The Apple and the Tree

Teri L. Lanza Comments
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The Apple and the Tree

I was raised

in a well-oiled household in which policies were administered with authority and observed with diligence. Shoes were not worn in the house. Feet did not rest on the furniture. Under-beds were kept vacant. Chores were efficiently executed—and reviewed. Rooms were scrutinized daily for cleanliness and organization. We sulked in the shadow of constant censure, but we did our best to comply. Such was life in the House of Anal Retentive!

Now, we’ve all heard the expression, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” How many of us have vowed, at one point or another, not to become our parents? We make the assertion in an effort to comfort ourselves, repeating it in our minds like a mantra. But eventually, we catch ourselves engaged in one of our parent’s maddening habits, and the thin mask of denial disintegrates like papyrus in vinegar.

For me, the epiphany came one afternoon while straightening papers in my husband’s office (an inclination he finds most distasteful). Was this me aligning the stapler with the tape dispenser? Was I actually stacking envelopes according to size and lining them with the edge of the desk? And why was it grating on me to see scraps of paper stuffed in the cup with the writing utensils? It was official: I had fallen from the Tree of Adulthood and landed firmly on the Land of Inevitable—slightly bruised, but still shiny as ever.

After some reflection, I’ve decided I’m OK with it. While my need to have things “just so” incites the rolling of many an eye from friends, family and co-workers, there are worse things than being scrupulous, organized and industrious. These traits can even come in handy.

Take, for example, self-storage and the issue of facility maintenance. As the following articles avow, a kempt, attractive, smoothly operating storage site attracts more business and keeps customers for longer periods. The challenge is developing and implementing a plan for upkeep and encouraging employees to adhere to it. Enforcing guidelines is always tricky territory. (I suggest avoiding such harsh tactics as withholding dessert and limiting TV time.) A positive approach is to create checklists for daily, weekly, monthly and annual tasks that staff will find easy to follow. And it doesn’t hurt to have a manager with a touch of OCD!

In fact, anyone disinterested in preserving the physical integrity and long-term success of the business should be reconsidered. If they won’t maintain your buildings and grounds, how can you entrust them with sustaining profitable relationships with customers and the surrounding business community? With maintenance, there is always more than appearances on the line.

As a brief aside, an important holiday passed on June 19th, and I’d like to say “Happy Father’s Day” to my dad, the meticulous tree, and all the other patriarchs out there. For all my protestations and complaints, I’ve only ever wanted to be the apple of my father’s eye.

You should consider pursuing that same estimable post for your facility. That is, be the apple of your community’s eye. It’s easily achieved: Keep a well-maintained, aesthetic property. Take pride in your buildings, doors, roofs, grounds, etc. Be the fussy fruit, and shine away.

Best wishes,
 
Teri L. Lanza
Editorial Director
tlanza@vpico.com

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