Tuesday, May 12, 2009


On Sunday afternoon, I went to our local wholesale club. I needed to order a sheet cake for the celebration we are having Saturday for all our First Communicants. The boys and girls come back for 5PM Mass, father gives them a special blessing, and they receive a cross and their certificates. Because we have our First Communion celebrations in separate masses, it is a way for the entire parish family to celebrate with the children. Mass will be packed!

While I was at the wholesale club on Sunday, I picked up a few things for my family. The parish pays for my club membership. Ninety percent of the purchases I make are parish related, so the club card has a tax exempt feature. Sunday, I did not have any purchases for the parish so I told the cashier that the items were not tax exempt. He was training but I watched him push the button.

The cashier proceeded to ring up my items and then gave me the total. I wrote a check and when I received my receipt began to walk away. The cashier told me I needed to sign the tax exempt form. I reminded him that my order was NOT tax exempt and that I could not sign. He told the trainer that I did say at the start that the items were not tax exempt; and, that he pushed the button.

I told the trainer that I could not sign. That we would have to void the sale and begin again. That I must pay sales tax. The trainer called a manager over. The manager asked if it would be okay if he cancelled the two items that were taxable and ring them up separately. That sounded reasonable, until he told me to sign the tax exempt form!

I explained that I could not sign the tax exempt form because the purchases were not tax exempt...they were personal. He told me the only way to fix the problem was for me to sign the form. I refused. I told him that if I signed the form I would be signing my name to a lie...that my name is my bond...and I would not do that.

The manager became incensed at me. He told me the way to solve the problem was to sign. I told him that he would have to find another way...VOID the sale and begin again. He again told me to sign. Of course, by now the line behind me was very long. People were craning their necks to watch and listen to our exchange.

I told the manager that he was asking me to do something immoral by signing that form. He was incredulous. He told me it was not immoral to sign the form. He muttered something about sex having nothing to do with signing that form. I explained that saying my purchases were tax exempt, when in fact they were not, was lying; and, lying is a sin. That abusing the privilege I was given with that card by purchasing personal items and not paying tax, was a sin. And, that SIN IS IMMORAL.

The manager angrily pushed some buttons...gave me back the check I had given the cashier...and, angrily told me that I should tell them at work that they should take the exempt feature off my card! I explained that I mostly use the card for exempt purchases, and that NO they would not be taking that feature off the card. He stomped away in a fit of anger.

I feel very badly for him. He is still clueless that immorality is not limited to sexual improprieties but is sin in all it's varied forms.

As for the new cashier...after, my order was re-rung and a new check issued, I told him to remember me...that I was probably the only person he would ever meet in his new job that would insist he charge them MORE! And, that's really very sad!

I received the following e-mail this evening on this very topic. My question is simply this:


A successful businessman was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business. Instead of choosing one of his Directors or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives in his company together. He said, "It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you."

The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued. "I am going to give each one of you a SEED today - one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO."

One man, named Tom, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed. Everyday, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown.

After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Tom kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants, but Tom didn't have a plant and he felt like a failure.

Six months went by -- still nothing in Tom's pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Tom didn't say anything to his colleagues, however. He just kept watering and fertilizing the soil - he so wanted the seed to grow. A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection. Tom told his wife that he wasn't going to take an empty pot But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Tom felt sick to his stomach, it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right.

He took his empty pot to the board room. When Tom arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful -- in all shapes and sizes. Tom put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him!

When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives. Tom just tried to hide in the back. "My, what great plants, trees, and flowers you have grown," said the CEO. "Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!"

All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Tom at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to the front. Tom was terrified. He thought, "The CEO knows I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!"

When Tom got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed -Tom told him the story. The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Tom. He looked at Tom, and then announced to the young executives, "Behold your next Chief Executive Officer! His name is Tom!"

Tom couldn't believe it. Tom couldn't even grow his seed. "How could he be the new CEO?" the others said.

Then the CEO said, "One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead - it was not possible for them to grow. All of you, except Tom, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Tom was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!"

* If you plant honesty, you will reap trust.

* If you plant goodness, you will reap friends.

* If you plant humility, you will reap greatness.

* If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment.

* If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective.

* If you plant hard work, you will reap success.

* If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation.

* If you plant faith in God , you will reap a harvest.

What are you reaping, today?

What would you like to reap?

To get it what do you have to sow?



  1. Your example was a great witness. It's too bad the manager didn't take the time to realize that he was teaching his employee to be dishonest. So when the employee starts taking "little stuff" or keeping too much change, the manager is "reaping what he has sown.

    Whata shame.

  2. Excellent point! So many think nothing about the "little stuff" and before they know it...they're into "big stuff" and BIG problems!