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It's a Mad, Mad World


I borrowed part of the title for this post from the whacky 60's movie It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. The movie was based on the extremes people would go to while trying to find a hidden treasure. This post is not meant to be political. I am simply pointing out many of the extremes we are seeing during this pandemic. I try to cover both sides because it amplifies the difference in positions.

Recently a woman approached a couple enjoying a picnic lunch in a park. The woman chastised them verbally, apparently for not wearing masks. After a brief verbal confrontation, the Woman proceeded to pull pepper spray or mace from her purse and sprayed it at the Wife. The Husband stepped in to block the pepper spray and attempted to take the spray from the Woman. The Husband turned his back on the Woman while she continued to spray. The Wife yelled for her to stop as the lady emptied the spray aimed at her Husband. The Woman screamed an obscenity at the couple, flipped them off, and left the park. The entire incident was caught on video, including the license plate number of the car she drove off in.

Another incident was caught on video when a Woman entered a Costco store and was told the store policy required that she wear a mask while shopping. The Woman protested and was told once again that it was store policy. She began yelling at the employee and demanded to see a manager. A Manager arrived and restated the store's mask policy. The woman walked over to an aisle, sat down on the floor and began yelling in protest. The scene was reminiscent of a child throwing a tantrum.

Extreme cases seem to be everywhere.

Small businesses were shut down by the thousands, with the intent to protect people from being exposed to the Covid-19 virus. Many small-town businesses seldom see more than ten people in their building at one time. This forced many people to shop at large retail outlets.

Large box stores and retail outlets were allowed to stay open and attracted many of the customers from smaller retailers. This influx of customers appeared to herd more people into one place, seemingly creating a higher likelihood of spreading the virus.

We were all told that the elderly are at higher risk than others if they get the virus. Yet, in some states, COVID -19 infected patients were sent to nursing homes for treatment!

We have been told it is safe to gather in protest, but not for religious services, concerts, and other events. The contradictions seem to have no limit. It also appears that if you don't agree completely with everything someone else says you are targeted for immediate destruction.

Extremes have a way of pointing out absurdities. We see the vast difference between two positions and realize that neither position has merit. The path to common sense often leads to the middle of the two positions.

In business, as in life, we are often faced with extreme situations. An order we needed today doesn't come in, a customer becomes irate and makes unreasonable demands, or the city tears up the sidewalk in front of your store to fix a water pipe. Each of these is an extreme situation that is only made worse by an extreme response. The first line of my favorite Rudyard Kipling poem "If" says it best. The poem begins with the line, "If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs....". If we can keep our heads when everyone around us is losing theirs we come out the winner in the end.

Extremes can be frustrating, even exasperating, but learning to deal with them and creating solutions that moderate them not only help our business but also reduces our stress.

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