Home > The Monday Musings Column > laughing at life

laughing at life

Last week I spent a day with a longstanding business associate helping him choose a new alarm, access control and general security package for his shop and warehouse. My preferred way of working on these projects is not to the traditional way of having the potential suppliers come to us, but for us to go to them. There is much to be learned from visiting your suppliers; are the offices tidy, do they give the impression of efficiency and organisation, do the people that you meet or see there look like they care about what they are doing and more. I always ask to go and meet the people that will answer our calls if we have a problem, the people who will be managing our installation and the people who deal with invoicing us. It all gives a picture of what you are really getting that the sales team can never convey in their pitch.

After a good morning seeing three such possible suppliers we adjourned for a late lunch before seeing a fourth option on the way home. Now I had just sat through three sessions where my companion had been trying very hard to impart his need for security and the prevention of unauthorised access to his premises and was considerably amused when, after we had cleaned our plates, he introduced the topic of the Prime Minister’s upcoming speech on the UK’s exit from the European Union.

My friend launched into an impassioned defence of the open borders policy and how it had benefited the country. Closing off open access from within the EU was stupid in his view and he could not understand how anyone could see any benefit in sealing our borders. We were part of a global community and all this business of nationality and national borders was nonsense in the modern world. It would not stop terrorism he argued, no crime, for such people would always find a way. When he finally drew breath I asked him what we had been doing that day; were we not looking at ways to secure his own borders and restrict access? I mentioned that I had watched him lock his car in the pub car park and asked if he locked his home when he was out or at night?

Of course he did, but that and what we were doing today was different. It was about securing his business and his home. He had worked hard for years to build all of what he had up. He had earned it and was not going to let someone walk in and just take it. Did I think that he was a mug? And then he saw that I was winding him up and we had a laugh about it before making our final call of the day.

In life, both at home and at work we have to draw lines, and so does society but when you do some people will gain and others will lose; that’s life and it is rarely fair. My friend doesn’t care who gets into the country as long as he can stop people getting onto his premises, as a child you battle the boundaries that you parents impose and then you have your own children and fight the same battles from the other side. To a degree we are all hypocrites and most of us are at least a little selfish and protective about what regard as ours and are often wholly irrational about it. As long as we can still laugh at ourselves it’s no big deal, just life.

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