A man is in bed with his wife when there is a rat-a-tat-tat on the door. He rolls over and looks at his clock, and it is half past three in the morning. “I’m not getting out of bed at this time,” he thinks, and rolls over. Then, a louder knock follows.
“Aren’t you going to answer that?” says his wife. So he drags himself out of bed and goes downstairs. He opens the door and there is a man standing at the door. It didn’t take the homeowner long to realize the man had been drinking.
“Hi there,” slurs the stranger. “Can you give me a push?” “No I can’t. It’s half past three. I was in bed,” says the man and slams the door. He goes back up to bed and tells his wife what happened and she says, “Pete, that wasn’t very nice of you. Remember that night we broke down in the pouring rain on the way to pick the kids up from the baby sitter and you had to knock on that man’s house to get us started again? What would have happened if he’d told us to get lost?”
“But when it happened to me I hadn’t been drinking,” says the husband.
“It doesn’t matter,” says the wife. “He needs our help and it would be the right thing to help him.” So the husband gets out of bed again, gets dressed and goes downstairs. He opens the door, and not being able to see the stranger anywhere he shouts, “Hey, do you still want a push?” And he hears a voice cry out, “Yeah, that would be great.”
So, still being unable to see the stranger he shouts, “Where are you?” And the stranger replies, “I’m over here, on your swing.”
In our story getting things out of context (or reversed) proves to gets us in trouble. It makes me think of the phrase I heard from my Grandma Norma “mind your Ps and Qs” (younger readers might never have heard this before). I did some research on this phrase and some say that it originated from early printing presses. Where printers placed individual letters on a frame to print a page of text, and when the letters were reversed, it made it easy to mistake lowercase ps and qs in setting the type. Back then the type layers were fined for every spelling mistake, so minding your Ps and Qs was a way to show of the financial importance of accuracy.
Minding our Ps and Qs in business is extremely important as well. It expresses clearly the idea that whatever you do, you should do it with a keen attention to getting the details correct. Great businesses all know that it is the customer that is the ultimate judge and jury of their success. Customers are paying for a product or service and they deserve all the details to be in order. As we build our economy here in Tama County all of us need to mind our Ps and Qs for if we don’t, trust me, customers will leave and knock on someone else’s door.