Monday, 26 August 2013

The Road Behind

Last week I visited some stores in the Vancouver area.  One of the malls I visited was Lougheed Mall in Burnaby, BC.  I expected a degree of nostalgia.  You see, for a few very important months of my life in 1988-89 I worked there for Mappins Jewellers.  It was during that time that a friend of mine told me about a cousin who worked at the same mall.  I ventured downstairs to the Cotton Ginny to introduce myself to her one day.  A few days later in front of Mappin’s Sandicast display on December 2nd, 1988, I asked Jana out on our first date.  I couldn’t wait for my shift to end.  After Christmas, the hours from Mappins weren’t quite so abundant and a friend recruited me to come work for him.  I returned to Lougheed Mall frequently over the following months to visit Jana, and buy her treats from the Cookies by George kiosk.

Fast-forward 25 years.  Mappins is gone from the mall, and I couldn’t really tell which clothing shop is in it’s place.  O.B. Allen and Ben Moss are gone.  Cookies by George moved and Cotton Ginny is gone.  The parking lot has been reconfigured and built-up so I couldn’t even envision where I used to park.  Businesses come and go but the people and experiences live-on.  I met my life-partner in that mall.  I remember Dwight, Tom, Irena, Demetre & Kelly with whom I worked, and I’ve seen and heard-tell that some are still in the jewellery business.

No trace of that store remains, but the impact of the people I worked with is an inescapable part of me.  I witnessed some very effective sales-people, and caught invaluable sales techniques.  I learned that individual commissions can lead to conflict and resentment.  I came to understand that chain-stores would never suit me quite right.  Even though I was low-man on a pretty high totem pole, I resented the cutting of my hours and it drove me to prove to them that they overlooked a “diamond in the rough.”

It makes me pause to take stock of where I’m at today.  If my future-life unfolds in unexpected directions, what will I take away from working with Steve, Lilian, the amazing retailers (some of whom will remain friends forever,) and from my valued industry colleagues?  Take a moment to thank God, or fate or the universe for the people around you who contribute to your success, to your character and who you’ll take with you as the years march on.  Better yet, find a way to thank them for being part of your life today!

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