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A Funny Election Day Recollection

I had to laugh there at the polling place. Our voters had been irritated because the tiny "government issue" pens we provided them to mark their paper ballots were old and plagued by dry ink. People were constantly returning them for replacements, and we were throwing them out by the handfuls. The second pens often did not work, either. The inefficiency was slowing down the lines, and people were polite, but frustrated.

My role as "traffic director" eventually changed. My new position allowed me to scratch the pens on scrap paper until the ink began flowing before we handed them out with the ballots.

But one problem persisted . . . People kept asking for their "I Voted" sticker. Even burly grown men were disappointed to discover that - "due to COVID health restrictions" - the decision had been made somewhere to forgo the usual stickers this year.

Watching this, I began to think. The pens - now working - were etched with the words "I VOTED FAIRFAX COUNTY". When I handed each subsequent voter a pen and ballot, I stated that the pen would replace the sticker this year - it was actually an upgrade! Instead of frustration, the voters smiled and paused to admire the little pen - now a nifty souvenir for the keeping!

Sometimes it's just a matter of a slight operational adjustment and a change of perspective to make someone's day! In the meantime, we cut waste, eliminated user irritation, better respected people's time spent in lines, and gave them a "reward" for performing their civic duty!

Discussion Topic: Can you think of a time when you were able to make a small adjustment that gave you a good return for your effort? Who (besides you) benefitted?

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© 2013 by OPEN DOORS

Scripture of the week: Zechariah 4:10, "Do not despise small beginnings, for the Lord loves to see the work begin . . ."


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