Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Something For Nothing?

I have spent some years working in retail management. I could probably write a book and fill it with unique encounters I had with customers. Once a man approached me (as a manager) and asked me if he was getting a discount on his purchase. I asked him why. His answer was that he had to walk from the men's department (where currently the register was closed), to the women's department to an open register. The distance was about 25 yards...maybe. Let me add that at that point of the day traffic was very slow. It was normal for us to leave certain registers closed until later in the day when traffic increased. My answer to him was a pretty solid, but extremely nice "No". His was reply was, "You can't blame a guy for trying!" I thanked the gentleman for his business and he went on his way. Actually, this particular encounter was a little humorous!

But then there are those customers who can really be unreasonable about getting something for nothing. In my early days of retail I encountered a customer who brought back a completely flattened, rather large, 6-volt flashlight. This brand offered a life-time warranty. However, one condition not covered was neglect. It was quite obvious to me, this flashlight had been extremely neglected! As a matter of fact, the man told me he had run over it with his truck. When I told him I couldn't help him because the flashlight did not simply stop was flattened like a pancake, he demanded to see a manager. The manager came and told him the same thing I told him. He jumped up and down, screamed, and said "This is false advertising! You said this had a life-time warranty!" My manager tried to show him where it clearly said neglect would not be covered. Then he began to argue that this was not neglect. He just didn't realize the flashlight was lying in the middle of his driveway. Sounds pretty much like neglect to me! My manager finally gave in to the guy and gave him another flashlight just to keep him from making a scene. If this man was right in the head (which I am sure he was), he knew he was taking advantage of the situation and getting something for nothing.

So let me share one more encounter. A man came in with an item that was literally destroyed. His angle was that our receipt said "Satisfaction guaranteed, or your money back." He said he was no longer satisfied with the item. It was obliterated! He tore it up. He wanted a new one. Forget warrantees. Some how he had torn it up and thought he should have a new one. And because it was torn up, he wasn't satisfied with it anymore! We ended up having to give him a new one, and if I remember correctly, it was so old, we didn't have anything close! He took advantage of an honest promise on the back or our receipt that was made to help folks who really needed it. Oh, did I mention, several years back the company took that saying off the back of the receipts due to so many people taking advantage of it the wrong way. Those who were truly honest, and truly deserved help were the ones who lost out on that one.

The desire to get something for nothing permeates all cultures. I would say it is part of the human, fallen nature. There are certain "worldly" traits we should grow out of, especially if we are followers of Jesus Christ. I know someone is thinking "The grace of God is a free gift." Yes it is. But is it really something for nothing? I don't think so. Jesus said, "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matthew 16:26) So on the one hand, you can gain the whole world, but because you forfeit your soul it profits you absolutely nothing. On the other hand the last part of that Scripture says that in order to save your soul, you give everything. Here's another way to say it. If you gain the whole world, in light of eternity, and in light of God's kingdom you really have NOTHING. And what will you give in exchange (salvation) for your soul? EVERYTHING!

The truth is, God's grace is a gift we didn't deserve. But to receive and walk in this gift, we must give Jesus everything. So God's gift of salvation is not something for nothing. The price for our sins is the precious blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. To receive this gift my entire life becomes His. Oh, but what a deal!

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