Recently in a small local grocery store, I had a flashback of my life as a child. You see, my grandparents, parents, and aunts and uncles owned a grocery story, A. Esposito & Son. We sold the finest of meats, produce, and canned goods. We even had a liquor license with our own brand of wine and liquor. Once a child in our family became school age, it was expected that she would work after school and weekends. The youngest kids weighed potatoes and washed produce. The next group took orders on the phone, packed orders and stocked shelves. I did it all: I ran a cash register at 7 years old, took phone orders and packed them, helped customers in the store, and even learned to make a fruit basket. Working in the store was a perfect fit for me, a high energy child who enjoyed feeling productive. Every year, I was assigned the jelly bean project at Easter time, even though I had given up candy for lent. I weighed literally hundreds of pounds of jelly beans into one pound bags, without eating so much as one jelly bean until Easter Sunday morning.
Our loyal customers became my extended family and were privy to my quarterly grades in school, the progress of my piano lessons, and as a teenager, the names of my boyfriends. Looking back, it was an incredible training ground for my social skills as I learned to quickly understand the customers’ expectations and exceed them just about every time. While I did a variety of jobs in the store, my favorite was running a cash register. As I stood at the register, I had a clear view of what was happening all around the store. One morning I happened to see a customer carefully slip a bottle of scotch into her purse. I knew immediately that she had little intention of paying for the bottle. I looked around but my dad and aunt were nowhere around to handle the matter. When the woman arrived at my register, I ran each of her items through the register and then before I rang the total, I whispered, “Mrs. T…., would you also like to pay for the bottle in your purse?” “Oh, silly me!” She said as she sheepishly pulled the bottle from her purse and put it on the counter. I remember my Aunt saying later on that I handled Mrs Tyson with the utmost aplomb for a child. I didn’t know what aplomb meant but I knew it was a good thing.
As an order of business, every year on New Year’s Day, all my aunts, uncles and cousins gathered in the store to manually take inventory. That meant we would count every item on the shelves in the entire store—every bottle of wine, every can of peaches, and every bar of soap. Today, of course, the task is done moment to moment electronically but back then we counted every last item. The soaps were the least expensive item, and there were hundreds of them, so the youngest of the cousins had the job of counting the bars of soap and calling in the numbers to our Uncle Anthony who recorded them on a large calculator. The job took all day long. By taking inventory, we learned about our business: the dollar value of the goods on the shelf, what items sold, and what items were not customer favorites and should be eliminated from the shelves.
The flashback of taking inventory year over year got me thinking. Women with high SUCCESSTROGEN take stock of who they are and they make changes accordingly. They determine who they want to be and continually assess and reassess themselves to ensure they are headed in the right direction.
Perhaps the idea of taking inventory is one I should consider regarding my personal management. Just like taking stock of everything on the shelves in the store years ago, I can determine the value of my current behavior, making sure it is as it should be. I could determine what behaviors are my top items, that is, those that serve me and others well. I could also determine the behaviors that are time wasters and do not add value to my life or that of others and eliminate them. I will consider taking my personal inventory as an order of doing business and hopefully enjoy it as much as I did taking inventory in the market so many years ago.