Purpose Statement

Exploration -> Experience -> Feeling -> Transformation -> Understanding

Sunday, July 30, 2006

An Army of Salvation

I almost forgot my best story. So everything in Hawaii is more expensive and more difficult. When I moved here a year ago, I could not find a place to live. I was meeting landlords and offering them money on the spot and they would not rent to me. Everybody wanted to rent to females or gay men. Heterosexual men are too negligent and destructive to rental properties. I see their point. Anyway, I wound up renting a crummy one bedroom apartment for $1600 a month with all sorts of conditions - I have to steam clean the carpets, get rid of all the furniture and drapes that came with the apartment, etc. Basically the landlord gets not only my rent money, but all sorts of free work out of me as well.

So I called the Salvation Army a week ago and scheduled them to come by on Saturday and take all the furniture that was in the apartment. I made arrangements with the building manager to put padding up in the elevator. Saturday morning, I hauled all the furniture down to the lobby and waited for the Army to arrive. Halfway through the day, I got a phone call. A young man said that only one driver had shown up for work and they would not be able to pick up my furniture but he could schedule me in for next Saturday.

While muttering explicatives under my breath, I contemplated my options: Haul all the furniture back up to my apartment (Nope); Rent a truck and haul the furniture down to the Salvation Army myself (Possibly); Go buy a saw and cut the furniture into small pieces and throw it in the trash (Possibly); drag the furniture to the city park down the street and abandon it (or even better, set it on fire) (Nope) ... The young man from the Army apologized and gave me several telephone numbers to try.

I called Bob's Furniture, a for-profit used furniture business and explained the situation. Bob told me they wouldn't take any junk, but he would send a man over right away. In 30 minutes a guy in a nice truck with a hydraulic lift showed up and my furniture was gone. I guess it qualified as better than junk.

So the whole experience got me thinking about the efficiency and effectiveness of for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. How do we get for-profit efficiency and effectiveness where the success is not measured in dollars?

I have a friend who works for the Life Foundation here in Hawaii, but his background is in private business and the poor guy is so frustrated with the work ethic and the lack of structure and accountability in the not-for-profit environment that he forgets that he is doing meaningful, fulfilling work. At least it should be.

Anyway, my furniture is gone and now I sleep on my camping bedroll:

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