December Column Winner

It's All About Perspective

MARSHA MILLER, The Ardmoreite

One of the Merriam-Webster online definitions of perspective is: "The capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance." It's a single sentence that's spot on. It's all about what really matters today, tomorrow, next week, next year and into the future.
It would be great if, as humans, our perspective meters were fully functional all the time. The problem is, sometimes perspective gets skewed. We lose, at least momentarily, the ability to decipher what really matters.
Here's an example:
Just a few weeks ago the Ardmore Fraternal Order of Police conducted their annual Shop With Cops. One hundred children, who were either victims of crime or in need, shopped with their own personal shopping partner, a local cop. Each child was given $100 in Christmas cash to spend. Many of the children came with a list clutched in hand. But the items on those lists weren't what most would expect.
Instead of toys and trinkets, the lists were made up of necessities — shoes, coats, underwear, etc. Did the fact that they were spending their Christmas money on things they really needed, rather than things they wanted, matter? Not a bit. Those children had the time of their lives. What mattered ONLY wasn't what they could or couldn't buy. What mattered was the fact that Ardmore's police officers cared enough to take them on a one-on-one Christmas adventure they will remember for the rest of their lives. It mattered to the cops as well. It was all about perspective.
A few days ago, Ardmore's finest were called to a disturbance at a local store. There they found 80 angry, disgruntled people, all on a quest to obtain one of only 12 pairs of high-dollar special edition shoes the store offered. Everyone of the shoppers believed their desire to own a pair of the special edition shoes outweighed those of the others on the same quest.
As Sgt. Brice Woolly said, some of them were even willing to cause enough of a disturbance "to go to jail over shoes." And some did. Others found themselves escorted out of the mall by officers. And the remaining crowd? They got their own Shop With Cops opportunity.
Officers took slips of paper. Twelve of those slips of paper were numbered 1 through 12. The others were blank. Each shopper drew a slip of paper from a hat. Those who drew a number were allowed into the store, one at a time, to pay $200 for a pair of the shoes. Woolly said shopper number 10 sold his number for $325 before even entering the store, the lure of cash proving greater than his original desire for the coveted shoes. Others who did purchase shoes were offered more than double what they paid as they exited the store by those who didn't draw a number but were still intent on owning a pair of the shoes.
Eighty people were willing to spend $200 for shoes that won't be the coveted limited edition next year, or the year after that or the year after that, and most of them were willing to do whatever it took to make sure they obtained what they considered their prize.
Was Shop With Cops worth it two weeks ago when officers volunteered their time to some of the community's underserved children? Was the alternative Shop With Cops worth it a few days ago when 12 pairs of limited edition shoes were on the line?
It's all about perspective.