Family, friends and strangers I appreciate any comments or reactions you may have upon reading my blogs. A college friend, Rich Salandrea, wrote the following comment to my last blog, A Negative Universe:
There’s a New England based small supermarket chain, family-owned, with quite reasonable prices for these times as well as for several decades.
I’ve shopped at at least three, and at one of them I usually encounter the friendliest customers and workers.
At the others the customers and workers are usually far less positive in random encounters while shopping. While I once considered that poverty was a significant factor in negativity, the friendliest market is in fact in a demographic with a low-income population.
Interesting how friendly interaction makes life more positive.
His remark reminded me of an experience I had when I was about 18 years old. I had a few weeks off after completing my first year at college until I was to start a job as a camp counselor. Mike, a friend of my older brother, Benjy, had asked me if I would deliver the goods he had sold as a Fuller-Brush salesman to a neighborhood community, Hillside, not far from Elizabeth, New Jersey, where I was raised Because I had about month free time and, as it involved only two or three weekends of work, I readily accepted. Besides, because I had not been driving for that long a time, l thought it would offer me a certain amount of independence, being on my own in addition to earning some spare money before heading off to my camp job.
The details of the job were fairly straightforward: I would deliver whatever accessories the family had ordered from Mike and collect the money. He would pay me a percentage of the money, perhaps 10 or 20% of the gross amount of the sales that came to a pretty good sum, especially, for someone my age. When I inquired what to do if a family member no longer desired the item they had selected from him, Mike told me not to force them to take it but did remind me that my pay from him was determined by the amount of money collected. So, of course, he encouraged me to complete the sale by delivering the merchandise.
GPS obviously did not exist when I went on this mission back in the early ‘60’s. But street maps were available and upon reviewing the best route to take, and, subsequently, loading my car with the fuller-brush paraphernalia, I was on my way.
I learned a life lesson when I discovered that done deals are not done until the money is in hand. A number of the homes I visited either had changed their mind about the purchase, some acting as if they almost had forgotten, and others dissatisfied with what they had ordered. But what most stands out in my mind was the way people behaved toward me. It was evident how affluent the families were simply from looking at the homes and the surrounding environs. In general, the people from poorer neighborhoods treated me kindlier and complained less about what I had delivered to them. My sense was that they admired the fact that. though I was young, I appeared motivated to work at a low-level job to better myself.
Whereas families that had much wealth frequently acted curt with me, those of lesser means actually would at times invite me in for a drink. I do not mean to infer from both Rich and my experiences that poor people are kinder than rich people. That would be an unfair generalization. However, our mutual experience indicated that one’s social economic status has little effect on one’s negativity or friendliness. I would be interested in hearing what you, my readers, have observed in others regarding the notion of negativity.