Annyywhoo, the other ten people between me and Yolanda moved along quite nicely. While waited, I noticed a gallon of chocolate milk sitting on a closed register station apparently the victim of abandonment at the hands of would-be purchaser.
There was no way of knowing how long it had been there, but as the minutes trudged on, I began to wonder, “What would happen to the milk? How long would it be left there?” None of the staff took notice of it, and the last I recalled, milk was a perishable item. Then I started to think about how many other items – perishable items alone – might be left to waste throughout the store? And how many Walmarts across the country were rife with such waste? It reminded me of a poem:
For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.
This stunted sonnet points out a painfully obvious truth: failing to take care of the details can have disastrous effects. I could see a soured gallon of once marketable chocolate milk giving birth to a retail rendition of the little nursery rhyme:
For want of a gallon of milk a sale was lost.
For want of a sale a job was lost.
For want of a job a store was lost.
For want of a store a community was lost.
For want of a community a nation was lost.
All for the want of a gallon of milk.
A bit of old wisdom warns, “Whoever can’t be trusted with the little things can’t be trusted with the big things” (Dom’s loose paraphrase of Jesus). Perhaps the “big” struggles we are facing as a nation are connected to the “little things” we are failing to prove ourselves trustworthy of as private citizens? After all, the Board of Directors of Walmart can’t be everywhere taking responsibility for every gallon of chocolate milk left to spoil – that takes a concerned, invested individual. And yes, I turned the displaced dairy product over to a store employee. Decided to trust them to take care of the things they should be taking care of.