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  • Karen S. Clymer

Uncle Price's Honesty in the Meat Market

Growing up in the 1950's and 1960's honesty was strongly emphsized. One business owner I heard of told a new employee on his first day on the job that honesty wasn't just the best policy, it was the ONLY policy. The true account below will show you how serious my Uncle Price Akers was about honesty.

When I was seventeen years old I received a call from Uncle Price asking me if I would like to be his meat wrapper in the meat department at Bill's Grocery in Lindsay, OK. It would be for two weeks while Georgia, his regular meat wrapper, was on vacation. I gladly accepted his offer and was happy for the time I got to spend with him as well as the seventy five cents an hour I would be earning. Little did I know the valuable lesson in honesty I would learn my very first day on the job. I saw the level Uncle Price went to every day to be certain customers got a full pound of meat and not a 'smidgen' less.

After washing my hands very thoroughly, Uncle Price took me to the scales, and had me set an empty plastic wrapped styrofoam meat tray, (the kind that would be used for the one pound packages of meat), on the scale. What was the point, I wondered? It felt 'weightless' in my hands. Uncle Price told me it was very important that the customers get exactly what they were paying for, one pound of meat. The labels we made would read one pound and that was the amount of meat the customer would get, not a 'smidgen' less. With the empty meat tray wrapped in plastic laying on the scale, he showed me it did actually move the needle on the scale. However, it was such a miniscule amount I would never have thought there was a need to adjust the scales in order for the customer to get the exact amount. I was so deeply impressed with my uncle's honesty I have told this true happening again and again. Some will say there was no need for him to do what he did or that no one would ever have known or cared. The important thing was, he knew and he cared. Why did he care? Very likely the meat cutter who trained him, Ed Newcombe, set the example.

I don't know if I ever told Uncle Price how much I respected his honesty and integrity and the great customer service he gave on the job every day. I knew beyond any doubt that my Uncle Price was a man that could be trusted. He was a 'six footer' and every foot of him was honest and trustworthy.

Uncle Price is gone from us, but not the marvelous impression he made on my life-- it is indelible. We all are leaving impressions on others; what impressions are we leaving on them?

Through the years, 'situation' ethics seem to have gained quite an acceptance in our culture. I see no benefits of them. Instead, choose honesty, trustworthiness, INTEGRITY!

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