Honesty of Businessmen

"Lord, who may go and find refuge and shelter in Your tabernacle up on Your holy hill? Anyone who leads a blameless life and is truly sincere. Anyone who refuses to slander others, does not listen to gossip, never harms his neighbor, speaks out against sin, criticizes those committing it, commends the faithful followers of the Lord, keeps a promise even if it ruins him, does not crush his debtors with high interest rates, and refuses to testify against the innocent de- spite the bribes offered him--such a man shall stand firm forever" (Psalm 15, The Living Bible).

Is not your heart torn asunder, as mine is, with the revealing of the despicable deception of two most trusted and respected men, Bernard L. Madoff and Sir Robert Allen Stanford? Are there others? Surely they must be the most hated financial scoundrels in the world. My eyes really teared up as some of the victims were interviewed on TV.
The actions of Madoff and Stanford have been so depressing to everyone in the whole world, that I got a wonderful, warm, cozy feeling after reading this true story I'll share with you:

"When I was in college, I worked part-time at a sporting goods store. There was a kid who would come by two or three times a week to visit with this baseball mitt that he wanted to buy. My manager and I would joke about him not only because he was so dedicated and persistent, but also because he had picked the best and most expensive mitt in the shop to get obsessed about. This went on for months. The kid would come in, and you could tell he was so relieved that the mitt was still there. He would put it on, pound his fist into the pocket a couple of times, and then very carefully put it back onto the shelf and leave. Finally, one day he came in with a shoe box and a smile about eight miles wide and announced that he wanted to buy the mitt. So the manager brought the mitt over to the cash register while the kid counted out a shoe box worth of nickels, quarters, and dimes. His stash came to exactly $19.98. The mitt cost $79.98, not including tax. My manager looked at the price tag, and sure enough the 7 was a little smudged, enough that a desperately hopeful seven-year-old could imagine it to be a 1. Then he looked at me, smiled, and very carefully recounted. 'Yep, exactly $19.98.' Wrapping up the mitt, he gave it to the boy" (Random Acts Of Kindness).

Shall we make a new rule: always try to be a little kinder than is necessary. I was trying to think of questionable business dealings I've had just these past two months. I just returned home from Luby's. They've had a special on Lu Ann Platter for $4.00 every Friday and Saturday in February after 4:30. Since I don't cook at home just for me, I readily took advantage of this. Salads were 3 for $5.99 and 4 for $7.99. I'd take 4 salads home to eat with sandwiches later. The fresh fruit and congealed salad were like desserts. The Luby's Special is over, but the salad prices were still hanging on an overhead sign. When the cashier charged $6.69 for three salads and $2.99 for the fourth, I questioned the pricing. She referred me to the manager. One of the salads I chose is now called an "appetizer plate" and is $2.99. He spoke in such foreign brogue, it was difficult to understand him. At my suggestion, he followed me to the salad bar where he pointed to a menu on the wall: "3 salads, $6.69". Who would read that? I showed him the sign over the salad bar listing 3 salads for $5.99. I said, "I can pay for the food I choose. I just don't like to be surprised at the cash register and be charged $1.70 more than I was expecting." He said, "We forgot to change the sign! Will you be back tomorrow? I'll give you a free salad of your choice. I'll get the sign changed right now." I wonder how many people didn't know the price changes.

Mills Bible Store on 34th Street is going of business. Everything in the store is now $50% off. It was 20% when they first advertised. I went there immediately. All Christmas stuff was 70% off. There was a small display rack of "Pass It On" cards. They are the size of business cards with an inspirational message or Bible Scripture and a pretty picture. I used to buy them by the 100's to enclose with greeting cards, and was given a discount. But they kept going up in price. I quit buying them. I counted out 50 cards as a measure, eye-balled the remaining; looked like 500, which I could put in my December 2009 "Happenings." I asked the store manager, "How much for ALL of these cards?"

He said, "They are 17 cents each, less 70%. I'll take them in the back and count them, and let you know." A lady standing beside me, asked if I was going to take ALL of them. She said she needed 75. I told her she could have all over 500. The manager counted 545, and wrapped a rubber band around them in groups of 50. I gave her 50. She was ecstatic, having found 30 in another place in the store. I made a lot of other purchases -- two shopping bags full! That night, as I emptied the sacks, I checked items off my bill. The cashier charged me for 595 cards instead of 495! She had a problem with the computer and had to enter each 50-count bundle of cards.

The next morning, I was at Mills Bible Store talking to the manager; jogging his memory of counting out the 545 cards and witnessing my giving 50 to another customer. He agreed and told the cashier to give me the credit, which was used up in more purchases!

I finished my breakfast at I-Hop. I handed the cashier a hundred-dollar-bill to pay my fare. She said, "I'll have to get change" and left the room. I panicked. What if she brought back change for $50! What if she declared I gave her a fifty-dollar-bill? She did give me the correct amount. I have reason to fear every time, lately, when I give cash to a cashier…because…

I have a very special friend whom I have known a long, long time. She became a Christian in her teens, and has served the Lord faithfully ever since. I know beyond a doubt the stars in her crown will outshine mine 100 to 1. Her husband became a deacon and they were very active in church business. She is a widow now, and like all of us, we are well aware of our finances, and spend our money very carefully. She called me on the telephone, and during our conversation, she said, "You'll never guess what happened to me! I had a two-dollars-off coupon at my neighborhood Hallmark Store, and this was the last day to use it. I needed to buy a birthday present. I checked my billfold before I left home: One ten and one twenty-dollar-bill;
just those two only. I found a perfect gift, and with my coupon, I only needed $11.43. I said to the cashier, "I have 43 cents" and gave it to her with my twenty-dollar bill. She was having trouble closing the cash register, so she punched in 'one dollar', and the drawer closed; handed me the gift. I asked, "Where is my change? I gave you twenty dollars."
"No! You gave me a ten," the clerk replied. I opened my billfold and said, "I only had one ten and one twenty when I left home. Here's my ten. I KNOW what I had in my billfold."
"You must have stopped someplace else before coming here."
"This is my only errand today…to use my coupon. I gave you my twenty and the change. My bill was eleven dollars. If I gave you a ten, I'd owe you another dollar."
"You DID give me a dollar with your ten," she argued. Another woman came over and heard both our stories. She said, "We have someone that checks the register with the money every morning. Call us, and we'll let you know how it came out." Of course, my friend was told that everything checked out. She said, "I was so upset for THREE days, I couldn't sleep or think of anything else but that the cashier stole my $9.00; or the person checking the register did -- probably keeps all the overages from the cash register. They stole my $9.00. There was nothing I could do about it. It was my word against hers." I have never heard of a happening like this.

Now, I couldn't sleep for three days! How dare those people think my friend was a lying thief! I could get a petition with a thousand signatures attesting to her honesty. I called her a few days later and asked if she did anything about the Hallmark Store. "No! What could I do?" We both admitted being leery about approaching a cashier. I asked if I could write about it. She said, "What good would that do?" "It would put a lot of people on guard to announce their pay- ments: 'Take it out of this TWENTY!' I think that cashier was afraid of losing her job. She had to present herself as being perfect. I just hate that this happened to you." I even suggested writing Hallmark headquarters. My friend said, "Just forget it." Is this "turning the other cheek?"
In Matthew 5:38,39, Jesus said, "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: (law of Moses, Exodus 21:24) But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." Madoff? Stanford?
"Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, saith the Lord" (Romans 12:19; Deuteronomy 32:35).

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