Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Wouldn’t it be handy if there was a computerized inventory of things we run out of at home? Maybe the system could have a gentle beeping warning signal to alert us when the toilet paper supply was running low or when there was only enough cream for two more cups of coffee. I don’t know, Droid probably does it for me and I’m not aware of that particular application.

Yesterday everything ran out at once. So I made a list, forced a smile and headed to the Super Center. I’m determined to remain calm when the sliding doors swish open because most people are a little on edge at the Super Center. Maybe because they know they are about to spend a chunk of money, or they’re in a hurry to get out, or they’re dragging around three kids pushing and kicking each other.

I marked everything off my list and as I walked toward the checkout I hoped my popsicles wouldn’t melt in the slow moving line. After reading my email on Droid and catching up on the latest according to the magazine covers, I realized I was still standing in the same spot. I excused myself, backed out of line and pushed my cart toward the express line hoping I had 20 items or less.

I had exactly 20 things in my cart if the two bunches of bananas counted as one. I started loading up the counter when the cashier put up the “Checkout Closed” sign behind my groceries. I smiled and said, “I’m so glad I made it to your checkout before you closed.”

She looked at me blankly and said, “I turned my light off three customers ago.”

“I am so sorry,” I said staring at the loaded up counter. “I didn’t even look at the light. I always look for the sign.”

“Don’t worry,” she sighed. “You aren’t the only one that doesn’t notice the light. You won’t believe how angry people get when I put up that sign so I wait until there is a little break and sneak it up here. We have the worst job ever because people are just testy.” She went on to tell me mean people stories as she scanned my things.

As I listened adding “Oh, no!” and “Really?”, I tried to remember if I had been short at the check out lately, vowing to myself to be extra kind from now on. As I put the last plastic bag in the cart I thanked her and said I hoped the day went smoother for her.

She smiled, thanked me for listening. I was again reminded how important it is to simply be kind.

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