Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Karma Envelope

This post is not about running. But it’s still important. GASP!!

There’s a ton of stuff in the news these days that’s just a shit storm.

Police brutality. ISIS. Forest fires. Ashley Madison outing 37 million people having marital affairs. Jared Fogle doing unspeakable and disgusting things (yes, I did interview him a few years ago for this blog when he was going to run the NYC Marathon – he seemed nice at the time. Apparently “seemed nice” does not tell nearly the whole story. He and his big fat weight loss success story can go make some friends in the shower. Don’t pick up the soap! And don’t expect there to be any of your sweet onion chicken teriyaki in the slammer).

My point is not to bring you down with all of the above crap. My point is I wanted to share with you something that makes us remember there is good stuff that goes on too. Because there is and yet it doesn’t make the news very often. 

Ken and I love this new pub that has opened in town. It has a name – “The Longs Peak Pub and Taphouse,” but as it has become our place to go we now just call it “The Pub.” We are so cool. He gets the Monterrey Chicken Sandwich, I get the Speakeasy Steak Sandwich. He gets the Annapurna amber ale and I get a glass of chardonnay from the tap. The kids get nothing because they are usually not invited.

That is not us sitting at the bar.

Why do we like The Pub so much? It’s inexpensive. It’s a local spot. The atmosphere is mellow. The fries are off the chain. When you wait for a table you get free fries and sometimes free beer. The employees work as a team and everyone does everything and the tips are split.

But, the reason we love it the most? Let me tell you.

The Pub does not take credit cards. In this day and age when even lemonade stands take credit cards, this is unusual. Why do they do it? To keep costs down. Makes sense.

So, when you go to the Pub you have to remember cash or your checkbook. If you don’t, well that’s okay. Enter…the Karma envelope.

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Here's the deal. If you don’t have money to pay for your meal, you take a karma envelope. You don’t give your name or phone number. You just take it with the intention of sending the money for your bill in the mail when you can.  Doesn’t matter if your bill is $5 or $50. No questions asked. And, guess what the success rate is? 80%.

That means for every 100 people that do the karma thing, 80 actually pay the restaurant back. Did you need me to tell you that? Probably not. I just like explaining percentages to myself.

So, you might be thinking that this works because The Pub is in some small town in the middle of nowhere where everyone knows everyone. Nope.

My city – Longmont - has about 100,000 people and has its share of ugly stuff that goes down (unfortunately I know this all too well being a social worker here – drugs, gangs, theft, sex assault are more prevalent than I care to acknowledge). Anyway, this “karma” system doesn’t work because this is some safe and insulated place to live.

The karma thing works because people today still do have a conscience. People still do care about doing the right thing. It becomes less about “getting away with something” and more about stepping up when no one is looking or keeping tabs.

You know that saying, “Character is what you do when no one is watching”? Yep, that applies here.

Basically when someone trusts you so inherently to do the right thing and believes in you to do the right thing, it is harder and harder to let them down. Or, that’s my take  on it.

Granted, there are still 20% of people who don’t pay The Pub back. A-holes. I doubt they are the kind of people who sit around feeling guilty about that.  They are the same kind of people who hit a car in the parking lot when no one is looking and simply drive off. Or the kind of people who let their dog lay a huge turd in my yard and don’t clean it up. There will always be those people, but in this case they are the minority.

Good outweighs the bad. That’s what matters. Now come visit me and I’ll treat you dinner at the Pub (wink, wink).

SUAR

39 comments:

  1. I thought Subway was gross pre-Jared, now it is ultra mega super gross. Yuck.

    Awesome Pub! I'm guessing a portion of that 20% drank too much beer/wine and just plain forgot they had a Karma Envelope! I left my local establishment once without paying, remembered about 5 miles down the road, turned around and totally shocked the bartender by showing back up to pay my $4 tab (I had one beer). He said he knew I was good for it, but personally, I was afraid I'd forget!

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  2. Made me think of this story- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/15/pizza-philadelphia-homeless_n_6480610.html

    Have to remember the good that happens in spite of all the bad! It's definitely a balancing act.

    www.slowandsteadykandm.com

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  3. My credit card fees at my store are under 20%...I think they're making the wrong decision!

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    Replies
    1. Gracie, I'm with you on this. Odd call for a business to not take card payments. I would have no problem if cash disappeared entirely and that seems to be the way we are heading.

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    2. I think the point isn't just about the 20%...

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    3. And that's 20% of those who cannot pay, not 20% of total sales. They may be well under credit card fees if you factor in total sales. Also, look at the big picture here.

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  4. Love, love, love this! I'll come visit you and fill your karma envelope.

    I bet Jared's getting his karma envelope filled too.

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  5. I love that, and think it's a brilliant idea. I find it really difficult sometimes to believe in the good in people. I watch the news about dirtbags beating pomeranians to death and think all hope for the human race is gone. But every now and then, someone comes along that temporarily changes my mind and reminds me that most people are inherently good, honest, and loving.

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  6. What a great idea/concept! I'm just jealous that I can't crash an evening there with you and Ken. Not to mention that I am a wino/beer snob. Michigan is just too far away. :(

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    Replies
    1. Well if you ever find yourself near my Pub let me know and we will have a few.

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    2. Might be booking a flight to CO soon!

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  7. Thanks for this very happy post. I am a teacher and avoided the news all summer. This week we went back to work. The news was on in the car and I got to hear all about what abhorrent things are happening in the word and I wished there was an alternate news outlet full of happy news. Maybe you are my alternate news outlet? In any case, thanks!

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  8. That's freaking cool. I hope they gain insane popularity. Nice positive post, even tho it had almost nothing running related.

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    Replies
    1. Like I said can still be good if not running related 😀

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  9. I bet all the runners remember to send in their payments ;)

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  10. The Karma Envelope is a very cool thing and you are lucky to have a business that reminds you of the good in people - kudos to them!

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  11. I'm getting in the car RIGHT NOW to drive to Colorado. Really. We could run. We could eat at the pub. It would be great.

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  12. You posted this a week late-I was in CO last weekend and would have made a point of eating at The Pub if I knew about. Thanks for sharing! Next time I'm in town I'm definitely going to be visiting!

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  13. That's awesome!

    We used to have this old bookstore in Evanston called Bookman's Alley. The store was amazing -- dusty, winding, packed to the brim, and old windows letting the perfect amount of light into the store. They carried all old, used books, and they had some real treasures that cost thousands of dollars. They did the same thing -- where they only accepted cash and check, and if you only had cards on you, they trusted you to either come back or mail them the money.

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  14. What an awesome idea! I just moved to Denver and will definitely have to make the trip up to Longmont to check out "The Pub!"

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    Replies
    1. Or....just go to Vine Street in Denver, same chain.

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  15. I think the Karma Envelope idea is good PR but bad business. Let's see if they're still doing it in a year. I think not, although I might be wrong. Not accepting credit cards is one of my pet peeves. We are not inching toward a cashless society, we're racing toward it. I recently went on a 19-day vacation trip to the other side of the country and left with $200 cash in my wallet. I returned with $198. I also don't write checks anymore. When I have to, I grumble about it. So archaic ... like carbon paper, slide rules, cassette tapes, FAX machines, VHS recorders ... and, soon, CDs. Life changes quickly, and sometimes we don't notice how quickly.

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    Replies
    1. They've been doing it here for almost a year. They have 3 other restaurants nearby and have been doing it for many years...just sayin'

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  16. Awww.... whether one wants to debate the practice as "good" or "bad" business, I love it just for the conversations it must start, for the faith in the goodness of (most) people, for the little reminder out there that we can sow good seeds with our actions. Thanks for sharing!

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  17. I think people are mostly good. I think as many as there have ever been.

    I don't watch the news really anymore unless there is something going on that I realize I need to know about. The reason is that I think that there isn't actually more bad stuff going on than there used to be it's just that we hear about it more and it stresses us out. Well it stresses me out anyway. Yes it seems like there is a lot of violence but there has always been violence - always. Truman Capote wrote In Cold Blood in 1966 and that's still one of the most brutal senseless crimes that there ever will be. Which I only point out to say that senseless crime isn't new or isolated to large cities. I'm rambling but I'm glad that you're local pub has a Karma envelope and I'm glad it works but not surprised and I'm hopeful that they'll be in business a long time because they sound like good people.

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  18. Exactly what I needed to read today. Thanks, Beth!

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  19. I'm glad you Longmontians have the Pub now, the Southern Sun is our go to spot. I love their rotating dinber specials. And yeah, the Mountain Sun has been around for what, 20 years? doing the karma envelope and they are doing just fine. Smelly hippies for the win!

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