This blog will follow a pattern of many future meditation articles. This article will not have any thing to do with the process of meditation. As you know, despite all the benefits of meditation, it is not done by the majority of North Americans. What I hope to show, is some of the things that can happen, because of a lack of meditation. The world has a wide diversity of people, views, and attitudes. There seems to be very little common ground, for the world inhabitants. But there is one thing that almost everybody seems to do, and that is to consume. We are called consumers. There are magazines, Consumer Reports and Consumer Digest, which will make you a smarter consumer. There are people and companies that provide these goods and services, that we consume. Naturally I am a consumer, just about everybody is. I have also been a provider of goods and services for around 44 years. I have owned and run a business for about 28 years, and I have worked for various companies and institutions for the other 16 years. So lets look at these two factions of people, and see how they compare. Remember, some people do both, and some are just consumers ,depending what their job may be.
The consumer wants to get quality goods, and quality service at a good price. Most consumers will do research to get that result. They may make dozens of phone calls, and solicit many opinions from friends and relatives, before making a decision. Obviously, some consumer decisions are bigger and more important than others. I am not going to consider purchasing a home because that can be a life decision with many factors involved. The next biggest consumer decision is purchasing a car. We all want to get a good deal, because this will be our most costly decision, except for buying a house. Next, will be furnishing and maintenance of your house and car. Then, there are the more every day consumer decisions, of where and what to eat, movie to go see, sporting event to go to, clothes to wear, etc. etc. In all of these situations the consumer just wants to be treated fairly and with respect. Some may want more than that, but most people know that every body has to make a living, and there is going to be a cost involved in any purchase or endeavor. They want the provider to be a least polite, respectful, and listen to their questions and concerns. They want the provider to be knowledgeable and have their best interest in mind, beside trying to make a profit.
Now we come to the provider. Remember all providers are consumers, but not all consumers are providers, and that could be the first problem, but I don’t think so. What is the big problem with providers? Once they become the provider, they seem to forget what it’s like to be a consumer, even when they just stopped to get coffee on the way to work. Watching other management teams work I see two major flaws. One, they make no efforts to cut costs. I mean absolutely none. I guess they try to make up for this by paying low wages, another major flaw. I was in a business that provided both goods and services. I made sure that the goods I acquired to sell were at the best price I could get them. This took time and effort. I have never seen another management team do that. It was a top priority in the business I owned, to keep costs down. I paid my employees well, and they in returned provided good service. Other companies I worked, paid low wages and had very high turnover rates, and basically poor service. It still boils down to the provider forgetting, that once he closes his doors he will become a consumer, again. It is that inability to put oneself in the other persons shoes just for a little while, that seems to be at the heart of the problem. I know that seems to an overly simple view of the subject, but sometimes the solution to a problem can be that simple. If we can get in the consumer mode, when we are providing a good or service, then the interaction should be much more satisfying for both parties. Just imagine that we are buying this service from our selves. Could it be that easy? My answer is a resounding yes. Could meditation help us to see what the other person is going through, and experiencing. Another resounding yes. Can the same thing be said in reverse. Yes, maybe, sort of. As a consumer you can try and put yourself in the provider shoes and realize that the person does have to make a living, but if you are unhappy in the least with the goods or services, then just move away and move on. In every situation, there are more choices to made in consumerville. Don’t be lazy, go make them. Don’t be that over demanding consumer, who wants something for nothing. It is a two way street. Try meditation, and see if it doesn’t make you a better provider, and a better consumer.