Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Taking the High Road, or Being a Push Over

I'm wrestling today with a question I often struggle with - am I taking the high road, or am I being a push over?

A number of non-profits in town got an email a couple of days ago that a business was donating some furniture, and a list of what was available. I called late yesterday and said I'd like to have chairs and bookcases that were not spoken for. They said great. Today they said four chairs were spoken for and I could have the rest. And that all three bookcases were available for me as well. Fabulous!

So, I loaded the van with the chairs I could take and left some there, as well as the bookcases to get on another trip. When I returned, another organization had taken one of the book cases, and had one of the remaining chairs sitting with their stuff.

So... now... what to do? The business is just doing something kind. I didn't want to make an issue and put them in a difficult position. And, for all I know, the woman who was just told by her boss on the phone that I was getting all the bookcases and all but four of the chairs, told the organization something different.

Maybe it was just all a big misunderstanding. Maybe the person in charge gave it to them even though it had been promised to me. Whatever, it just worked out the way it worked out. And I'm very thankful for the things I got. Veeeeery thankful.

Did I desperately need the things? No. But I did have a specific purpose for them or I wouldn't have asked for them and wouldn't have shown up to get them.

I think what really bugs me is that the only reason they even wanted more once they saw it was that this was really nice furniture. If it hadn't been nice stuff they wouldn't have bothered with it. But, since it was nice they suddenly wanted more than they had spoken for. If it had been the regular stuff - not top of the line - they wouldn't have wanted any more than they had asked for.

I finally just went in and asked which of their chairs they had loaded and which of what they had spoken for was still there because one of those was the one I couldn't take in my first trip and I wanted to get it now. When they had first arrived, there were two different kinds of chairs and I let them pick which they wanted, and took what was left. I was more than fair with them, but I guess they didn't feel a need to return the favor.

So, I took the chair - which I needed more than the bookcase, although it would have been awfully nice to have matching bookcases - and didn't make an issue of the bookcase. I wasn't going to make a scene about it and put the business person in an awkward position, although it may have been her mistake. Of course, if the other organization hadn't been so grabby because it was nicer stuff than anticipated it wouldn't have been an issue at all.

Did I take the high road? Or was I a push over? I don't know. I know I'm not going to behave that way myself. I was offered some tables that someone had asked for and I said, "that wasn't me who asked about them" because I didn't want to take someone else's things. I'm going to be grateful for the kindness extended to me and let this be a lesson for the future.

I'm a little sore. I loaded all of that by myself - someone held a door open for me twice - otherwise I did it all. I hauled chairs into my office on the second floor, and my van is full of more chairs and two bookcases. I'm soooooooo thankful to have it. It will make my life much easier at the office. But I'm going to suck down some ibuprofen before bed - just in case I feel the afternoon a bit more when I wake up than I do now. And maybe in my dreams I'll work out the answer to the question of was I taking the high road, or being a push over.


Anonymous said...

Hello Miss Patsy Terrell,

My opinion is that you handled this unfortunate situation very well. ...Sadly "they" wouldn't recognize themselves in your missive. ... They are likely members of the "new young adult generation" or "mean snobs". ...I respect how you have handled it all.

I so enjoy your blogs!! Discovered from your column in Country Living.


Patsy Terrell said...

THank you so much for your kind comments - and for reading along in Kansas Country Living. I've been doing that column for 13 years now - hard to belive.

So far the consensus has been that I took the high road. I'm never sure on such things. But I appreciate the input. Thanks... Patsy