Day 94: Items Purchased, 0 Temptation Radar: 0
It always bugs me when I get a sale flyer that contains the ultimate “hook”. You know it reads something like this…..
HUGE SALE! ONE DAY ONLY! SPRING EVENT! 75% off!
offer excludes: jewelry,bedding, boutique shoes, designer clothing, makeup,furniture,baby items,kitchen appliances….basically everything except towels and stuff we just can’t sell no matter how hard we try.
The overwhelming thought following my bite upon bait is, I’ve been hoodwinked once again. Why don’t the stores just say what they mean? Why must there always be a ‘but’? When a retailer offers me a deal, it’s usually accompanied by an enormous and ultimately painful caveat. Have we been conditioned to expect a perfectly wrapped package with content that never measures up?
Tonight, I overheard an interesting conversation in my home that reminded me of this very thing. My husband, sitting on the sofa next to our 3-year old daughter, looks at her and says “Olivia, give me your hand.” She glances over at him curiously, but with apparent trusting affection and stretches out her hand. He continues “I love you. You’re so beautiful. You’re my special little girl….” She, now looking puzzled and a bit suspicious, interrupts him bluntly, “BUT?”. We instantly stopped mid-conversation & looked at each other in complete shock.
How could Olivia, only 3 years old, have learned to expect an exception to the words of adoration her dad lavished upon her? It’s as though she anticipated a caveat; as if she believed her father would not say such things in full sincerity, without it costing her something.
We, also a bit saddened, repeated “BUT???? There is no but, Liv!” Truth is, there may have been one. I don’t really know. We’d had a rough day with the kids and their behavior. Society has done a great job training people to start with a positive or say something affirming before you bring correction. Yet, we really never consider that in the mind of an individual, positive attributes & accomplishments that should proudly stand alone, historically have been and will almost always be married to a shortcoming or a negative. Think about it. The reality of this echoes in many ways the same frustration I feel being hoodwinked at the “big sale”. The happiness I feel upon receiving word of a sale shifts to immediate deflation when I read the fine print. It’s a frustrating feeling. Tonight, I asked myself,
“Will my kids always wonder if fine print exclusions are associated with my praise?”
The reality of such a sobering question changed my response, and perhaps the way I will continue to respond. “We love you Olivia. We think you’re beautiful and bright-eyed. You light up the room and your heart is bigger than life. No Exceptions. No Exclusions.”