Pizza, customer service, and billions of personalities.

It’s a thin line between love and hate  – The Persuaders, 1971.

There has been a lot of hubbub in the news lately about Indiana and it’s new Religious Freedom Law.  Basically, the major difference between Indiana’s law and similar laws in 19 other states, is the wording.  Most of the states have Religious Freedom Laws that protect the individual and non-profit religious organizations, like churches and synagogues.  Indiana’s, however, protects businesses and corporations.  That little difference can make a huge difference.  For a great explanation, check out this article in the The Atlantic Monthly.

I don’t live in Indiana, but I do own my own business.  And I run that business based on my beliefs, as do most small business owners I know.  I believe in shopping small, and bolstering our economy,  so I try to stock my shop with local, regional, and US made products.  I also believe that people deserve to make a living wage, so I source some harder to find items from fair trade organizations.  I try to live lightly on our planet, so I also purchase organic or up-cycled items when possible, recycle paper and packaging, and bike commute when possible.  These basic guidelines help me in my daily business decisions, just as most small business owners use their beliefs to guide them in purchasing inventory, how they treat their employees, and how they handle their daily transactions.

Sometimes these decisions can get tricky.  Let’s say you own a Pizzeria, you make the best pizza in the county, and pizza eating contests are legal in your state.  The odds are pretty good that at some point, you will be asked to make pizza for a pizza eating contest – after all you make the best pizza around!  Now suppose you think overeating is a sin and you are opposed to pizza eating contests.  How would you handle that pizza order?  You could do your job, the thing for which you are well known, and make those pizzas – you could also wish the contestants well, and hope the contest is successful.   Or you could refuse to make the pizzas.

Yes, the scenario is a tad silly, but it’s a good example.  The job of a local business owner is not to condemn or judge your clientele; your job is to assist them with whatever it is that you sell or offer.  Yes, you are probably going to have a few customers that you don’t get along with, or that you don’t agree with.  But that’s also going to be true in any group to which you belong – volunteer organization, school group, co-workers, church.

Part of living on this planet is living with billions of other people.  With that many personalities, there are bound to be some differing ideas.  Wars have been fought over political belief systems, churches have splintered over church cannon, and families have been torn apart by differing ideas.  However, the differences should not stop us from recognizing that we are all human.  Which means everyone of us has feelings, emotions, and ideas.

So many ideologies and religions seem to be proponents of peaceful living, but so few people actually enact those beliefs in a peaceful or loving manner.  Yes, some days I find it very difficult to truly love my neighbor and to act kindly towards my fellow humans.  But that doesn’t mean I’m going to give up on trying to be kind to them.  Some days it simply means that I need to work harder, that I need to walk away from the situation, or that I need to give my customers the best customer service I can – even if they are going to overeat at a pizza eating contest.