No refunds

On a recent shopping trip I decided to purchase a pair of jeans. I don’t wish to imply a sense of indecisiveness but during the shopping session I decided to change my mind. I proceeded to return to the shop and ask for a refund. I thought that it would be both immediate and hassle free. To my astonishment the shop manager declared that although he himself considered the policy to be harsh, I could only gain an exchange or a money / credit voucher. He was so adamant about this policy he pointed out the shops policy by guiding me to the cash till. There it stood, a one liner printed on a faded yellow paper. To give it some credit (!) it was clipped in an antique frame.

This whole notion of refunding or not refunding could be consider in the context of the way we approach relationships. There are cases where family issues, border control rights, mutual respective between communities and basic land rights become complex and legally tied. Civil liberties abuses can occur. Politics can also introduce the situation into chaotic insolvable situation.

If we consider many of the problems in the world today, can they be resolved or are the facts and legal issues so complex that it maybe impossible to satisfy all parties.

Sometimes people or social groups can be negative to each other. Can a swear word be taken back. Or better still, isn’t it better to communicate to the abuser the impact of what he / she has said, rather than swear back. Unfortunately often a human reaction is to ‘roar back’ in a survival of the fittest mode.

Can we take back what was said in the past or we actually given an opportunity? Deeper and more horrific are the open court sessions held in South Africa in recent years. Here perpetrators of violence come ‘face to face’ with their victims. Recent rehabilitation strategies with prisoners also involve the criminal being asked to both come to terms with their crime and to ‘look’ the victim in the eye and discuss a level of forgiveness.
All of these examples point to the need to reconsider the cause and effect situation. I’m not suggesting a ‘free and mercy’ policy for criminals, terrorists or human violators. All I’m suggesting is the need to break-down a problem into it’s constitute parts. We need to decipher the chaos. To make sense of the ‘cause’ and the proceeding and possible continuous impact or ‘effect’. Whether it’s the Gaza strip or ethnic cleansing, the spread of aids… the count of the worlds problems is unfortunately long and stressful. I believe that problems can be resolved with effective arbitration.

We have an opportunity to communicate how charitable funds can be used together with suggesting to political systems that some basic steps can take place to ease the world of unfairness. For example, encouraging greater fair-trade and establishing a central think tank to ‘iron out’ complex issues. Refunding nations of their debt is one way of clearing financial burden from poor nations. Just because legally no one has done this before doesn’t mean we can’t make that change. An attitude of optimism needs to exist, especially as there are many that wish to eradicate the notion of any sense ‘hope’. A refund or a better outcome is always possible, one just have to ‘push’ hard enough for it.

Categories: 2004

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