Roses for Rose.

February 21st, 2010 by John Morris

I work with a woman who buys and sells craft items. She also interprets dreams.

On Valentine’s Day 2010, a large number of boxes filled with products arrived for her. After sorting through these boxes, she had one not listed on the bill of laden. I know this because she asked me to help her find it.

Later she removed one of  the item from its box and brought it to me. It was a gray vase with the biblical verse, “I will be with you always.” Matthew, 28, 20. Seeing this verse brought to mind my cousin’s son, Matthew who died last year from ALL leukemia. It’s a good and comforting thought about those who have gone to their reward.

The shipping company admitted their mistake and told her to keep the products gratis. She, in turn, offered the vase to me. She spoke about her dream where she had a vase she didn’t own. In the dream, she filled it with fake roses and gave to a woman she didn’t know. She asked me to do the rose thing and give it to my wife, Lyn to fulfill her dream.

When she finished her dream narrative, I told her I’d rather give it to my cousin who had suffered a profound loss and told her about her son. I then told her, “My cousin’s name is Rose. Her son was named Matthew.” In unison, we both said, “Whoa!”.

It took some time for me to give Rose her rose-filled vase. She was pleased with the gift and the aptly inscribed vase. She especially liked the story about the improbable manner it found its way to her. She told me when she sees it she will be reminded of her Matthew.

What happened could easily be explained this way: we interpret events to match our preconceptions. Okay, but I prefer to see God’s hand in all this.

As I aged, I started seeing divine guidance in my life and others. It brings me a level of comfort.

It’s just a buck.

February 13th, 2010 by John Morris

It was on a consumer show hosted by someone like John Stossel where I learned how companies use mail-in rebates to manipulate the buying process. A soft, reassuring voice lulled me into the world we buyers think exists. Then the same voice brought down the hammer about what really happens.

It seems the marketing world counts on most people not doing the work needed to return the rebate. Those that do usually wait six weeks. It’s all calculate to maximize their sales and minimize their costs. Just plain good, smart business. There’s nothing illegal about what they do.

I pride myself on always filling out the two foot long forms and returning all the required portions of the package. It all gets sent off within 24 hours.

When the check arrives, I usually have forgotten about it. I often wonder if any companies  just don’t bother to send them out. No, that would be wrong.

This brings me to the $1.00 rebate I received from the nice folks at Rite Aid. Actually it came from some Young America, Minnesota based rebate giant. The check was a study in minimalistic packaging. The envelope was the check. Pretty cool stuff.

I bundled the check with a few other ones and mailed them to my bank. A call came two days later: “Mr. Morris, a check you sent can’t be deposited. If you want it back, stop by.”

As I waited in the bank. I realized it had been years since I had been inside this bank or any other one. Such is our new world with the advent of ATMs.

The customer service guy retrieved my check from the storage bins. He said he saw no reason why the check couldn’t be cashed. He offered to do so, but I feared being late to work. I took the check in order to deposit it later.

Now keep in mind, this is a $1.00 check; hardly worth any real labor. I had set my heels; I won’t give in to the Rite Aid’s crafty plans for me to fail.

On my return trip to the bank, I deposited it and got stonewalled by the cashier. She said the check wasn’t worth anything unless I use it at a Rite Aid. She was familiar with two types of rebate checks and I didn’t have the one you can cash. I went to the Rite Aid and finally brought the saga to an end.

Why would Rite Aid make checks to be cashed and another where they can’t? I guess it all part of their crafty – yet legal – plans to honor the smallest number of checks. 

How many consumers would take this dance to its conclusion? Rite Aid plans it so there will not be many.


The old boy writing this blog wears many hats: Vietnam Veteran, husband & father, salesman and techno-dude. After my service with the Army Security Agency, I operated a sign company for nineteen years, The sign industry changed after CAD/CAM machines made the task easy enough for the non-talented. I sold my company and never looked back.

Life has granted me a life partner better than I deserve. My wife, Lyn is a transplanted Kansas gal. Her bliss is teaching kindergarten and first grade.

I am the most proud of my children. My son, Adam lives an international life teaching English and living in Sozhou, China. He is married to one of life's truly lovely women, Yuri Kim. My daughter, Beth grew up in a small town and found her way in life means working and living in major cities like Chicago and New York. She and her life partner, Julie Sterling married in LaJolla, California in 2010.

I like getting the newest gadgets, but also I like to use things until they are useless, i.e., my last personal car was an 88 Honda Prelude Si.

I wrote a Vietnam Veteran newsletter for nine years. During this journey, I learned I like to write. It is a harmless exercise that rewards honest effort while tolerating failure gracefully. I been away from it for too long. My son gave me the blog, and it was a lifeline back to writing.

My best advice is to show the world what you can do but to accept only your opinion of who and what you are.

Update: In August 2008, my job became one of the half-million jobs that went away that month. I took the following year getting the home ready for my official retirement.

In October 2009, I took a part-time job as a saleman at the vaulted Maxwell's Hardware.

On November 29, 2011, I reached my 66th birthday, and I officially started Social Security. I intend to stay with Maxwell's as long as I can contribute.