Seize the Opportunity!

When one of us turned over in bed, the other woke up searching frantically for the earthquake survival kit. If one ventured to the middle of the bed, the other came rolling in at 120 miles per hour – the mattress sagged. So we decided to replace the 8-year-old mattress that we bought from a shyster salesman in a local furniture store. This morning we skipped down to a department store where the salesman studiously ignored us and talked with his friend while we waddled between the bewildering arrays of mattresses. Eventually, I had to scold the middle-aged loser with chestnut brown dyed hair and the requisite box of cigarettes jammed into his top pocket. An addict, to boot.

After he recovered his well-earned tongue-lashing, he proceeded to follow us around and offer the odd piece of information, eager to take an order. We found a mattress that appealed to us, priced at $1,700. Then I spotted a wonderful mattress that actually molded itself to one’s body. $3,500. It did everything right. I loved it. Comfortable, excellent. The salesman seemed intimidated by this mattress and kept steering us back to the cheaper model. Instead of indicating that this far superior bed would cost a mere one dollar and one cent per night more than the inferior one over the next five years, that we certainly seemed to enjoy, afford and deserve the better things in life, that our quality of life would be significantly improved by a good night’s sleep and that he was even prepared to throw in a wonderful gift should we make the right decision, he seemed quite happy to have us consider the less expensive option. Perhaps that’s why he’s still selling furniture at that age, but I digress.

He then proceeded to tell us about all the extra charges – extra to deliver, extra for this and that… I decided it was time to leave before I got nasty. So off we pottered to Sleep Country Canada. Here, the salesman, Sumit, an immigrant, was attentive, knowledgeable, well trained, patient, confident and genuinely interested in giving us exactly what we needed and wanted. He gave us a good discount, did everything right, and had no hidden extras up his sleeve. We bought the mattress and it’s being delivered Monday.

I know that furniture salespeople work on commission because I sold furniture myself at one stage of my life. The salesman who sold us the mattress eight years ago as new immigrants never got any more business from us. In fact, we would never buy at that store again. The second salesman lost out on a $3,500 sale that he could very easily have made. The third one, Sumit, will be the man I refer everyone to in future. Now let’s imagine these three salespeople gather for a drink after work. The first one and the second one will complain that people just don’t have money to spend, that they can’t afford the expensive mattresses, that their commissions are too small (shades of Glengarry Glenross) and that they don’t have enough customers to sell to with all the competition out there. They will blame everyone from George W. Bush to their boss and the government. I think Sumit will simply laugh and say, “Hey, business is great! What’s the problem?” We create our own circumstances.

Seize the opportunity. Go for the gold. Expect to succeed. Set high goals. Make it happen. Take responsibility. Focus. “You have not, because you ask not”. Be conscious of abundance. The world is your oyster. Don’t miss out on the wonderful opportunities that surround you.

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