Lesson from a proud vendor

My visit to the summer farmers’ market yielded a delightful feast for the eyes and mouth. The bright-colored fruit and veggies were displayed with gusto. The abundant fruit samples at the many stalls were succulent delights.

Approaching a vendor displaying large watermelons, I asked “Would you do half?” He nodded yes. “How much?”

“Five dollars” he responded with an impish smile on his face — a whole melon was $5. I obliged with an exaggerated expression of disbelief.

“No!” I exclaimed.

“Three dollars” he responded, chuckling.

As penance for his teasing, I said, “Two fifty.”

He nodded, then studied the table groaning with ripe melons. Hoisting a particularly good-looking one, he retreated to his work table. Carefully halving the melon, he held aloft the two ruby-red parts for me to choose. I pointed to one. He meticulously sheathed it in plastic wrap, smoothing the top with the back of his knife. He carried it to the cash register and encased it inside a plastic bag to protect the treasure.

As I watched the care he took with each step — for a paltry $2.50 sale — it made me wonder how many other people took such pride in their everyday activities. I’m guessing this man’s farm implements were carefully cleaned and put away each day. One doesn’t usually isolate one’s fastidious work habits — they are usually a part of one’s high standards in life.

How do you treat mundane tasks? With as much care as this vendor? If not, why not?

(Follow up: A week later, I was back at the market and asked him if he’d do half a melon like last week. He nodded yes. He came out from his prep area and knocked on every watermelon on display — over a dozen — to find a ripe one. Not hearing what he wanted he then darted to his truck, climbed into the bed and knocked on every one in a large box. He jumped down with two in his arms. He cut one and showed me the deep red fruit. I nodded. He did all this for a $2.50 sale. Amazing!)

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