Archive for Gandhi

Information Gratification

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on June 28, 2009 by Arthur

Among all the astonishingly moronic things that disturb me in my office, there is one thing that drives me mad. A white slip of paper that hangs from my supervisor’s work area screams my name every other day. My supervisor is one of those types of people who need positive quotes from celebrities and CEOs surrounding her at all times. I actually think it’s counterproductive to print and cut out slivers of ridged office paper with words of people you can never actually become. But enough about that, here’s the supposed quote from Mahatma Gandhi:

“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.”

I did some cursory research and the best source that I can find is that this quote was said during a 1890 speech given in South Africa. The more I read it and try to understand why a man who is known for pacifist views and anti-war sentiments would discuss guest service just flummoxes me. I’m thinking this might be a case of the lazy media carrying over either a) a half-truth quote that was never said but regurgitated enough times to make it false public knowledge à la Gore and his often misquoted claim that he invented the internet. Or b) a complete and apocryphal quote picked up through slothful research.  Recently this happened when Shane Fitzgerald, a student from Dublin, made up a quote for French composer, Maurice Jarre when he passed away. Evidently, the false quotation ended up printing in a slew of American and European articles for a month before Fitzgerald told the media it was a farce.

One day I’ll know the truth behind the cryptic Gandhi quote but until I finish my research, the lesson of the story is never believe what you read or hear. Take the time to do some sort of research and never accept anyone’s word beyond face value. I know in this time of instant information gratification, it’s hard to take a second opinion but find a few legitimate sources and dig deep. Never swallow other people’s opinions and always question authority.