Illustration: Temptation

He had finally got his chance to make the Really Big Sale. He was going into the final interview on the biggest contract he had ever written. As he was ushered into the office of the executive buyer, an assistant brought coffee and left. The atmosphere was cordial, and he knew he was giving his best presentation ever.

Then the assistant tapped on the door, re-entered the office and spoke briefly with the executive. She stood and said, "I apologize, but I have to tend to a matter. I'll just be a minute or two." She followed her assistant out of the room.

The sales representative looked around the beautifully appointed office. He saw family pictures on her desk. Then he noticed a contract on her desk. She had evidently been studying a bid from a competitor. Leaning forward, he could see the column of figures, but it was obscured by a diet soda can.

He was tempted to move the can and see the bottom line of his competitor's bid. What harm possibly could there be in reading her private information? After all, she had left it out in plain sight, almost. After wrestling with himself a while, he finally decided to take a peek.

As he lifted the soda can, he discovered the can wasn't filled with soda at all. Instead it was a bottomless can filled with 1,000 BBs which gushed out, and ran all over the desk and cascaded onto the carpet. His attempt to short-cut the competition was exposed.

Not every temptation is so obvious. Not every failure is so embarrassing. Still, every temptation is a challenge. (Mickey Anders, Six Flags Over Jesus)