A fountain pen from China


There are those that buy things and sell them at a profit. Most of the world does business this way. But then there are those very few beautiful souls who make business into art.


I saw a fountain pen on Ebay last year. Seconds before closing time and nobody had made a bid yet. I took a chance and entered my bid – and bought the pen for one US cent. With shipping it came to US$4.99. What could I have bought for that kind of money in South Africa? A hamburger or a dozen free range eggs maybe?


Upon arrival the package contained a small note – intricately folded in origami style with a hand written message:


“Hello dear friend. Thank you very much for your purchase!


I’m so glad that the item reached you finally. Hope it did not keep you waiting tooo long. Your purchase really a big support on me and give motivation to make me keep offering best products and service. Thank you very much again!


If there is any problem make you unsatisfy with the transaction please contact me and give me chance to solve it. And if you satisfy with it please leave me positive feedback.


Thank you very much!


Best regards


Share. Enjoy”


At that very moment, it felt as if the sun was shining into Africa all the way from China. I realized something important. At one US cent, this surely must have been a loss making transaction for a Chinese small business. Some would even have looked for justification not to send it at all. And yet, here was one who honoured a commitment not only with dignity, but with enthusiasm.


Honour is bigger than business. A fountain pen from China reminded me of that one day.