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Reflections: Stand For Something…

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“Stand for something or you will fall for anything. Today’s mighty oak is yesterday’s nut that held its ground.” Rosa Parks

Reflections: Stand For Something... Oak framed interior of St Girons Church in Monein, France

While I’m not an advocate for reckless rioting or joining every placard carrying group on the street, I believe we should vigorously defend our position on issues that matter dearly to us. At some point in our lives, we must have clear boundaries; a line we draw in the sand that we don’t cross or allow others to cross to hurt/harass us.

Recently, a friend had an exchange with a salesperson in one of my favorite stores. It was not entirely unpleasant… A top cosmetic company had invited her and others to test their product by getting a complimentary facial. It had nothing to do with blogging and she was not going to write a review on the product line. When she had a moment, she stopped by and waited to be helped. When it was her turn, she handed the salesperson a form from the cosmetic company specifying that she receive a facial, some gifts, and an introduction to the line. The salesperson took the form, disappeared for 20 minutes, came back with some samples, handed them to her, thanked her for her time and said goodbye. Naturally, my friend was flabbergasted. When she tried to address it, the salesperson got stroppy. Now if this had been any other store, my friend would have walked out… but this store is known for its extraordinary service. She asked for the store manager and to cut a long story short, she got a lot more; an apology, free lunch, and a few extra gifts with the facial tossed in. Now we know this is not the norm as we’ve all been to stores where the managers were even more unprofessional than their underlings… but we won’t go there.

In this rotten economy, businesses that don’t value superior customer service are asking for trouble, as people are more conscious of their spending and less tolerant of bad service. Every day, companies lose money and clients over bad customer service, therefore, If we care about our local businesses, we must speak up. In general, it is important to speak up about things that matter deeply to us because it gives everyone a chance to participate in resolving conflicts by finding solutions. To walk away from lousy service, inadequate treatment, incomplete information, or boorishness in a professional setting is a bad idea. Unless we call each other out on these mis-steps, some people will never learn to be civil. What do you think?

“Usually when people are sad, they don’t do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change.” Malcolm X

Reflections: Stand For Something... interior of bus Rosa Parks defiantly sat on...

It is not accidental that Rosa Park’s bravery forced people to look closely at the inequality and socio-cultural disparities that existed in the US at that time. I am not a proponent of violence; I believe that we should exercise our right to peaceful civil disobedience when we believe an injustice has been committed and we want matters resolved. Mahatma Gandhi‘s satyagraha approach is best. To put our heads in the sand and hope that things will go away or self-correct is delusional. On the other hand, responding from a place of rage won’t help either; we will need to seek the proper channels to help address the problem… but we must act. Unless we act, we are forced to constantly react.

When I worked in retail, one of the first lessons we learned in Training was Rule#1- The customer is right… and then Rule #2 – When in doubt, read #1 again. Sure, there are customers who are obnoxious, and we must learn to deflect their behavior and refocus them on what they need; service, assistance or direction. Similarly, in our daily interactions with others, we must choose our battles carefully and decide what to defend. I don’t like injustice, meanness, unfairness or bullying and I will say something; not provoke or attack but I’ll take a stand against it and speak up. What about you?

This post was inspired by a prompt from theWP Daily Post: What would cause you to protest or riot?

Positive Motivation Tip: The road to justice demands a courageous heart and a desire to help the collective. Take a non-violent stand against injustice.

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: Photo of Interior of Rosa Parks Bus, and oak framed interior of St Girons Church in Monein, France  via Wikipedia.

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

13 Comments leave one →
  1. 18/06/2011 11:38 pm

    I’m glad your friend was “rewarded” for speaking up. Firm but polite tends to get attention faster than angry and hostile.

    Here’s to speaking out against injustice whenever we see it.

  2. 18/06/2011 11:58 pm

    I agree with Rosa Parks “if we don’t stand for something, we will fall for anything.” I believe that to the core because I’ve seen many of people fall for anything. I mean, I’ve seen people that believe Disneyland is the home of God; Who just believe everything and let the world happen to them.

  3. 19/06/2011 3:38 am

    Oak framed interior of St Girons Church in Monein, France – you’ve chosen a good photo!
    and Malcolm X, the master of riot is relevant to this topic too, of course.
    and sometimes I think: the best thing is calmness. Nevertheless it is possible, to change conditions. you must not force some riots to change things …

  4. 19/06/2011 3:49 am

    This is my favourite of all your posts I’ve read so far. I love the quote, the photo, the story and the message.

    Thanks 🙂

  5. 19/06/2011 5:34 am

    To stand for something is like living for something. If we wake up each day just feeling robotic, that everything is a routine, that we let things be even if we know they’re wrong or let too scared to speak or make a change then we’re not living the life we’re meant to live at all. As for customer’s service, sometimes there are customers that drives you crazy but as a reflection, I just say to myself that I have a job because of this person. makes me divert from being angry to being grateful . Remember readers about Gratefulness? Hmmm? What a great post my friend. Thank you.

  6. Bree permalink
    19/06/2011 10:51 am

    This is great and I agree that standing for something is important.
    The world is full of people who like to get over on others and standing up to them is necessary.
    I love this post.

  7. 19/06/2011 11:08 am

    I agree that in this economy companies should be trying extra hard to retain their customer base. One bad experience will be shared with many other people – bad news seems to spread faster.

    But I think it’s important to consider “Rule#1- The customer is right… and then Rule #2 – When in doubt, read #1 again.” As a business owner, it is also important how I am treated. This is what I do each and every day and trying to force a customer relationship to work may only end up in heartburn for everyone involved. I do not tolerate abusive customer (although luckily that has not happened in my current business). Of course, there are gentle and professional ways to handle it, but sometimes referring a customer to another source is the only way to continue enjoying your day-to-day business.

  8. 19/06/2011 12:33 pm

    I had to drop a vendor once after he consistently gave bad service. I knew our business was critical to his bottomline but I’d had enough sloppiness and clients were complaining and my boss was unhappy. The president/owner of the company called and begged me for another chance but I’d had enough — I’d waited too long to voice my displeasure and had no faith in the company anymore.

    I learned: it’s important to speak up and do so often.

  9. 19/06/2011 12:37 pm

    Here, Here! I’ve been on both sides of the counter your friend was at and she absolutely did the right thing. I used to work for Lancome and we had an older lady who came every single Sat. to ‘get some samples’. ahem… Actually she came every sat. to refill her weeks supply!

    We just let her do it. People will rarely remember your praise of a product or store but they will definitely remember a bad story about it and tell others. Never give them the chance.

    We all need to stand up for what we know to be right, whether for ourselves or those less fortunate.
    Great post! Thanks!

  10. 19/06/2011 1:41 pm

    Elizabeth, this post is right up my alley! As a customer experience connoisseur I appreciate it when I get feedback, good or bad from customers. If they are happy with the service provided, it is great to hear it from them. If their experience was less than spectacular, I also want to know. If a customer does not give me the opportunity to correct a possible misstep, it is a shame.

    As you noted in the post, even places known for their service sometimes falter. Luckily your friend had the foresight to bring it to a manager’s attention.

  11. 19/06/2011 2:56 pm

    Eliz I like ” At some point in our lives, we must have clear boundaries; a line we draw in the sand that we don’t cross or allow others to cross to hurt/harass us.” This is so true
    and the exact words for establishing these boundaries in our life. It’s good to let people know where we stand, it shows our character and our stamina.

    Great Post ! 🙂

  12. 19/06/2011 6:49 pm

    I love this post so much and that quote by Rosa Parks. I always wondered who said that line, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” Great quote! 🙂

  13. 21/06/2011 1:38 pm

    My life is all about standing for something. As a lawyer, this is what I do. Sometimes, when you take a stand though, you learn later that you were wrong. Careful reflection is so important before jumping in and advocating for anyone or any particular cause. I think as a young woman, I used to advocate without much reflection only to regret it later on. I think it becomes much easier to stand for something with your heart and soul when you know and accept yourself. From that vantage point, you have a firm foundation from which to grow.

    (Btw – I’m so curious about the store – won’t you tell which one it was?)

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