Archive for August 22nd, 2008

For the last four years, when I’ve been working a day or two per week away from home, Michael–Bless him!– has done the regular grocery shopping.  Now that the family schedule has changed and I am home every day without teaching responsibilities, I think it’s time to reclaim the chore.  So, today was grocery shopping day. 

At one of my stores, carts are procured by inserting a quarter in to a mechanism on the cart handle that releases the cart from the one ahead of it that it is locked into.  It is customary that, if a shopper is approaching the cart lineup and another customer is returning a cart, the newcomer shopper will give the departing shopper her quarter in exchange for the just-used-about-to-be-returned cart, rather than inserting her quarter into a new cart.  Ready to make that transaction as I approached the store this morning, my quarter was waved away as the other shopper turned over her cart to me:  “My kids will just get it out of my purse” was her reason for just letting me have her cart without taking the quarter.  So, I thanked her and hoped that I would be able to return the kindness.  In fact, as I went into the store, I wondered if it ever happens that a cart will be “given” to subsequent shoppers all down the line for an entire day…. that would be cool, I thought.  When I was ready to leave, another shopper was just arriving, and I asked if she needed a cart.  Answering in the affirmative, she reached for her quarter, and I was able to explain that somebody had given the cart to me, so I wanted to do the same for her.  I hope the morning kindness is still continuing into this afternoon hour.

I have found over the years that a trip to the grocery store affords lots of opportunities to be kind.  Think of all these ways that a simple act might be a huge blessing in someone’s day:

  • When the person behind my full cart steps into line with just a couple of items, I can let her go ahead of me.  Those few minutes might make the difference between her being late or on time for something (or someone) important–or might simply reduce the stress in a stressful day by at least a little bit.
  • If I see someone short trying to reach something on a high shelf, I can ask if I could help them reach that.  That simple act might save someone from being “beaned” by a can falling off a shelf that is out of reach. 
  • If I see someone puzzling over a product that I’ve used and have been happy with, I can give a store aisle recommendation. 
  • I can smile undertandingly to the mom who is stressed by a little one in the check-out line–or I can smile at the child.  Sometimes that little distraction can be just enough to break the tension or refocus life into a positive mode.
  • I can acknowledge the well-behaved child in the store to the parent–a little of that goes a long, long way in bolstering mommy self-image; I speak from past experience!
  • I can thank the cashier who takes the extra time to double bag my purchases (I will rise up and call her blessed when the bottom does not fall out of my bag in the store parking lot). 
  • I can compliment the cashier who is efficient as well as friendly.  (Try it–you will be amazed at the ear-to-ear smile that appears!)
  • I can go a step farther and take the extra time to search out the store manager and compliment an employee to him or her (I love that one–it totally surprises both the employee and the manager.)
  • I can return my cart to the car corral–and any nearby strays, too.  (This is especially invigorating on a blustery November day :-))

Do these things matter?  I was reminded this morning that sometimes people are watching when we don’t realize it.  I let a lady with a couple of items compared to my couple of dozen go ahead of me in the checkout.  Since I was already loading my items onto the checkout belt, the lady told the cashier I had let her go ahead, to which the cashier replied, “That’s sounds like something she would do.  I’ve seen her do it before.”  Wow–that was a humbling moment! 

And then, too, there are the Eyes that always see…and more than the accolades of the cashier, nice as they are, it is the “Well done!” from the Heart behind those eyes that I want to matter most to me.

(I was thinking, too, this morning:  I’m going to be keeping the Granddaughter some on Friday mornings this semester.  Maybe I’ll have the chance to do some early training on grocery aisle opportunities! )


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