Editorials by Robert Kirwan
A Pickle Changed An Entire Community….
of the most important lessons we learn in life is usually due to problems
we’ve encountered because we’ve failed to adhere to the following very
simple, basic rule. “If You Want To Accomplish Anything, You Must Pay
Attention To The Little Details.”
of the human race are slow learners when it comes to incorporating this
basic philosophy of life into our daily activities. Every single one of us
has personally experienced numerous examples of how overlooking a simple
little detail has produced negative results. Moreover, it seems as if the
faster the pace of life, the more careless we become and the little things
get missed or overlooked even more often.
On the other hand, we
all know many people who are experts at paying attention to detail. Those
are individuals who stand out in our mind precisely because of the little
things they do that make all the difference in the world.
For example, I will
never forget the day that Val Mazzuca and I took Michael Hart, President
and CEO of Hart Stores Inc. on his first tour of
Capreol. We were trying to convince him and two of his executive officers
that the Hanmer Valley Shopping Centre would be a good place to establish
his next Hart Department Store. We had been told that Mr. Hart had a
reputation for being very particular about where to locate a new store, so
this was an important opportunity for us to show him the area and let him
see for himself that the market was a good one for a Hart Store.
We picked Mr. Hart and
his executives up at the airport in Mr. Mazzuca’s white Cadillac and
then drove them around so that they could see the growth potential of the
area and give them a feel for the community. I drove the car so that Mr.
Mazzuca could be free to talk to the representatives. He explained how he
ran the shopping centre and what they could expect if they decided to
locate in his mall.
We then took them to
the Hanmer Valley Shopping Centre. After we parked the car, the five of us
started to walk up to the entrance by Desjardins’ Food Basics. It was a
hot day in July but we were all in suits and sport jackets. As we
approached the doors, without so much as interrupting the conversation or
missing a step, Val Mazzuca walked slightly to his left, bent down and
picked up a pickle that lay on the sidewalk. He then continued to carry it
another few feet and put it in a garbage container as we walked on towards
the entrance. We continued into the mall where we did a complete tour
before eating lunch and taking the Hart entourage back to the airport.
As we were finishing
our lunch, Michael Hart informed us that he had indeed made up his mind to
open his next store in the Hanmer Valley Shopping Centre. All we had to do
was work out the final details. The discussion that followed that
announcement will remain forever etched in my mind.
Mr. Hart, who had
opened up some 69 previous stores, told us that the one thing that
convinced him more than anything else was seeing the owner of the shopping
center taking the time to bend down and pick up a pickle that had fallen
on the ground. He looked directly at Val Mazzuca and said, “You kept
telling me before I came that the mall was so clean I could walk around in
my slippers, but when I saw how proud you were about the condition of your
mall that you didn’t care if you were dressed in suit; you didn’t care
if you were the owner of the mall; you didn’t even care if you were
talking to me. What you cared about was that there was a pickle that
needed to be picked up and thrown in the garbage. And it was not beneath
you to take care of it yourself. That convinced me that you were not all
talk. That you are a man of your word.”
And so, the community
will be forever changed now that we have a first class department store
like Hart, all because of a pickle. See how important it is to pay
attention to detail?
This is a lesson that
all people, young and old, should heed and adopt as part of their regular
life-style. It is the little things that will make or break you in this
life. I once had two young ladies come to me for a job interview. They
were both equally qualified, so the interview would be the deciding
factor. When the first lady came in, she saw a picture of a little baby on
my desk and commented, “Is that ever a lovely baby. Is she your
daughter?” I thanked her for her compliments, both on the baby and on my
age, as I explained that this was my granddaughter. The other girl came in
for her interview and also commented on the picture. “Is that ever a
lovely baby. Is she your granddaughter?” I thanked her for her comment
and finished the interview.
Later on, when it came
time to choose which one to hire, everything was equal except for one
small item. One lady had called me an old man, and the other had
indirectly commented on my youthful appearance by asking if the baby in
the photo was my child. Guess which one I hired?
The next time you are
involved in any kind of project or task, or if you are at work or at
school, just keep in mind that no detail is so minor that it can be
overlooked. If you pay attention to the little details, the big ones will
take care of themselves. And when it comes to dealing with people, it’s
the little things that count, every single time.
Have a good week!