"There is, to every problem, always an easy solution – neat, plausible, and wrong."My job as a Business Analyst is to help my clients avoid falling into the trap of jumping to the wrong, though obvious, solution.
Often, I get a chance to exercise my vocation in my private life… As was the case this morning, as I was headed into the local supermarket down at the Dickson Shops.
At first I had a hard time telling what I was looking at. She was slumped over the row of cards tucked into the return corral; and from the angle of view I had as I approached she looked as if she had collapsed across the row of trolleys. I actually, before I saw her move worried that she had collapsed and was in the process of expiring. I came up to the queue and then saw her move, so rather than embarrassing myself, I watched for a moment to see if I could suss-out what was going in.
It did not take long. She was poking at something in the third trolley back with a bit of twig. There was a receipt in the bottom of the cart that she was apparently trying to fish out. I could see her way of thinking, but could also see the she was going about it the wrong way.
Now, for those of you who have never traveled abroad, let me explain. Unlike most of the US, much of the world has an interesting means of getting people to walk their trolleys back to the cart park. On the handles of the shopping carts, there is a coin box, with a small chain coming out one side ending in a key and a slot that is designed to accept the key of the next cart on the other end.
To take a cart, you insert a coin, they take either dollar or two-dollar coins here, they take loonies or toonies in Canada, and one-pound coins in the UK. Once the coin is slotted, the key pops out of the slot in the back and your cart is freed from the rest. After you have done your weekly shop and put your groceries into your trunk, you walk your cart back to the cart corral, push the cart into the line of carts, slot the key from the one ahead of yours, and your coin is returned to you.
So, there I was watching this poor old woman trying to get the receipt out of one of the carts in the line…
She had just given up and turned to leave as I walked up.
“Here, let me help you.” I said, retrieving the receipt and handing it to her.
She turned and said, “Ah! Thank you, but how did you get it?”
“I just put a coin into this cart here and slid them out…” I explained demonstrating it as I did.
She rolled her eyes in mock exasperation. “Thank you! It has my gasoline discount on it!”
I nodded, wished her a good day, and went back about my planned shopping excursion. It feels good to help people! I
Wherever you are this morning I hope that you have had a chance to lend a hand to a complete stranger in need.