What I Learned From Fibbing

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training
It was a pretty Sunday afternoon. My father, a traveling salesman who traveled Monday through Friday, was home as normal for the weekend. We were, as you might imagine, very close.

About 10:00 am he said to me, “Nancy please get me some iodine from Maurence’s.” That was the drug store across the street from us. I must have been 7 or 8 years old.

This was a big deal for me. I was now allowed to ‘cross the street’ all by myself. He handed me two dollars and said, “Be careful crossing the street.” (If he were here today he’d still say that.)

Anyway, I took the job very seriously. I put the money in my pocket and went across the street – very carefully.

The local drug store was a staple in the neighborhood (Southside of Chicago) and Mr. Maurence knew all his customers well. I went in and asked Mr. M. for the iodine. We talked. He gave me the iodine (no bag) and I paid him. I put the change in my pocket and started on my way home (across the street).

In the middle of the street I dropped the iodine. The bottle broke and the contents spilled all over the street.

I was petrified to tell my father what had happened. Well, I thought, I know what I’ll do. I’ll tell him the drugstore didn’t have any iodine. Sure, that’ll work.

So I ran home all the way and told my dad with a big smile, “The drugstore didn’t have any iodine” and promptly gave him the change.

There was about a 3 – 5 second delay and finally my Dad says, “Nancy, if the drugstore didn’t have any iodine, then why do I have change?”

Busted. Can’t fool Daddy. Moral of the story (for me anyway): From that point on, if I ever told a small fib, I’d think about “the drugstore didn’t have any iodine” scene. Seems that story will live forever.

When we talked about what happened later that day and my Dad said: “Nancy, I can always stand in front of the truth. I will never stand behind a fib.”

Did you ever get ‘busted’ telling a fib? Was it worth it?

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Nancy Friedman, customer service keynote speaker, is president of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training and a featured speaker at franchise, association, and corporate meetings around the world. A popular TV guest, she appeared on Oprah, The Today Show, CNN, FOX News, Good Morning America and CBS This Morning, as well as hundreds of other radio, television and print outlets around the world, including the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. The author of 9 books on her chosen topics, Nancy helps corporate America improve their communications with their customers & co-workers. You can see her 9 books here. For more information, log on to Nancy Friedman's website www.nancyfriedman.com or call (314) 291-1012. Oh yeah you can email her at nancyf@telephonedoctor.com. Nancy is a recent recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Hall of Fame Award - St. Louis Small Business Monthly