Believing in the Goodness of People

A while ago, I did a review of Paperblanks dayplanners. I like them so much,  I decided to order in 10 to get wholesale pricing and then resell them here on my blog. I sold eight of them, kept one for myself, and gave that remaining one to a relative for Christmas. Since then, I get at least one or two emails a week asking if I have any left for sale. Sadly, I do not. Although, I should mention that I have decided to order them again. Orders need to be in soon, so if you are interested in one, please let me know. The Paperblanks company only makes a certain amount of each planner and so when they sell out (and they are all pre-ordered in about March-ish) they are really gone.  

Anyway, one was sold to a very special person named “Stephanie” who emailed me back and forth for a number of weeks. I kind of thought we established a bit of a relationship (as much of a relationship as one can have with an internet stranger) and so when the day came for me to mail hers, rather than go to the post office twice (once for a quote and once for real) I went down to the post office and popped it in the mail and came home to tell her the total with shipping and (here’s a shocker) never heard from her again. 

I realize I’m an idiot for believing that someone who had a) taken the time to email back and forth for me in a chatty way,  and b) was all set to send me a paypal transaction except I didn’t know shipping amounts, would actually pay up. But I believe people are inherently good. I really want to believe that “Stephanie” is simply an opportunist who saw an chance to save themselves $20 and took it, rather than plan the whole rip-off-a-stay-at-home-mom-trying-to-make-a-buck scenario that actually occured. Of course, hindsight is crystal clear, of course, and hindsight tells me that “Stephanie Mangano” is likely an alias (since its also the name of a character in Saturday Night Fever) and the steph0612 email is probably fake and the PO Box address is likely so he/she can do this regularly and these were all HUGE RED FLAGS  I should have seen. Or maybe I saw them but chose to ignore them because, like I said, I really do believe that people are inherently good. 

So when Danielle emailed me last week to ask if I had any Paperblanks dayplanners left, I honestly told her that I knew a local store had a few for sale and I offered to go to the store and have a look at what was left and let her know. And I did just that. But again, I’m lazy, so I didn’t want to walk all the way to the store and send her a picture and description of what was left and then walk all the way back to buy it, so I bought it on my first trip. It was on clearance, and I figured I was willing to lose the $14 it cost me, and I figured I could always sell it to the next person who emails me to ask if I have any Paperblanks dayplanners left. 

But Danielle is a real person, who lives in Alberta, and provided me with a street address and a fast Paypal payment (including a couple bucks for my troubles which was very nice and totally unnecessary) and so I happily mailed it off. She also made the comment that it was really nice of me to do that for a complete stranger.

I agree it was really nice. But I firmly believe that if we pay it forward to strangers, the world is a happier place.  I believe karma will one day pay me back, just like it will one day pay back “Stephanie Mangano” for his/her opportunistic jerkery. I think if we don’t believe in the inherent goodness of people, that we become suspicious and jaded and the gap between each other widens. Just like the tow truck driver who agreed to not tow my mother in law’s car when I got a parking ticket a while back – sometimes it’s simply okay to be nice to other people with no expectations.

Outside of my little world with dayplanners, there is huge amounts of violence going on in the Lower Mainland lately. Or maybe it’s just because the media has been all over it that we are noticing. In the past two weeks, there have been 17 gang related shootings. Seventeen. It’s so bad, in fact, that Canada’s Solicitor General, Peter Van Loan, has labelled Vancouver as Canada’s new gang capital. As a result, I’ve been finding it really hard to see the good people have to offer. I’m starting to avoid the news, because all I will hear is how some unsuspecting Joe Public got shot in the crossfire. Even worse, as I walk around our little city day in and day out, how can anyone guarantee I won’t be the victim? I have to remind myself constantly that now, more than ever, it’s important for me to really try to see the good in people.  If I keep looking, I am sure I will see it, and this is something I want to teach my son – that people are inherently good and we have to believe that.

13 years ago