Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Darkest Before the Dawn

Every once in a while I am reminded of the importance of our blog's mission - make the world a brighter place by helping others SHINE.

Monday I was reminded of how much harder shining is when so many people are conditioned to accept mediocrity.

Heather, Katie, Cheryl, and I are on a mission to sell 1,000,000 Shine shirts by 2013. You might have heard. Earlier this week I went to Kinkos, hoping to make copies of a postcard promoting four great reasons to surprise someone with a Shine Shirt. Fifty copies on white card stock would provide me 200 postcards. Twenty copies of another sheet was all I needed to attach one gift tag per shirt.

Seventy colored copies on white card stock - one sided. That's what I wanted. "No problem," says Hillary the hourly Kinko's employee. "That will be $125.32."

One hundred twenty five dollars and thirty two cents for 70 color copies! The only thing shining at that very moment should have been the gold plated paper on which my postcards were being copied! I respectfully declined and assured Hillary I could get copies somewhere else for cheaper.

Hillary's response? "Well, if you can find them someplace cheaper and bring in a written quote, we will match the price. It's just that those are Kinko's prices."

So let me get this straight. Hillary wants me to do the leg work of finding a lower price, requesting a printed quote, delivering it back to Kinkos, and then letting Kinkos make my copies. All for what? So I can have the privilege of giving business to a company with no conscience? I don't mean to shoot the messenger, Hillary, but... "No thank you!"

The next day I took my order to the copy center at the University of North Texas, where I work. Same exact order, but instead of costing $125.32, Shawn charged me $32.73. A difference of $92.59. Say what you want about overhead and corporate expenses, but almost four times as much? I don't think so.

Today's post is not about Shawn shining. I'm sure he's a very nice guy, but charging me a reasonable price for a modest order does not automatically make for shining. No, today's post is more about the challenges of shining when the world around us is dimmed by apathy and poor judgement.

We have our work cut out for us. Whether Kinkos, your work place, the dry cleaners, or your local grocery store, we must each find a corner of the world and commit to making it SHINE!

Where might you start?

Signing off until tomorrow...


Robin said...

Some days my own brain is so dark I need to start with me. I also realize that the value of a smile, even when someone else is in a bad mood can be a very good thing.

People also need permission to shine. If you stand out you're looked at which is something people don't want. But if everyone is shining...

Heather said...

I agree...sometimes shining is tough. I've had a few days in my office this week where I've been plugging away on reports, assessments, etc...on the occasions I do come out of my hole I know I'm not as cheerful as I ought to be.
Today is day three of office work so I will make a concerted effort to really shine!
Thanks for the reminder.

Anonymous said...

Why is the goal of selling 1 million t-shirts important? How does it really shine and impact others? Is it more self serving than Shining?
Why not raise 1 million dollars to donate somewhere or collect 1 million canned goods to fight world hunger?
Shining is important, but I am not sure I see the benefit of selling 1 million t-shirts as anything more than feeding ego's.

Heather said...

Anonymous you raise good questions.
I think the goal of selling the t-shirts is way more than self serving (we definitely aren't making any money off the shirts).
In general I think you must remember a-we think big and b-getting the t-shirts out means getting the message of shine out. While it is great to shine ourselves we see it as our mission to help the world shine.
We've already been doing things that demonstrate shining...through all of our philanthropy efforts here at highlowaha however, we think we can do so much more with a huge following. Imagine the difference that would be seen from four women shining to 1 million people shining...pretty big difference don't you think?

Also let's contemplate how we might raise 1 million dollars as you suggest for philanthropy...could it be through spreading the message of shine so that millions want our t-shirts and we finally DO make some money that can then be utilized to spread shine even further.

If you have more ideas about how we might shine we'd love to hear them!

Peggy said...

All I have to say is be an aware consumer when you shop... Target had binders in two different areas, same binder.... different prices... if you can, watch when items scan through at a sale price. And be a tough consumer, go back to Customer Service and politely complain if you've had a bad situation, or email the company.

One way to serve better, is to find out what you do wrong and correct it.

This place makes me think!!! And that's a good thing!

Claudia said...

Anonymous... you are a critical thinker and that is good. Maybe you will join our team and help us continue thinking through our approaches.

Movements have symbols - Livestrong; Nike's, "Just Do It"; Susan G. Komen and her use of the color Pink; Gay Pride and the rainbow.

Shine shirts don't feel as much about ego as they do about creating energy and recognition around a topic for which we feel strongly.

The good news is that if you can help us convert skeptics (like you - not a bad thing), then we position ourselves to sell shirts FOR a profit and assure that a portion of the profits go towards a cause we are committed to.

The notion is referred to as, "social entrepreneurship." TOMS shoes is one great example of this and, in my mind, is a model worth aspiring to.

Anonymous, I appreciate your challenging our motives. Consider presenting someone with a shirt. It will make you - and someone you know - feel better.

Cheryl said...

It's not always easy to shop around for the best price. My days are full enough to have to go around to several shops to get the best service. And, I'll sometimes pay more if I like the service I'm getting. But yeah, $90 difference is more than too much.

Danko Family said...

I can't believe the price was SO different between Kinkos and the University.

I went to a UPS pack and ship place to mail my friend the birthday presents for her triplets. I went in with the intent to just purchase a box big enough to ship the matchbox cars and littlest pet shop toys. I ended up paying an additional $11 on top of the price for the box for them to package it. I NEVER pay people to do a service that I can easily do myself. I walked out of there not knowing how I got wrangled into paying that much for a box. To top it off, the lady who rung me up was extremely rude. I got back in the car with the boys and my dad, and was very upset about it for the rest of the day. I'm not sure if that woman was settling for mediocracy or just taking her customers for granted. If she only knew how AWESOME it feels to SHINE!

Quick story for everyone...I had a nightmare last night about the Throw Down challenge. The ingredient was mushroom, Lauren just sliced up some mushrooms, threw them on a plate, and took her usual awesome picture. I made this elaborate appetizer, and was shocked to see she had over 5,000 votes and I had only 1...from my hubby. Maybe my brain was playing games with me since I'm battling a little stomach bug of some kind. I just had to share it with you all.

Cheryl said...

Snack Throwdown Nightmares! Kate, that is hilarious.

heather said...

Aw Kate...maybe it was the fever talking.
I hope you are feeling better!

Rest assured I can't imagine you ever only getting one vote.

BeeKayRoot said...

I'm sending my yellow mail out today!!! I'm really excited about this project!