Monday, February 7, 2011

The Gift

Hi everyone! For this post, I decided to use an amazing short story written by a friend of mine. I'll be back with my regular posts next time! :)

The Gift

By Ben Lake

A shopper was checking out at a store. While standing at the counter, the clerk handed him a package and said, “This is a gift from our manger. He has paid for it himself. You just need to take the receipt with his signature showing that he paid for it.”

The shopper looked confused. The package read, “Eternal Life”. The shopper shrugged his shoulders and said, “Ok. But, if it is a gift, why do I need a receipt showing that someone else paid for it?”

“Well,” the clerk explained, “the security officer at the door will not let you take this with you unless you show that it has been paid for.”

The shopper thought for a moment. “Never mind, I'll just pay for it myself. It looks like it would be a good thing to have.”

The clerk gave him a funny look. “Okay, you can do that if you want to. I just need proof of your perfection in order to complete the transaction.”

“Perfection?” the man snorted. “You've got to be kidding. I'm a great guy; I'm sure I can provide enough to prove that.”

The clerk shook his head, “Well, unless you can pay with perfection, you cannot take this with you.”

At this, the shopper’s anger began to flare. “I'm doing the best that I can with what I've been given!” he protested.

"Ahh!” exclaimed the clerk. “If you are doing the best that you can, then you must have perfection and, therefore, have nothing to worry about. Please show it to me.”

The shopper was furious. “Why must I show you my perfection? I hate your prices!”

The clerk calmly replied, “How can you be angry and complain about the prices when the manager has already paid for this item and is giving it to you for free? All you need to do is take the receipt before you finish checking out with me!” The man stood there muttering his indignation. The clerk continued “Just remember that once you finish checking out, the receipt that is offered by the manager will no longer be valid.”

The shopper, still sputtering, protested again, “Well, if it has been paid, and the manager has the receipt, why won't the man at the door let me keep the eternal life?”

The clerk said, “You have to acknowledge that it is your receipt. If you don't have a receipt that the eternal life was paid for, then it cannot be considered yours.”

The shopper scoffed “There is nothing in this store that anyone could get for me, that I could not get for myself. I have also been very courteous to the other clients here as well as the employees. I would consider myself loyal enough to the “cause of perfection” by doing good things. So, that should be payment enough.”

“Confidence will not pay for this article that you hold,” the clerk stated. “Perfection is the only payment that will be accepted.”

At that, the man, holding the parcel, turned on his heel and headed for the door. Just as the clerk had predicted, the guard at the door stopped him and would not let him pass. “Is this your eternal life?” he asked.

The shopper responded confidently, “Yes it is.”

“Please show me your receipt,” the guard replied.

The man rolled his eyes, perturbed. “I haven't got one. That annoying clerk wouldn't give it to me.”

“If that’s the case, I cannot allow you to keep it.”

The man was furious. “It is mine!” he said. “I paid for it!”

The guard raised an eyebrow. “Well, if this is true, you can discuss it with the manager. He can go over the books with you and see if you made the payment.”

The man, realizing that this would only prove his guilt, was suddenly very ashamed. He said, “I'm sorry, I couldn't pay for it, I just didn't want the manager to get the credit for buying it for me. He has a receipt that I would like to have now.”

The guard shook his head. “I'm sorry, but any such receipt would no longer be valid. You have already checked out."

The man sat down on a bench, sobbing. As he sat there, he noticed another man at the register. This fellow had been damaging some of the store's items and making other clients unhappy. To the first shopper's amazement, this second shopper was also handed eternal life and was told to take the receipt signed by the manager. Unlike the first shopper, this fellow was dumbfounded at the generosity of the store's manager. He crumpled to the floor in tears. He admitted that he had been a problem to the store and was anything but perfect. He said that there was no way he could possibly deserve what he was being given. This item had more value than anything he had ever seen. He took the receipt and asked the clerk if he could speak to the manager so that he could thank him. The clerk said that it wouldn't be a problem. The manager was always available. The clerk led him to an office. After a while, he re-appeared and went to exit the building. The first shopper watched as the second handed his receipt to the guard. The guard let him pass with no further delay. The second shopper was ecstatic about his new gift, and went around to everyone in the store, joyfully showing them what the manager had done for him.

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