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Friday, August 9, 2013

BEING PUT ON "THE LIST"

BRYCE ON TOLERANCE

- "Put him in me book!"

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During the 1952 classic movie, "The Quiet Man" (starring John Wayne), the antagonist is played by Victor McLaglen as Squire "Red" Will Danaher, a boisterous Irishman who tries to intimidate people through his physical presence. If you crossed him, you were placed on his "List," which was maintained in a little black book by his assistant. If someone was placed on "The List" the Squire would not socialize or do business with that person until, through some miraculous stroke of fate, the person redeemed himself. I think we all have some sort of list we maintain. I know I do.

There are unscrupulous people I simply do not want anything to do with, not even to shake their hand. If I know someone has committed some indiscretion or injustice, be it to myself or someone else I respect, I put them on "The List." Translation: I want nothing to do with them. As for me, I have come across such people not only in business but also in the various organizations I belong to. Frankly, I have no time for someone who wishes to undermine people for political gamesmanship, or to line their pockets through treachery.

I know of a person who was unfairly suspended by a fraternal order even after 50 years of service. He was a person I held in high regard. He may have been prone to coarse language now and then, but he was a good person and you could take his word to the bank. Unfortunately, there was a rush to judgment by the powers of the order and he was never allowed to defend himself of the suspicious charges. Other members of the order wouldn't come to his defense as they were in fear of being penalized themselves. Cowards. Consequently, he was suspended indefinitely. There are a lot of people in that order I have put on my list, and will not shake their hand. That was five years ago. Some people have said to me, "Tim, why don't you just let it go? This cannot go on forever." I replied, "What if that had been you? Would you have wanted me to just let it go?" They looked back at me blankly.

Shaking of a person's hand is very symbolic. It means you like them and trust their judgement to do the right thing. Not shaking someone's hand may seem innocuous, but try it sometime. By not shaking the person's hand you are are saying, "I do not trust you as a person; you are on The List."

For some reason, I have several restaurants on my list, a few with prominent national names. A couple of them are highbrow, some are franchises, and others are just simple restaurants. I placed them on my "List" either because the food or service was bad (or both), or there was some other faux pas made, such as an obnoxious hostess, waiter, or manager. I would give you the names of the restaurants in question, but that is immaterial at this time. Suffice it to say, they did something which earned them a prominent spot on my list. Some people suggest I am being too stubborn, that I should give them another chance. I tried this a couple of times and lived to regret it. They were still screw-ups and I regretted revisiting their establishment. Consequently, once they had been rightfully placed on my "List," they stay there until such time as an act of God occurs, which is usually never.

Maybe we're too tolerant and forgiving of an injustice. People seem to "forgive and forget" too easily. I believe this to be a serious flaw in the American character. I'm not sure everyone should maintain a "List," but I would certainly like to see people develop a better memory of indiscretions. Maybe we wouldn't repeat the same mistakes so often if we did.

Keep the Faith!

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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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