Friday, April 16, 2010

The Coin of Courtesy


Hello Optimists,

There are a lot of great things to see in Philadelphia like the Liberty Bell and the Museum of Art, but one place that usually isn't on the "list" of things to see in the city is the Wanamaker Building...but it certainly should be. It is a national Historic Landmark and you can see its beautiful interior in today's post photo. This was Philadelphia's (and arguably the United States') first department store, opened by a man who is known as a retailing genius and the father of modern advertising. Wanamaker basically revolutionized the business world, offering employee benefits like free medical care, profit sharing plans, fitness facilities, and pensions even before these things were considered "common" in the corporate world. The store itself was also the first to have a telephone, electrical lighting, and a system for transporting cash and documents to banks. This twelve floor building offered nine levels for shopping (and for that alone, I thank you, Mr. Wanamaker) and an iconic organ designed specifically for the store. This piece still has its place in the store, which is now Macy's Center City, and is the largest operational pipe organ in the world. And let me tell you, it still works. The first time I was in that store and someone sat down to play its hourly tune, I almost had a heart is quite powerful.

So Mr. Wanamaker was an amazing businessman and a pretty smart guy; two things that really made him a pretty penny in his day. But he worked very hard and really had an impact on the city of Philadelphia and the whole nation in terms of retailing alone. It's no surprise to me though, because after reading a quote from him recently, I knew he was a man who deserved great respect. But through all of his riches, I think the advice that he offers in today's quote is one that we should all keep in mind.
Courtesy is the one coin that you can never have too much of or be too stingy with. -John Wanamaker
This really is one of my favorites and I think it is just as important now as it was many decades ago when he spoke it. "Common courtesy" is something that seems to have gone by the way-side in the past few years, and often we hear complaints about that. We hear that chivalry is dead and that we'd probably be more likely to be struck by lightning than to have someone hold open a door for you. Now while I don't think that's entirely true, I do think that courtesy is something that we all should be willing to share and should never hold back. I think it requires more effort to not be courteous than it does to put forth the effort to mind your manners. There are always opportunities to be courteous, but sometimes we're just too "busy" or too ignorant of the things going on around us to notice. But it's important to not be too stingy with your courtesy as we can really improve our own lives and the lives of others just by lending a hand, offering our time, or heaven forbid, opening a door for someone.

So here's your weekend challenge: try to be as courteous as you can and acknowledge those that have displayed their kind acts toward you. I bet you will be surprised at how good it makes you feel and how that happiness will spread to all of those that you share you days with. And then we can thank Mr. Wanamaker by going shopping. At least that's what I'm going to do, anyway.

Happy Friday!
Keep Smiling,


  1. I've been to Philadelphia and seen the Liberty Bell but I'd not heard of Mr. W. Courtesy really does matter. Great blog. I'm following.

  2. I've never been to Philadelphia. But I would love to go someday!

    Cute Blog!!! I’m another new follower! Feel free to check out my blog as well!
    Happy Friday Follow! Hope to Blog with you again soon!

  3. Happy FF! Just stopping by to say hello!

  4. Love your optimist attitude!


    I’m your latest Friday Follower! I would appreciate a follow-back on Google Friends Connect and/or Networked Blogs.


  5. I would love to tour that building. That is the kind of things we look for when we travel. This is one challenge that I can get on board with for sure. I can't believe that so many people have forgot to just share a smile. It's so easy!

  6. Thanks for your great comment on my blog! You should give yoga another try, but you do have to go into it with a mindset that it's not going to be like running, etc. I think it can complement running quite well though and help you to recover faster.

    Also a great post on your end like always :-). Every single one that I've read has been so insightful and well thought out. I will try to be more courteous, and maybe others will follow our example :-)

    Have a wonderful day!


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