Editorials by Robert Kirwan

How A Pickle Changed An Entire Community…. 
   One of the most important lessons we learn in life is usually due to problems we’ve encountered because we’ve failed to adhere to the following very simple, basic rule. “If You Want To Accomplish Anything, You Must Pay Attention To The Little Details.”
   Unfortunately, members of the human race are slow learners when it comes to incorporating this basic philosophy of life into our daily activities. Every single one of us has personally experienced numerous examples of how overlooking a simple little detail has produced negative results. Moreover, it seems as if the faster the pace of life, the more careless we become and the little things get missed or overlooked even more often.
   On the other hand, we all know many people who are experts at paying attention to detail. Those are individuals who stand out in our mind precisely because of the little things they do that make all the difference in the world.
   For example, I will never forget the day that Val Mazzuca and I took Michael Hart, President and CEO of Hart Stores Inc. on his first tour of
Valley East and Capreol. We were trying to convince him and two of his executive officers that the Hanmer Valley Shopping Centre would be a good place to establish his next Hart Department Store. We had been told that Mr. Hart had a reputation for being very particular about where to locate a new store, so this was an important opportunity for us to show him the area and let him see for himself that the market was a good one for a Hart Store.
   We picked Mr. Hart and his executives up at the airport in Mr. Mazzuca’s white Cadillac and then drove them around so that they could see the growth potential of the area and give them a feel for the community. I drove the car so that Mr. Mazzuca could be free to talk to the representatives. He explained how he ran the shopping centre and what they could expect if they decided to locate in his mall.
   We then took them to the Hanmer Valley Shopping Centre. After we parked the car, the five of us started to walk up to the entrance by Desjardins’ Food Basics. It was a hot day in July but we were all in suits and sport jackets. As we approached the doors, without so much as interrupting the conversation or missing a step, Val Mazzuca walked slightly to his left, bent down and picked up a pickle that lay on the sidewalk. He then continued to carry it another few feet and put it in a garbage container as we walked on towards the entrance. We continued into the mall where we did a complete tour before eating lunch and taking the Hart entourage back to the airport.
   As we were finishing our lunch, Michael Hart informed us that he had indeed made up his mind to open his next store in the Hanmer Valley Shopping Centre. All we had to do was work out the final details. The discussion that followed that announcement will remain forever etched in my mind.
   Mr. Hart, who had opened up some 69 previous stores, told us that the one thing that convinced him more than anything else was seeing the owner of the shopping center taking the time to bend down and pick up a pickle that had fallen on the ground. He looked directly at Val Mazzuca and said, “You kept telling me before I came that the mall was so clean I could walk around in my slippers, but when I saw how proud you were about the condition of your mall that you didn’t care if you were dressed in suit; you didn’t care if you were the owner of the mall; you didn’t even care if you were talking to me. What you cared about was that there was a pickle that needed to be picked up and thrown in the garbage. And it was not beneath you to take care of it yourself. That convinced me that you were not all talk. That you are a man of your word.”
   And so, the community of
Valley East will be forever changed now that we have a first class department store like Hart, all because of a pickle. See how important it is to pay attention to detail?
   This is a lesson that all people, young and old, should heed and adopt as part of their regular life-style. It is the little things that will make or break you in this life. I once had two young ladies come to me for a job interview. They were both equally qualified, so the interview would be the deciding factor. When the first lady came in, she saw a picture of a little baby on my desk and commented, “Is that ever a lovely baby. Is she your daughter?” I thanked her for her compliments, both on the baby and on my age, as I explained that this was my granddaughter. The other girl came in for her interview and also commented on the picture. “Is that ever a lovely baby. Is she your granddaughter?” I thanked her for her comment and finished the interview.
   Later on, when it came time to choose which one to hire, everything was equal except for one small item. One lady had called me an old man, and the other had indirectly commented on my youthful appearance by asking if the baby in the photo was my child. Guess which one I hired?
   The next time you are involved in any kind of project or task, or if you are at work or at school, just keep in mind that no detail is so minor that it can be overlooked. If you pay attention to the little details, the big ones will take care of themselves. And when it comes to dealing with people, it’s the little things that count, every single time.
   Have a good week!

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Valley East Today is published by
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