So when last Saturday I bagged myself a € 40 parking ticket for going horribly over my time allowance in town, I took it on the chin. Even though I’d have much preferred spending the money on lunch for two at Cafe Hans or a new much needed haircut I felt I should pay up without whinging.
Think abundance. Send the universe a prosperity message. I probably owed at least that much to the council in my frequent over-stays in their car parks so I accepted the charge graciously.
Back home, a couple of hours later, Jake lost his brand new mobile phone in the huge field of knee-length grass behind the house. We separated to cover the biggest area possible and though I rang the phone number repeatedly we just couldn’t hear it ring.
We tried tapping a la EFT – "even though we’ll never find this darn phone, we love and accept it anyway…" and we were right – we never did find the darn phone!
By nightfall, not only had the battery discharged and the phone stopped ringing but just to make sure our hopes were annihilated, the heavens opened and it continued pouring for the rest of the weekend.
I felt a bit peeved with the universe. I’d surely demonstrated my abundance with my approach to the parking ticket. What was it hoping to prove with the spiriting away of the mobile phone? Deciding we must still have lessons to learn, I reminded Jake how lucky we were it was only a stupid old (well, not so old) phone that we’d lost. We could replace it if we wanted. Imagine if we’d lost him. How insignificant a missing mobile would seem then?
I thanked the universe for the lesson in gratitude. But she wasn’t finished with me yet. In fact, I was to discover she’d so far only been teasing me…
On Monday the postman brought my Vodafone bill for my broadband modem. Again, I thought gratitude and abundance. Where would I be without my internet access? And in particular, having my little white Vodafone box meant that on my recent trip to London I was able to easily access my emails and continue working without interruption. Such freedom for a mere € 50 per month.
Except that when I opened the bill I found I’d been charged rather more, like this much:
Clearly it had to be a mistake. But an examination of the bill and several phone calls later it was clear it wasn’t a mistake. Seems that that trip to the UK when I’d used the modem a handful of times had cost me €800 plus VAT!
I have to say, I did seriously consider just accepting the charge. It was after all a valid (if outrageous) cost I’d incurred and I had to agree that the charges were displayed on their website. And I knew that accepting responsibility for my actions wouldn’t be a bad thing.
As I’ve been working on increasing my prosperity consciousness I wondered what a rich person would do. Depends on the rich person. Elton John, or rather his personal assistant’s personal assistant, would have sniffed and paid it, I think.
But I remember reading about the characteristics of the average millionaire and noting that they are mostly very careful with their money so I decided I needed to challenge Vodafone. They had suggested I put my complaint in writing (in order to be taken seriously!) and use snail mail, rather than email but had in fact suspended my service within 30 minutes of my complaining about the charge!
So I got onto the chief executive. Only he appeared to be out of the office; and I would have spoken to his PA only she was away from her desk. And I would therefore have been put through to the highest of the high in customer complaints, only she wasn’t answering her phone either. The very helpful receptionist did however take all my details and 20 minutes later I had a call from the first person I’d spoken to that morning.
This time she back-tracked on the suggestion of writing to them and put me onto her boss and after a twenty minute game of verbal ping-pong, I landed the victory shot and the charges were withdrawn.
I’m not gloating about that victory. Though I believed I’d been mis-sold or badly advised when I’d bought the modem, they could just as easily have continued to argue for the validity of the bill and it’s all credit to Vodafone that they listened to the various problems I’d had since purchasing my first (duff) modem and decided it was better to keep a customer happy than dig their heels in.
I know my abundance mentality is growing all the time. Part of that mentality is expressing gratitude each and every day. Not just for the fantastic icing-on-the-cake abundance I feel when my new coaching programme is fully subscribed with ease or when I meet my friend’s day-old beautiful and healthy new baby; but also when I snuggle into my bed or share a belly laugh with Jake or remember how beautiful the Alps are on my skiing holidays.
So I’m grateful for my parking ticket because it reminds me I’m lucky enough to drive a car which reminds me I’m lucky enough to experience freedom and independence every day of my life.
I’m grateful for Jake losing his mobile phone, not just because I no longer have to listen to that ghastly ring tone but because there are another thousand just like it in the shops but there’s only one Jake and he’s still here.
And I’m grateful for that huge broadband bill too because it proved that some big organisations think people are more important than money.
And let me put a thousand euro safely back in my pocket. And breathe a sigh of relief.