You have to have rules. Rules govern where you are going and how you are going to get there. Rules keep you focused on the prize and moving in that direction. Rules push the distractions to the side and manage to keep them there (most of the time).
But the one rule we all know is that there is an exception to every rule.
Tonight, I took my three boys to the buffet at CiCi’s Pizza for the first time in several years. I am not a big fan of buffets. I am not a big fan of eating in at what I consider fast food. Tonight I made an exception, and I learned a wonderful lesson that will help me as I move forward in my success – all because I made an exception to my rules.
The two older boys tore into the buffet like I had not fed them in months. Maybe it was not that bad, but it feels that way when you are dealing with teen boys. They actually made some wise choices and thought about what they wanted before piling a lot of stuff on their plates.
The younger son was not quite as focused. The game room offered more interest than the yards of fresh pizza he had the opportunity to test. He wanted to play. Mom wanted him to eat. He agreed to try some of the pasta and three types of pizza – and by try I mean he took one bite and then turned his attention back to the game room.
“Please eat.” I tried to convince him.
“My stomach is just not in the mood for pizza right now.” Yes, those were his actual words.
“What is your stomach in the mood for right now?”
“It could eat a brownie.”
The negotiations ended with him eating half of his pasta and then a brownie. He thought his stomach might be hungry for pizza later. I approached the manager and asked for something to take home the three pieces that he had eaten from.
“This is a buffet.” It is not that his comment was rude, but the more I thought about it the more I realized it was insulting. I knew it was a buffet. I asked for the buffet when I came in and ordered. I paid for the buffet. I read the sign that said “buffet.” He did not need to tell me it was a buffet.
I let that pass. “I just hate to see the pieces thrown in the trash. He only took one bite off of them.”
“Take out pieces are $.70 per slice.”
“Per slice?” I looked at the wall next to where he was sitting. The special was a medium, one topping pizza for $3.99. He wanted me to pay $2.10 for pizza that would be thrown in the garbage after we left. It made no sense. “I just did not want to waste it since he said he might eat it later.”
“Tell him to eat it now.”
I did not tell my son to eat it now. He said he was satisfied and I accepted that.
For the next two hours I have mulled over the situation. I understand that there has to be rules, but I also accept that there have to be educated exceptions to the rules if you want to grow relationships and build your success.
I will not be making an exception to my eating out rules again – at least not where CiCi’s is concerned. I do thank that manager for reminding me that if I want to grow relationships (and I do, since I know relationships are the foundation of success) that I have to put people above the rules. A little common sense can go a long ways towards building the relationships.
What do you think about rules? Share your best “stick to the rules” story or “the rules should have been ignored” moment. Please tell me I am not alone in thinking that rules are important, but never more important than people.