Monday, August 23, 2010

Lessons from Discount Tire

First, a disclosure: I do not now nor have I ever worked for Discount Tire. I do not own stock in their company. I do not even know anyone who works there. But I am one of their customers, and I've had some excellent experiences there and learned a few lessons from them as well. So, in no particular order, here are a few of those lessons:

Notice people. When I pull into the parking lot at Discount Tire, a worker comes out, meets me at my car, and asks me what I need. Let me tell you, that makes me feel pretty important and reassures me that I will be taken care of. It takes very little time to notice and acknowledge someone, but when you do, you will make a friend for life.

Focus on what you do well.
Discount Tire focus on, obviously, tires. They don't do oil changes; they don't repair brakes. As a result, their people really know tires, and they have the equipment and experience do take care of practically any tire problem. My neighbor Jeanette makes absolutely incredible desserts. My friend Daniela is fluent in several languages. I can be envious of them and wish I had their talents. Or I can focus on my own talents and use those to bless the people around me.

Build relationships by helping people. When you buy tires from Discount Tire, the salesman doesn't shake your hand and tell you good-bye. Instead, they provide free tire rotations and repairs for as long as you own those tires. By focusing on what their customers need, they keep them coming back. And when those customers need new tires, or have a friend who needs new tires, where do you think they are going to go? Think about what the people you know need and what you can do to meet those needs. As the old saying goes, if you want to have a friend, then be a friend.

Like I said, I don't work for Discount Tire, and there are plenty of other companies who provide excellent customer service. As a Christian, I am called on to serve others. I can learn a lot from companies like this one.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Still Crazy After All These Years

After nearly 25 years of marriage (our anniversary is two weeks from today), my husband still surprises me.

My husband is the kind of man you'd want beside you if you are ever in trouble. He has no fear of confronting the "bad guys" and firmly believes it is his duty to protect the people he loves. But one thing he has always avoided is roller coasters. He says it's because he likes to be in control. He feels the same way about airplanes. The only way he would enjoy flying is if they let him fly the plane.

So imagine my surprise when he told our daughter that yes, he would go on one of the roller coasters during a recent visit to a local amusement park. Then, after achieving that, he went on every roller coaster in the park!

I love it that he is still willing to try new things. And I love him. I'm looking forward to seeing what new adventures will come our way in the next 25 years.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Neither a Leader Nor a Borrower Be...

In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis points out that ancient Greeks, Jews in the Old Testament, and Christians in the Middle Ages all forbid leading money at interest, and that in the modern world, our entire economic system is based on charging and paying interest. If charging interest were outlawed today in America, our economy would collapse.

But is it healthy for us to rely so heavily on something that three quite different past societies found wise to forbid? Would the current chaos our economy is in have been avoided if we also followed this rule? Or would we personally be better off if we tried to follow it in our daily lives? It would mean no credit cards, no mortgages, no investing in the stock market. Certainly some of us would be better off than we are now, but not all of us.

I don't have any answers here, just questions and thoughts. Let me know what you think of this, and what your life would look like if you decided to follow this rule.