On My Honour…

6 02 2013

It’s no surprise to regular readers that I’m a long-standing member of the Scouts. Scouts make a promise as they’re invested into the movement. It’s what sets us clearly apart from hockey teams and other youth organisations.

On my honour, I promise...

On my honour, I promise…

But honour is a difficult concept to get over to youngsters (and many adults, for that matter). I once  heard it wonderfully encapsulated as:

It’s when you do the right thing, in the middle of the forest, when you know nobody is watching, and they would never know if you didn’t. Picking up someone else’s litter was the example in that particular case.

Personally, I think I’d go a little further. To me, it’s doing the right thing when you know people are watching… and doing it will in some way cause you yourself potential harm. Financial loss, shame, physical danger.

Like facing up to your mistakes when to not do so would cause another to take the blame. Like keeping your word, when you said you’d do something, but doing it unexpectedly turns out to be unpleasant.

I have a friend who is getting in shape for an up-coming half-marathon. She posted her training time the other night and said it was a “bad run”. I retorted that the only bad run is the one you didn’t do… as I sat in my home blogging.

Tonight, it was raining in White Rock. Thinking of my own words, I donned my trainers and went for a run in the drizzle. It was a run that occurred, and by my own definition therefore – good.

As I promised, I’ll post my numbers… good or bad.

3.6km, 24 minutes 232lb.

Well, one number went down… just not the one I’d have preferred.

Sometimes large organisations struggle to act with honour. In order to be profitable they need to pay market rates to staff, and often that is well below the “give a toss” level. Being mindful of this, they use process and procedure to protect them from variable quality in their representatives. That’s why you have to sign stuff when you hire a car, for example… because the company can’t rely on the staff actually checking the car properly before they give it to you. Instead, they place the onus on you, the customer, and attempt to protect themselves with paper.

A total cop out, since most people who are hiring cars are in a rush to get somewhere or wouldn’t know a potentially serious fault on a car merely from giving it the cursory glance they are allowed if it were to hit them on the high street, reverse and repeat the process.

Yet ultimately, as I recently read in “Black Swan” by Nassim Taleb, the larger a company gets, the more fragile it becomes. It loses touch with its roots, its original customer values, the things that enabled it to grow. Instead it relies more and more on market presence. On its brand. Its good name. The one thing that it has left in the hands of process-engineers and pimply youths. Potential suicide. In this day of electronic media and Flash Mobs, it behoves a company well to pay close attention to how it treats customers. It is better in the long run to absorb the small negatives from the few dishonourable customers who might return a car with less than clean carpets than to seriously piss off the honourable ones who you THINK have done something to your car.

Hell hath no fury like a technophile scorned…

No Pants Subway Ride 2013

14 01 2013

Regular visitors will recall me mentioning 2012’s “No pants” Flash Mob event. If not, it’s here.

The general premise is that at a pre-determined time, a group of people descend on a city’s transit (SkyTrain in Vancouver, but other cities had their own events) sans trousers. The time of year requires the wearing of winter coats, scarves, gloves etc, making the lack of pants unusual to the casual observer. The mob joins the train at a specified point and makes no sign that they in any way know each other.  It’s a bit of fun. It’s free. It does no harm.

All good, in my books…

(Though some did complain about hygiene… plainly not used to the unsavoury characters who used to share my daily commute when I used Transit regularly. It’s amazing how long you can hold your breath when assaulted by B.O.)

Here’s the National Post‘s coverage: No Pants Subway Ride hits Vancouver, Toronto.

I’d forgotten it was about due again until I saw it on the TV news this morning (first time I’d watched it in weeks). It was Global TV BC, and the most remarkable thing about the video coverage was that out of the many people boarding the SkyTrain, the cameraman focused almost entirely on the young lady with lovely black lacy knickers. Pure coincidence, I’m sure… 🙂

This was Vancouver’s 4th year and Translink are apparently OK with it happening.

Here’s Global’s coverage. Global BC | 4th annual ‘No Pants Day’ on the SkyTrain.

Global: 4th annual 'No Pants Day' on the SkyTrain  Read it on Global News: Global BC | 4th annual 'No Pants Day' on the SkyTrain

No Pants Subway Ride 2012 via Flickr Blog

10 01 2012

America… you are definitely letting it all hang out!

Flickr Blog: No Pants Subway Ride 2012

This is the 11th year of No Pants Subway Ride – started in New York, now it’s everywhere. January, cold, winter coats, scarves… just no pants allowed!

Lots more to be read about it here: The No Pants Subway Ride

Here’s video from the 2011 event: