A Sticky Communication Problem


The staff at an old people’s home were puzzled when one of their residents suddenly began gargling with an antiseptic mouthwash. They asked her why but all she would say was that something had happened at the post-office.

This is what actually occurred: 

The old lady, who rarely ventured out, had visited the post office to post a letter.

She bought a stamp, and since there was a long line of customers behind her, she stepped aside. She put her change in her purse, licked the stamp and put it on her letter. Despite pressing and thumping and licking it again, the stamp failed to stick.

“Excuse me, this stamp won’t stick,” said the old lady.

“You need to peel the paper off the back,” explained the clerk.

The old lady put on her spectacles, fiddled for a few seconds to peel off the backing paper – and then licked the stamp again.

“It still won’t stick,” interrupted the old lady again.

“It’s a self-stick stamp,” said the assistant.

“Well this one isn’t sticking at all – there’s something wrong with it,” demanded the old lady.

“Well it won’t stick now because you’ve licked it.”

“Well now I’m totally confused,” said the old lady.

“Just give it to me and I’ll post it for you,” said the cashier, and doing her best to explain the cashier continued, “These new stamps don’t need licking. They are self-sticking. They save time. They are already sticky.”

The old lady continued to look blankly at the postal attendant.

“Look,” said the well-meaning but desperate post-office clerk, “Just imagine they’ve already been licked…”

After hearing this, the old lady went scurrying out of the door and across the road to the druggist.

This story was emailed to me and made me think about how often our words and actions are confused and we mistakenly communicate the wrong message.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. ~ Ephesians 4:29

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