Tuesday, January 18, 2011

It's all in the details

Everyone has their peculiarities, myself included. We all have a certain way we want things done. It is to some extent a measure of our personalities. As a manager one of my tasks is to get everyone on the same page. In this case, too many cooks does spoil the soup. But, as is often the case some details are extraneous.

In some professions only a certain tool will work. It's best to use the correct tool for the job. A number two phillips head will work for the majority of phillips screws but sometimes you need a number one. Why? It's the proper tool so you don't strip out the head. (Somehow this is starting to sound like bathroom jokes). Many times I don't have a large list for gifts as I am fairly finicky on a certain number of things. However, my finicky list is short as I have always been able to 'MacGyver' my way through things. Most times I can settle for something just because it's not that big of a deal.

Then there was this woman. I happened across her in my store and offered assistance. She smiled slightly and began asking me about paperclips. Ok...we have this size which is a standard and the jumbo clips. "What size is this?" "It's a number one." "Do you have a number two?"
"No, we have a number one and jumbo." "How big is this?" (I pointed to a clear package). "Do you have a sample?" "Umm, no." "What color is this?" "It's silver." "What color silver?" (Steam ready to come out of my ears.) "Silver." She paused. "Is it shiny or dull." "I don't know. I can open the package for you." "That's OK, I'll just keep looking."

At some point in life many people just make it too hard on themselves and are their own worst enemy. I find it hard to believe this woman's choice of paperclips would have any relevance in what happens either in her office or her home. I understand people like the same 'thing' every time because that is what they are used to. But in most cases you have raised your level of stress and those around you for something that is totally meaningless.

Life is too short to worry about minute details that have no leverage in the real world. It's a paperclip lady, move on.


  1. Butterfly effect...maybe her paperclip purchase will change the world!! At least in her mind!

  2. Methinks she is unable to make up her mind. I wonder how long it took her to decide between Stapes and The Max?

    Back in the day when our department processed millions (literally) of checks and forms each year, numerous people got into the habit of "collecting" the colored paper clips that arrived attached to the documents in the mail. They would put them in a drawer, never to be used for their intended purpose. The drawers would fill up with unused paper clips these people were "saving"; what they were saving them for is a mystery.