in online shopping. US Postal Service will likewise be going “the extra mile to ensure packages are delivered” on time and they too don’t lose customers.

Last year some retailers overpromised regarding last-minute delivery, “leaving some online shoppers irate.”  This year they are being more careful about dates and guarantees because “when you miss that date, trouble ensues."

This is where perspective comes in.  Expressions like "an avalanche of criticism," “irate” and “trouble ensues” certainly paints a picture of out-of-whack behavior in this dimension.  Who are these people that their biggest problem is whether Christmas presents, which were obviously not important enough to plan ahead for, are delivered on time?  If they have a delivery address, they have a home, which not everyone can say.  Chances are they have food on the table and a healthy family to share it with.   Even at this time of the year it's so easy for them to forget their blessings and become irate when their last-minute behavior combined with high demand and bad weather to cause a delay in delivery.  

Is this all about a fragile ego – yes, I put it off to the last minute, but I don’t want to be caught and embarrassed?  Is it about not wanting to disappoint the children, because we, aided by society (and especially advertisers) have built their expectations to the bursting point over the excitement of tearing into presents on Christmas morning?  Did we also forget to remind them about their blessings?  Finally, are adults through their behavior teaching their children that the way to respond to disappointment is to throw a tantrum?

It’s too bad this subject even comes up.  Americans who see Christmas as a religious holiday can worship as they choose – one more thing to be grateful for.  Those who do not, need not be committed to any particular day.  What’s wrong with the following weekend?  This kind of patience and flexibility are a better example to our children than stressing out over where all the last-minute packages are.  In short, everyone has bigger problems than what’s been delivered by a particular day.  Some people just don’t seem to have sorted this fact out yet.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Jim. Once again right on target!
    -- andy


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