Filed under: Mayberry | Tags: Communication, employees, Human Resources, Mayberry
November 1, 2010
Mayberry Monday – “Call the Man!”
By Holly McLeod, PHR
It doesn’t happen often, but I must admit there are times when Aunt Bee truly grates on my nerves. One of the most exasperating experiences I’ve had watching The Andy Griffith Show is in the episode “Bargain Day.” In this episode, Aunt Bee won’t listen to Andy and do as she is told. Rather, she insists on doing things her own way, which ends up being a big waste of time and effort. If she would simply listen to Andy, life would be much less stressful; but alas, it was not to be.
It was a hot, sticky summer morning and Andy came into the kitchen saying it was going to be another hot day. Andy’s son Opie walked in wearing some very squeaky shoes that were a half-inch too long. Aunt Bee explained she had gotten them for $4.89 (instead of the usual $6.50) from an outlet store in Mt. Pilot that sold discontinued models. Aunt Bee wasn’t worried about the shoes being too big for Opie; she had saved $1.61.
When Opie asked his Paw to pass the sugar, Andy saw that the sugar bowl was empty. Aunt Bee got up to refill the bowl and came back to the table with a huge sack. The sack was so large, in fact, that she had trouble controlling the sugar pouring out of it and sugar poured over the edges of the bowl and onto the table. Aunt Bee explained that buying such a large sack was “more economical.”
Andy told Aunt Bee that “a bargain’s not always a bargain,” and the discussion led to the old freezer on the back porch. Aunt Bee was adamant that in purchasing that freezer she got the biggest bargain in the whole auction. But Andy said the only thing that’s been kept in the freezer was a dead mouse – and he climbed in there to get warm.
Aunt Bee was in town shopping later that day and ran in to her well-meaning friend, Clara Edwards. Clara told her about a new butcher in town who was selling beef for ten cents cheaper per pound than Foley’s Market. The only catch was that you had to buy a whole side of beef. Knowing she had the freezer just waiting to be used, Aunt Bee couldn’t resist such a bargain and she loaded up the old freezer with 150 pounds of beef.
Normally, one would think a person would confirm their freezer was actually working prior to purchasing and loading 150 pounds of meat inside. But Aunt Bee wasn’t normal… No, she stocked the freezer full before plugging it in. Fortunately it did come to life, but was violently shaking and rattling. She withheld a pot roast for supper, hoping to surprise Andy with her purchase.
When Andy got home that evening, Aunt Bee proudly served her roast and eagerly watched as Andy took his first bite. He put the bite in his mouth, frowned a little, then started talking to Opie about having seen one of his friends that day. Aunt Bee told him he hadn’t said anything about the roast, and Andy said, “I wasn’t going to, but it is a little tough, isn’t it? Foley really let you down this time. You should speak to him.”
Aunt Bee was crushed. She quickly rose from the table and went into the kitchen. Andy followed her to see what was wrong, and the lights started going on and off. Opie then ran into the kitchen saying the television was going crazy and the picture was crooked. The lights flickered once more, and Andy heard squeaking coming from the back porch. He went out to the porch and was surprised to see the freezer plugged in and running. He tried to open the freezer to look inside, but Aunt Bee quickly shut the lid and wouldn’t let him look. Andy asked what was in the freezer and Aunt Bee had no choice but to admit to her purchase – “150 pounds of beef. 150 pounds of tough beef!”
When Aunt Bee was explaining that she had bought the beef from the new butcher, the freezer suddenly stopped. Then it started. Then it stopped again. Andy told Aunt Bee she needed to call the man from Mt. Pilot to come fix the freezer. Aunt Bee said that man charged a fortune to look at the refrigerator — $7.00 just to replace a fuse. Andy was tired of Aunt Bee’s “bargains.”
Andy: “Call the man.”
Aunt Bee: “Can’t we call somebody around here?”
Andy: “No, there’s nobody around here.”
Aunt Bee: “Somebody who wouldn’t rob us like that man from Mt. Pilot?”
Andy: “There are no freezer mechanics around here. Now, call the man.”
Aunt Bee: “How about Fred, who works for Louise Palmer? He’s very
Andy: “Aunt Bee, he don’t know anything about freezers. Now call the man!”
Aunt Bee: “Well, he helped me fix a clothes line once…”
Andy: “Aunt Bee, just call the man. Call the man!”
If I was told five times during one conversation to do something, I think I would get the hint — but not Aunt Bee. After Andy left, she called Gomer Pyle to come look at the freezer. Gomer is the local mechanic, but hasn’t been known to dwell too far outside the realm of automobiles. The only thing Gomer succeed in doing was to make the freezer leak out all of its antifreeze onto the porch.
Aunt Bee went to Foley’s Market to speak to Mr. Foley. She asked, on behalf of a “friend,” if her friend could store some meat in his freezer. Mr. Foley knew Aunt Bee had bought the meat from his competitor, but he graciously told Aunt Bee he would be happy to store her meat. She went home and, with Opie’s help, loaded all of the beef in to Opie’s wagon and started rolling it to Foley’s. Little did she know she would be confronted by every dog in town along the way!
When Andy heard the yapping dogs from his office, he went outside and asked her what she was doing. She explained that Mr. Foley had agreed to store the meat. Andy said he wouldn’t allow Mr. Foley to pay for their mistake, and that she was going to have to call the man from Mt. Pilot like she should’ve done from the beginning. In exasperation, Andy repeated, “Call the man!” Aunt Bee started walking away and looked back toward Andy as if she was about to come up with another solution. Andy didn’t give her the opportunity. “CALL THE MAN!” he yelled one final time.
With every argument from Aunt Bee, I can physically feel my frustration building with Andy’s:
Why won’t she just do what she is told?
Why won’t my children clean their rooms?
Why won’t my husband do that thing on the Honey-Do list he promised to do?
Why won’t other people do things like I would do them?
Do you ever feel that way about your employees? Perhaps you have someone on your team that’s a free-thinker and marches to the beat of their own drum instead of the beat you’ve already established; Perhaps you have someone who insists on doing things a particular way, and who sincerely believes they are acting in your best interest; Perhaps you have someone who seemingly argues at every turn, never satisfied with status quo, but who wants to “shake things up” and do things differently…
While you might feel your temper rising, your pulse beating harder and your breaths coming quicker in these situations, it is good to remember that not all behavior you may consider defiant is necessarily bad. Aunt Bee’s only “crime” was trying to save Andy’s money. Yes, she was very frustrating in her quest, but her intentions were good. It might be that the employee who tries your patience the most is one of your company’s biggest assets.
The next time you find yourself getting frustrated and angry when your challenging employee again argues another point with you, it may be time to step back and consider his viewpoint. Ask yourself: What is he trying to accomplish? What are his motives? What would be the harm in trying things his way? What might we gain from it? In doing so, you may determine that the other person’s argument is not only valid, but valuable.
By the way, this episode (like many) is the origin for some common-speak terminology in our house. If ever it is decided that a professional needs to be consulted for anything we can’t fix ourselves – a broken washing machine, A/C unit or, like now, a broken car – all we have to say is “Call the man!”
Hope to see you in Mayberry again next week. Stay tuned…
Holly McLeod is a Human Resources Manager for Landrum Professional Employer Services and Landrum Consulting. She is a certified professional in human resources (PHR) and has more than 15 years of human resources consulting in the corporate world, healthcare and manufacturing environments
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