Life coaching: A match made in K-mart

Nancy was moved by Sam's gentle aura, but she protected herself by repeating her favorite mantra: "Marriage is State-Sanctioned Slavery."

ben goldfarb 88 (photo credit: )
ben goldfarb 88
(photo credit: )
Sam was a disgruntled K-mart manager going through a mid-life crisis. Nancy was a feminist social worker who was unaware that the 60s were over. From their meeting at a modest bastion of retail America, they were destined to change their views on marriage and music. Nancy just finished shopping for the battered women at the halfway house where she volunteered. The women were comprised of drug addicts, teenage runaways, and shoplifters. The irony wasn't lost on her as the shoplifting alarm went off. She was escorted into the manager's office by Jon, the assistant manager. The alarm was ringing in her head like the cacophonous droning of a Country & Western singer who genetically mutated into a train whistle. Jon's dream was to be a policeman, but for some reason, the Police Academy kept refusing his application. Perhaps catching this shoplifter would be his lucky break to jump start his police training. Nancy was equipped with an internal guilt meter. When she tried to lie, she would start laughing and give herself away. Stealing wasn't part of her vocabulary. She was enjoying the adrenaline rush of being a shoplifting suspect and committed to savoring the experience. Sam was irritated when his cell phone went off. Fourth shoplifting of the day, he thought. When was he going to have time to micro-manage and intimidate his employees if he had to keep interrogating shoplifting suspects? Willie Nelson never had to put up with these things. His mood shifted dramatically when he saw Nancy. He absolutely, totally, and uncontrollably fell in love with this remnant of Haight-Ashbury. Nancy had fire in her eyes and humor in her soul. Perhaps he could break his vow of never marrying again. Nancy was moved by Sam's gentle aura, but she protected herself by repeating her favorite mantra: "Marriage is State-Sanctioned Slavery." "Hi, I'm Sam, the manager. I understand there's some kind of problem here," Sam started. "I'm Nancy. There's no problem at all. I was just curious what a K-mart manager's office looks like. Your assistant manager was kind enough to let my dream come true," Nancy said. Sam smiled, but Jon kept his G.I. Joe vigilance. "Should I call the police, boss?" Jon asked. "Jon, chill out. You know our machine malfunctions occasionally," Sam said. "Yeah, but not this time. I found the stolen goods in her purse," Jon said, proud of his due diligence. Jon put the "evidence" on Sam's desk. The bag was filled with men's items that a feminist wouldn't dream of purchasing for either gender. Sam and Nancy began laughing. Jon didn't share in the mirth. "Jon, do me a favor and go wait on some customers." "But, Sam...," Jon whined, picturing yet another rejection letter from the Police Academy. "Now. This moment. Go." Sam insisted. Jon left, disappointed that he couldn't notify the local police force of his exploit. "Nancy, you are the victim of the oldest shoplifting trick in the book," Sam said. "Would you care to share with the rest of the class, Sam?" Nancy asked. "The real shoplifter plants stolen goods in the bag of the customer in front of him. The alarm sounds, and the real thief walks away in the ensuing confusion," he explained. "I see. Well, at least I got to see your office. I'm not sure if my life can get any better than this," she said. "I'd like to present you with a $100 gift certificate to make up for your bad experience this afternoon," Sam offered. "How about if you keep the coupon and we go out for a cup of coffee instead," Nancy said. Sam's eyes lit up. "Let's go. I'll let Jon run the store for a while. Maybe he'll find some real criminals while I'm gone," Sam said. And thus their romance began. Six months later in a Las Vegas chapel, their single lives were officially upgraded to State-Sanctioned Bliss. Although he grew up on Country & Western, Sam started listening to Nancy's music and became a connoisseur of 60s rock. Nancy learned about capitalism as she spearheaded the K-mart internship program where her halfway house women worked afternoon shifts at the store. Sam's mid-life crisis had turned into a mid-life opportunity as he took an active role in the internship program. Although he couldn't get Nancy to listen to more than one Country & Western hit a day, he did help her realize that capitalism wasn't all bad. Jon was accepted to the Police Academy on a part-time basis. Back at K-mart, he began dating a 20-year-old recovering alcoholic who worked in sporting goods. She taught him a thing or two about forgiveness, giving the benefit of the doubt, and state-of-the-art scuba diving equipment. Ben Goldfarb was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, and is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. He moved to Israel in 1988. He is the founder and director of Paradigm Shift Communications. He has given seminars and training sessions at Israel Aircraft Industry and Philips Medical Systems. His book, "Double Feature: A Nostalgic Peek into the Future" will be published next year. He lives with his wife and children in Jerusalem. For more information about his coaching practice, visit the Paradigm Shift Communications website, or send an email to [email protected] © Copyright 2008 by Ben Goldfarb