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Business as Usual 
Saturday, September 23, 2006, 08:08 PM - Other
Although I had planned to be a minister since my high school days, I chose business administration as my undergraduate major. My reasoning was that I would get plenty of religion in seminary, and my business knowledge would help me relate to my congregation and the rest of the "real world".

My first clear example of the value of a business background was when my supervisor handed me a scrap of paper on which was written the following:


One of the members of the congregation had found dozens of scraps of paper with these words and numbers written on them all over the house. They had been written by his recently deceased wife. He was confused why she would have written this message over and over. He asked his pastor, (my supervisor), what these messages meant.

My supervisor confessed that this was one of the hardest questions he had been called on to answer, since he could think of no sane reason why his wife would repeatedly write this phrase and then count the letters.

I looked at the scrap of paper, and remembering some of my Marketing 101, I asked my supervisor if this woman had been involved in retailing. He said she kept the books for a local store for years. I told him that some merchants use a ten-letter phrase that doesn't repeat any letters to code their costs on sales tickets and other documents. Maybe this was her store's code.

A phone call to the store proved that this was the case. The husband was relieved to know his wife wasn't fixated on the numerology of “Fear Thy God”. She had just taken her work home.

This first appeared in Monday Morning magazine in the early eighties when I was in seminary.

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