All of you know that Anne is a stay at home mom...but did you also know that she has also held some pretty important positions here in Kentucky as well. I have to tell you she will probably accuse me of being a smart alec for saying this but I really mean it....she has taught an exercise class called "Stroller Fit"...she has represented and continues to represent a company called Juice Plus....but I think the most interesting thing she has done while we have lived here is a thing called Mystery shopping.
Now the basic premise behind this job is that you get paid to go and shop. It was right up her alley. Basically, the company she worked for would call her or email her with a store that they wanted her to go and check out. She had to go and evaluate the store and its staff on things like cleanliness, professionalism, knowledge and other things. The kicker, though, was that none of the employees or the manager knew what she was doing...hence the name Mystery shopping...pretty clever, huh? This way Anne could get and give the company that assigned her this task a good idea what was going on day in and day out in that company. She and the parent company would get a good idea about how that particular store and its staff treated their customers.
The really funny thing is that she kept doing the same store every month for about a year...and she never had to buy anything. It was also one of these stores that didn’t have any clothes for larger people....so I guess I could never shop there....but Anne always had to ask for something that they didn’t carry....like a larger size than they sold. Now..Anne is not a big girl so I don’t know how she got them to believe that she needed this particular size...but, if they had any employee retention at all...you would think they would catch on...something like here comes that red headed lady that is always wanting something 6 sizes larger then what she actually wears...either she is our mystery shopper evaluating us, she has amnesia, or she is the most persistent person on the face of the Earth.
Now, we’ve had a little bit of a laugh about this at our house over the past year or so...but...if they did catch on...or if Anne went in there with a big sign around her neck saying "Evaluator" on it...how do you think she would be treated? Do you think that it is fair to say that she might be treated a little bit better than she might ordinarily be treated? Even if the store staff is usually friendly and outgoing..don’t you think they would have stepped it up a little bit had they known?
The fact of the matter is...if we know who particular people are...if we are ever in the presence of "important" or powerful people...don’t we act just a little bit different? Or at least don’t some of us do that?
Another quick example for you....sometimes when I play golf I play alone and the folks who work at the golf course pair me up with some other guys to help the pace of play. Now, ladies, let me tell you, when a bunch of guys get together and they don’t know each other...one of the first questions that gets asked is "what do you do." It’s usually by the third hole that the conversation turns to our occupations. Men, as you probably know, take a lot of pride in their jobs and it becomes a large part of their identity. Now there have been some guys I have played with that every other word out of their mouth was of the four letter variety and every joke was filthy...and then the question gets asked...So, Mike, what do you do? Well, I am a pastor of a church....and most of the time you can just kind of see the color drain out of their faces....and the swear words and dirty jokes stop for the rest of the round. I have to admit...it’s pretty refreshing and it makes me a lot more comfortable...but I still find it a little bit amusing...their attitude toward me and the way they act toward me and around me changes dramatically when they find out my profession.
So, when we look at the birth of Christ through the eyes of the innkeeper...is it any wonder that Jesus was born in a barn? He was ordinary, he was average...there was no great announcements to the innkeeper...he had no idea that the eternal Logos was about to be born.