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Economic Development is . . . (increasing the flow) of capital through the community and reducing its leakage.

Listerine Lady

The staff at a local retirement home were left scratching their heads when one of their residents spent three straight days constantly gargling with Listerine mouthwash. No matter what they did they could not get her to stop. They asked her why she kept doing it, but all she would say was that something disgusting had happened at the post-office. After doing some investigation – they found out what actually occurred.

The lady, who rarely ventured out, had visited the post office earlier in the day to mail a letter. She bought a stamp, and since there was a long line behind her she stepped aside letting others in line conduct their business. After placing her change in her purse, she then attempted to lick the stamp and put it on her letter. Despite pressing and thumping and licking it several times, the stamp failed to stick. She then asked the clerk “Excuse me, this stamp won’t stick.” To which the busy clerk replied, “You need to peel the paper off the back.” The lady then put on her glasses, fiddled for a few seconds to peel off the backing paper – and then licked the stamp again. “It still won’t stick,” interrupted the lady again, this time her frustration started to boil to the surface.

“It’s a self-stick stamp,” said the assistant. “Well this one isn’t sticking at all – there’s something wrong with it,” demanded the old lady. “Well it won’t stick now because you’ve licked it.” “I’m totally confused now,” said the lady. “Just give it here and I’ll post it for you,” said the clerk, and doing her best to explain continued, “These new stamps don’t need licking. They are self-sticking. They save time. They are already sticky.” The lady continued to look blankly at the clerk. “Look,” said the well-meaning but desperate post-office clerk, “Just imagine that someone has already licked these stamps…” Which sent the lady wide-eyed scurrying out of the door and across the street to the local drug store where she purchased a large bottle of Listerine mouthwash.

I believe we can all learn a lot from the “Listerine Lady”, no I am not talking specifically about stamps – have you ever stopped to think about some of the new innovations that you have not taken the time to learn about? For example today’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest are all new technologies that some of us have scoffed at as silly, as a big waste of time. Well scoff all you want, but I can assure that the way we communicate, we are not going back to the “Pony Express” any time soon. In order for Tama County to grow we ALL need to keep up with what is new. We don’t want to be the County left behind gargling with Listerine.

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