Generally speaking, I consider myself a pretty level-headed individual capable of meeting the many frustrations that confront me on a daily basis in my little town. On Friday I had numerous errands and managed to get them all done in a relatively short period of time, which surprised and pleased me. Because I was already in the center of town, I decided to go into the nearest (of three) supermarket to purchase a bag of dog food.
I went in, got my item from the shelf and proceeded to the cash register. There was one register open (of course), four people were ahead of me on the line and in a few minutes four people were also behind me. This particular store is s-l-o-w unless it’s s-l-o-w-e-r whether one person is on line or ten people are on line. I think it’s the air. I always forget this until I have already invested some time waiting on line and then can’t decide whether to be patient and stay or go elsewhere. I stayed. Someone behind me articulated impatience, prompting the opening of a second register.
It has been my experience that a properly-trained employee is alert, aware and competent. This employee was not, so rather than saying: “Next person on line” when she was ready, she just said (to no one in particular) “You can come over here”. I was still in the middle of my line and it is my policy never to run in a situation like this, so I stayed firmly planted while the four people behind me rushed frantically to the other line. Eventually, I was the next person on my line and as I placed my bag of dog food on the counter, a woman who had been the last person on my line originally and was now the second person on the new line, jumped in front of me and demanded that her items be scanned and paid for because she had to run or the bus would leave her and she didn’t think I would mind. Well, I did mind.
My first reaction was disbelief. The cashier was just about to comply with the woman’s demand when I stood a little straighter (which didn’t make me much taller, I admit!) and said: “I don’t think so. I have been here for a long time and I don’t think it’s fair. If the bus is about to leave without you, perhaps you should go get it and do your shopping later.” The woman replied that I needn’t be so huffy, that heaven was waiting and that we would all get there eventually. I admit I still don’t get her meaning. She took her place behind me on line and I left with my purchase.
As I walked to my car, which was parked pretty far away, I had time to digest what had just happened. I felt the odd exhilaration one gets after finishing an unpleasant task successfully. I am constantly defending the rights of others, yet I rarely stand up for myself. I was silently grateful for the woman for this opportunity and I hoped she caught her bus. I am practicing new behaviors for personal growth constantly, what about you?