I got really busy with my business and decided to hire someone to help me get things done. I had recently completed a sale to someone, and I was entitled to a commission. In fact, it was a great sale, so it would be a great commission. I asked my new associate to get the mail for me so that I could get my check.
My associate went out and I got back to business. It was nice not to have to worry about getting the mail myself. It is a wonderful thing to be able to delegate work.
After what seemed too long, my associate came back. To my surprise, he was holding a chocolate glazed doughnut in his hand. He knew that I had a soft spot for chocolate glazed doughnuts, so I took it gratefully.
He was also carrying a large box, and I wondered what it was. Soon I saw that it was a pizza box. “I know you like pizza, boss, so I figured I’d pick one up for you so that you and Rosie don’t have to cook tonight,” he said. I thanked him, knowing that it would really be convenient.
Then I noticed a plastic shopping bag, Before I could ask, he told me, “I know how much you like really sweet sundaes, so I got you some special peanut butter caramel marshmallow Ooey Gooey Sauce and some 800-Pound Gorilla Tracks ice cream.”
This guy was pretty impressive. He had noticed some things I liked, and had gone out of his way to get them for me without even being asked.
And that wasn’t all. He continued, “I also bought a pack of Phase Ten cards for you, so that when you and Rosie wear out the ones you have, you can have a brand new deck. And I also got you some salt for your driveway since it’s been so icy lately.”
“That’s really thoughtful of you,” I told him, “I’ll just reimburse you for it all out of the commission check.”
“Oh, no, you won’t even have to do that,” he said. “This is all on me. You don’t have to pay for any of it. I just did this a gift to you to please you.”
“Thank you,” I said. “Now let me guess, the next thing you’re about to say is that you already went to the bank and had them deposit my commission check for me without even making me sign it.”
“No,” he said, “I didn’t have time to go to the bank.”
“Then where is the check?” I inquired.
“Oh, I didn’t have time to get it,” he said. “By the time I had gotten your chocolate glazed doughnut and your pizza and your Ooey Gooey Sauce and your ice cream and your cards and your salt, I didn’t have time left to get your commission check.”
“But that was the purpose I sent you out for,” I said. “You mean to tell me that you did all these other wonderful things, but you never bothered to do the main thing I said I wanted done?”
“I really did mean to do it,” he protested, “I just didn’t have enough time.”
I realized that if I really wanted anything done, I would probably not be able to use this man. I would have to seek out another man who would take my orders seriously and make it his first priority to do what I told him was MY first priority.