Thursday, March 11, 2010

Be kind (especially at the grocery store) ...

Last weekend I made a quick grocery run to grab a few items at our local food store. I was so tempted to forget the trip all together when I saw the number of cars in the parking lot. Anyone else dread going grocery shopping? It’s one of those have-to-do tasks in life. Try as I may – there are some day when making the grocery run fun just isn’t happening. And trust me we’ve tried everything to make them fun.

The best game we like to play is called Grocery Store GPS - my daughter pretends to be my human GPS and in her best digital voice directs me around the store. When she is with me – I don’t mind grabbing the toilet paper and the bottle of ketchup. “You have arrived – makes it all worthwhile!”

OK back to the trip last weekend. I made this trip alone – no adorable “You have arrived” voice to make it fun. It’s just me on a mission to get the needed items and get home.

In line – 3 people in front of me with their carts heaping full of enough food to last for a month. All other lines are full of heaping carts. So I wait. And as I wait I begin to notice the attitude of shoppers around me. It becomes almost comical. And I found myself smiling – big Cheshire cat smile.

The lady directly in front of me is on the cell phone unloading her goods and is engaged in quite a loud shout with whoever is on the other line. We could all hear her frustration and anger. In the middle of the conversation she tells the checker how to do her job. She bags up her goods (all the while on the cell phone) and marches out of the store. Dark cloud on the move!

My turn to unload my cart – I look at the lady who is checking the groceries and simply ask: “How are you tonight?” Her response: “I’m tired.” And then she stopped and asked: “How are you?” And before I could respond she said: “You are very polite.”

This caught me off guard. I wanted to stop right there in the store and have a nice chat with her. I could see she was about 8 months pregnant and she did look tired. I could only imagine what a job like that could do to your nerves. As much as I dislike making the grocery run – I am always so thankful for the people who work there day in and day out – listening to that beep… item after item. And somehow, they always have a smile. The line was too long behind me to tell her all that so I looked at her and said: “Thank you, life is too short and too wonderful to not be kind.”

Now she had a Cheshire cat smile. No black clouds in that interaction.

I’ve thought about that little grocery store moment a few times this week and I couldn’t help but wonder the following – Have we become so reliant and involved with our electronic devices that we fail to recognize and interact with the people that are right in front of us? Are we so busy and consumed in ourselves that we don’t or can’t reach out to offer a word of hope to another? I hope not.

This week – slow down … look people in the eyes and recognize the beauty that is happening right in front of you! (I will too.)

Maybe just maybe if we tried living in the moment (with the electronics off) – the grocery trips would be a much better experience all together!


idahomayos said...

So true Wendy so true! I remember how your smile could light up a day. How lucky that cashier at the grocery was to have you stand in her line!

Kami said...

The last time I shopped alone at the grocery store I paused to consider which cake mix to buy, and as soon as I put it in my cart an old man said, "Can I ask you a question?" I thought maybe he was lost so I conceeded and he asked, "Has anyone told you how beautiful you are today?" It made me laugh and I thanked him. I didn't know whether or not to be creeped out by it actually but he seemed nice enough. I think we should compliment each other more often.

NaDell said...

So very nice. I try my best to notice those around me as well. Vincent likes to flirt with all the ladies in the store, which is pretty fun. We actually just returned from our grocery outing. It's amazing what talking to actual people in the store can do for me and for them. I even handed off a coupon to a guy that I wasn't going to use. He told me that his girlfriend normally clips coupons but that he forgot today. Ironic?
Have a fabulous Thursday, but I'm sure you already will with your big nice smile. =)

Rach said...

Thanks for sharing. Every time I'm at the grocery store, I remember your tip from your book, to always return your cart to the cart return. I always leave feeling like I'm doing my part. Thanks again for the advice!
Love you!

Shaela said...

have I told you lately how much I miss you? I MISS YOU!!! There is a gal in my ward who I CONSTANLY think is you. You're seriously soul twins. Look alike, sound alike, act alike... same spirit dwelling in 2 bodies. I wish you could meet her. Her name is Nikki and she is amazing, just like you. She helps me not be so lonesome for my Wendy-bird. :)

Shelley Horton said...


I remember once in a meeting that someone had told me that when asked politely how they were doing most people either answer with the usual, fine and you? or they are unfortunately truthful with a depressing answer (I am no exception to either).
However, it did make an impact on me when they said that they tried to find a new response like fabulous, wonderful, exceptional and so on.
After a while using those words actually make you feel that way and are likely to start a converstion or make someone else perk up.
So, my recommendation is to try not to use the usual response and find something new. :)

Arya said...

THank you...I try not to be "a dark cloud on the move" and your post reminds me to try a bit harder & enjoy life a bit more.

idahomayos said...

Wendy! I miss your "little" thoughts! :) Hope all is well. I know you are busy with your new. old. house! It is beautiful! You guys have worked hard! Just wanted to say hi. Happy moving!!