For Want of a Nail
For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.
Before last Saturday, if I’d rewritten this little piece of wisdom, I’d have entitled it,
For Want of a Battery
For want of a battery, the cordless phone was lost.
For want of a battery, the digital camera was lost.
And my watch? Well it was just lost.
All changed on Saturday.
We decided to venture over the Cascade mountains-a beautiful drive when the weather is cooperating-which it was, and visit my parents, who live in a more retail rich town than ours. We had not seen them since August, and we missed them. We also planned to go to a big box office supply store while we were there, hoping to find the batteries we needed. Shopping in our town had turned up nothing but blank stares, or well meaning clerks who disappeared mysteriously down “aisle 12” never to be seen again. Even internet searches proved to be fruitless.
The problem seemed to be that in the years since we acquired our phone and camera, time had marched on and left our makes and models in the dust. The exact batteries we needed were no longer made, as new products and new types of batteries came on the scene. We didn’t want to have to buy a new phone and camera. That just seemed wasteful, when the old were still perfectly good.
And then my parents said three little words.
The Battery Store.
Located conveniently at the end of their street, there was indeed a store devoted entirely to batteries. You name it, battery wise, and they had it.
In a matter of minutes, our helpful, and cheerful clerk found the batteries we needed, and also put a new battery in my long lost watch-the battery now dead. (I’d found my watch earlier in the day, in the bottom of the seldom used bag I brought along.) Our wonderful clerk even set my watch to the correct time too-she said she couldn’t send me out of the store wearing a watch that had the wrong time on it. She was courteous, competent, and very knowledgeable about batteries. And she really and truly seemed to enjoy her job.
The idea of selling batteries, and nothing but batteries, day in and day out, might seem about as interesting as watching the proverbial paint dry. It could make a person choose to be less than everything our clerk was, and if that is how our clerk felt, she was a darn good actress.
There is so much of our modern life now that depends on batteries. There is no question we need them, and businesses-and clerks-to sell them to us.
But even more importantly, what we really need, are more people like her.