Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Different value systems

What would you say if somebody you see every day does not honour a commitment he has made to you? A friend of mine runs a cafe in a popular shopping center. He has a certain customer who comes in every day for coffee, all by himself. This has been going on for about a year now. My friend sometimes chats with this guy; let's call him Ernie. Ernie claims to operate a car workshop. Recently my friend decided to engage him to do a bumper repair job. Being a trusting person, my friend immediately paid Ernie for the bumper, and expected to pay him the remaining upon completion, even though one does not usually pay anything up front for such a job. For what usually takes less than three days, it has been at least three weeks now since Ernie took the money. Till now my friend does not even know when the bumper is going to get fixed. Ernie still comes to the cafe for his usual coffee and he seems the least perturbed by my friend's constant querying. I cannot understand a person like Ernie. He does not seem to have a conscience. He does not feel a sense of responsibility towards my poor friend after accepting the part payment.

I said to my friend that Ernie just has a different value system. My friend disagrees. He says if the table were turned around, he is sure Ernie would feel equally mad. This is where my friend got it wrong. My friend's value system is: don't do to others what you don't want others to do to you. Ernie's value system is: "what's YOUR problem, mate?" Pray that you do not meet many Ernies in your life because it is exasperating; you simply cannot deal with people who cannot make a commitment and keep it. Ernie just keeps giving my friend a new excuse each time he fails to keep his last promise... and then goes on to make a new one.

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