Scrooge was sitting in his bedroom, waiting for the first of the three spirits that Marley had promised him. He was restless and nervous, wondering what they would show him, and how they would affect him. He shivered and pulled the blanket over his head, trying to shut out the sounds of the night. He wished he could sleep, but he knew it was useless. He knew that soon he would be visited by the ghosts of his past, present, and future, who would show him the error of his ways. He heard the clock strike one, and he looked around, expecting to see the ghost. But he saw nothing, and he heard nothing, except the wind and the rain outside.

He thought that perhaps Marley had lied to him, or that he had dreamed the whole thing. He was about to lie down and go back to sleep, when he noticed a strange light coming from the next room. He got up and walked towards it, curious and cautious. He opened the door, and he saw a sight that filled him with astonishment and awe.

The room was filled with a soft and gentle glow, that seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere. The walls, the ceiling, the floor, the furniture, were all covered with green branches, red berries, white flowers, and golden fruits. The air was fragrant with the smell of pine, holly, mistletoe, and oranges. The sound of music, laughter, and bells filled the room, creating a cheerful and festive atmosphere.

In the middle of the room, there was a simple wooden chair, such as would be found in village classrooms across the country. On the chair, there sat a figure that looked like a child, but also like an old man. He had a bright and radiant face, with curly hair and sparkling eyes. He wore a white robe, that shone like the snow. He smiled at Scrooge, and beckoned him to come closer.

Scrooge approached the figure, trembling and bowing. He felt a strange mixture of fear and wonder, of reverence and curiosity. He did not know who the figure was, or what he wanted from him. He said, in a low and humble voice:

“Who are you?”

The figure answered, in a clear and gentle voice:

“I am the Ghost of Procurement Past.”

“Long past?” asked Scrooge.

“No. Your past.” said the Ghost.

Scrooge looked at the Ghost, and felt a surge of emotion. He recognized the face, the hair, the eyes, of his own childhood. He saw the innocence, the joy, the hope, that he had once possessed. He felt a pang of nostalgia, but also a twinge of guilt. He said, in a soft and sad voice:

“What do you want from me?”

The Ghost said, in a kind and friendly voice:

“I have come to show you the shadows of the things that have been. The things that shaped your life, and your business. The things that made you who you are, and what you are. Come with me, Ebenezer Scrooge, and remember.”

The Ghost rose from his throne, and took Scrooge by the hand. He led him to the window, and opened it.

“Look, Ebenezer, look. Do you know this place?” asked the ghost.

Scrooge looked out of the window, and saw a familiar scene. He saw the city where he was born, and where he grew up. He saw the streets, the houses, the shops, that he knew so well. He saw the people, the children, the adults, that he had met and interacted with. He saw the sights, the sounds, the smells, that he had experienced and enjoyed. He saw his past.

“Yes, I know this place. This is where I lived, when I was a boy. This is where I learned, where I played, where I dreamed. This is where I began, my journey of procurement.” Scrooge said, in a surprised and nostalgic voice

The Ghost said, in a warm and encouraging voice:

“Yes, Ebenezer, this is where you began. And this is where we will begin, our journey of memory. Come with me, Ebenezer Scrooge, and see.”

The Ghost touched Scrooge’s heart, and they flew out of the window, into the night. They flew over the city, and the Ghost pointed out the places and the events that were important and significant in Scrooge’s life. He showed him the school, where he studied and excelled. He showed him the office, where he worked and impressed.

The Ghost of Procurement Past led Scrooge to a dismal office, where a young clerk was busy copying invoices and contracts. The clerk looked pale and weary, and his eyes were red from the flickering candlelight. He shivered in his threadbare coat, for the fire was almost out and the room was freezing.

“Who is that?” asked Scrooge, recognizing the place as his old employer’s.

“That is you, Ebenezer,” said the Ghost. “This is your past in procurement, when you first entered the world of business. You were a diligent and ambitious worker, but you cared nothing for the welfare of others. You sought only to increase your profits, by any means possible. You exploited your suppliers and neglected your employees.

You had no joy, no love, no compassion in your heart. You were a miser, a hoarder, a buyer.” Scrooge looked at his younger self with a mixture of pity and contempt. He remembered how he had wasted his best years in that gloomy office, pursuing wealth and power, but finding neither happiness nor peace. He felt a pang of regret, but also a spark of hope. Perhaps it was not too late to change his ways, to learn from his mistakes, to become a better man.