Outsmarting Myself: When Systems Fail

The other day I stopped at Costco for gas.  I was in a hurry.  I had a busy morning of errands to complete before meeting a client.  As usual, there was a line of cars waiting for gas.  I hate to wait.

At the pump, I was thinking about everything I had to get done as I automatically swiped my credit card, opened the tank, made my selection and filled up.

I pulled out of the gas station, parked in the store lot and walked into the warehouse for another errand.

At the checkout, I opened my wallet and AAACK! no credit card.

Let me remind you what I do for a living:  I’m a professional organizer.  I operate on the principle of “a place for everything and everything in its place.”  It’s what I teach my clients and what I practice every day.  As a result, I can find what I’m looking for right away.

The empty slot !! Where is the card ??

When my credit card wasn’t in its own designated slot, the only conclusion I could draw was that I dropped it in a pocket, it slipped between the car seats, or I had lost it at the pumps.

The pockets came up empty.  I searched the car – nothing. I went back to the gas station and looked on top of the pumps, asked the attendant and patrons if a credit card had been found, got down on my hands and knees and thoroughly searched the area.  The card was gone.

Damn!  I might as well finish my errands before heading home.  At the grocery store checkout, I opened the snap pocket of my wallet where I keep all my store cards, and wouldn’t you know it?  There was the missing credit card.  I never looked there because that’s not where it belonged!

The errant card was not where it belonged. No wonder I couldn't find it!

Moral of the story:  Systems are fallible and nobody’s perfect


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