That Point Where the Line Between Virtuous Behaviour and Obsessively Compulsive Behaviour is Crossed ??

So, let me introduce myself…..I am totally and utterly honest. I think by now we have established that I speak my truth. But this is about making what I believe are honest decisions. Not because I am extraordinarily upright and virtuous, but because I believe so much in Karma, that even if Karma did not exist, I would be so obsessed with thoughts of it, that that b***h would eventually come to bite me in my bum anyway.

Full disclosure…….in my youth, there were about 7 minutes of dishonest behaviour on my part.

I remember when I was but a cub, my mom and I went into a local stationary shop, and she had somehow forgotten to pay for something. When we got home she realised this, was mortified, and said that we needed to take it back immediately. I was slightly annoyed at her ridiculously virtuous behaviour, and told her to see it as a gratuity. Although in retrospect, the annoyance was possibly linked to the fact that I did not feel like traipsing off to the shop again. But noooo, off we traipsed to return it.

In my early teens, my friends and I dabbled in the life of crime. We went through a delinquent phase, where we used to dare each other to steal petty things. It was all for the thrill and exhilaration of it. This is not me trying to justify it, just explaining the reason for my behaviour. Concerning behaviour, I will admit, but all ended well, as it was very brief, and none of us became kleptomaniacs or hardened criminals……that I know of…….yet!! Mind you, probably did not end quite as well for the people we had stolen from……but  pilferage is all part of the perils of being a shop owner isn’t it? 

Another full disclosure….never felt a shred of guilt! Quite concerning indeed!! Anyway……..can we please move on from this dammit?? It is over!! Done and dusted!! Stop laying a guilt trip on me…….leave it be!!!!

So other than my brief brush with kleptomania, and the fact that I felt being ”too honest” was going overboard, I have led a ridiculously honest existence. 

I also have a phobia about accepting gratuities. I have never believed something can be given as a gratuity without there being any strings attached. I mean, offer my child a sweet, and I KNOW you’ll be phoning me to drive you to the airport ay 2am in the future. Or even worse, you will tell anyone who will listen how you fed my children when they were growing up!! Over the years, my children have probably missed out on a number of opportunities on account of my refusing anything gratuitous, but I can proudly say that they learnt from my behaviour, and turned out just like me in this regard.

So taking the above into account, I was put to the ultimate test last week. Since COVID I have become a pro online shopper (aka ” a compulsive online shopper”). Not clothing, and all things decadent mind you. No……just the shopping that most humans go to the shops for. Even my weekly grocery shop is done online. 

In the heart of the lockdown, a very forward thinking chain store decided to launch an App, whereby you could order your groceries online, and within 60 minutes, they would be delivered to your doorstep….voila!! They have stuck to their promise every time I have ordered. I mean, who needs problems with parking, faulty trolley navigation, queuing and, well, human interaction, when all you need to do is click, click, click, checkout and never leave the house?? Not me I tell you!

Initially I started placing my order as I was leaving work on a Wednesday, which is about 15 minutes from my home. But the bloody efficiency of it all…they always arrived shortly before I managed to get home. Then there would be a whole catastrophe, as the one Security Guard at the gate of our complex and myself have a hate-hate relationship at best!! Obviously that was the man on duty every Wednesday. He would not even call me, which is literally the only job he is employed to do, and would tell the driver I am not home. All the while I would be receiving notifications that my order was received…….my shopping had commenced…….my shopping was completed… delivery was on its way……my delivery had arrived and I must ”listen for the doorbell”. Needless to say, I would not have heard the doorbell, as my doorbell was supposed to be the call from the spiteful, bitter and twisted security guard. Not only that, I would by that stage have been driving with an aggressive attitude, making rude gestures to all and sundry, displaying a complete lack of patience, and more than likely tailgated across intersections when traffic lights were out of order.

”Do you have to order it on that day and at that time?”  I hear you ask? Well no, certainly not. It could quite easily have been ordered at a different time or on a more convenient day, but why would I make life less stressful for myself?? What would I possibly do with one more stressful thing to worry about??

So, the last few weeks I have gotten wiser, and placed my order WHILE driving with an aggressive attitude, making rude gestures at all and sundry, displaying a complete lack of patience, and more than likely tailgated across intersections when traffic lights were out of order. I know that sounds irresponsible, but my trolley had already been completed earlier in the morning. I just had to click, click, click, checkout and continue driving in the aforesaid manner. Okay…..agreed, still irresponsible, but….let’s just move on shall we? 

So, on the day in question, I had arrived home about 30 seconds before the driver arrived, it had started raining, I darted inside my house, and my little helpful Salty said he would collect the parcels. He then walked in to share what an amazing guy the driver was, and asked if they were always that pleasant.

”Well of course they are….this is the best, most efficient miracle of an App from start to finish”, I declared.

As always, I replied to the survey, which gets sent 0.05 seconds after they have delivered. Happy with the service? Check. All arrived in order? Check. Driver friendly and professional? Check, check and one more check for my Salty!!

As always, I proceeded to rip the stickers off, and ferociously pack the groceries so that I could start dinner, as I am always STARVING when I get home from work, and THIS FLIPPING INCONVENIENT TIME that this needs to be done, BUT ACTUALLY COULD BE DONE AT A MORE CONVENIENT TIME, is keeping me from preparing my feast.

And then…it happened….finally they had faulted. I realised that I had someone else’s one parcel. Oh nooooooooooooo, I thought, I need to get hold of the driver to come back. My main concern was less about the person who had received one parcel short, and more about the fact that the driver was going to suffer some sort of repercussion. And Salty said he was so sweet!!

But try as I might, I could not retrace who the driver was. So my next thought was to log a problem on the App. But then I would be getting the driver into trouble?? No, I would just take it as a lucky packet.

I continued unpacking, but it was burning a hole in my brain. So, I logged the problem, but begged them not to take any disciplinary steps against the driver, or take the money off his pay. I mentioned that I have had nothing but first class service in the past, and I have set the items aside for collection in the morning. Of course this monster of an establishment cared about my pleas for clemency……not.

Anyway a sleepless night ensued, as I had ”unworthy” groceries in my house, and a driver might lose his job.

By the time they emailed me back the next day, they had thanked me for my honesty, said it was their mistake, and I should keep the items. Well, how could I?? Nothing is for free? I would somehow be paying for this later? No….not to be touched, I thought.

So I decided that I had two choices, either find a person in need, and give the bag to him, or keep it for my helper, who comes twice a week. This was of course on the Wednesday, and she would only be coming again on the Monday, but I had hoped that the already tired looking lettuce would survive until then.

I guarded this with my life. When I told Pepper what had happened, he shrieked with delight and asked whether there was any ”nice stuff’ in there. 

”None of your business, we not keeping it”, I sternly replied.

”But why?” he asked, totally confused by my reply.

”Because we did not pay for it!”

”But we got it and it is here”, he responded, to what he believed my upright and virtuous behaviour of one living in No Man’s Land.

So naturally, on the Monday the mission was successfully completed once the contents of the parcel were deftly handed over to my helper, wilted lettuce included!!

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