I genuinely like our neighborhood grocery store. The people are super nice, and if you go first-thing in the morning, you’re 1 of only a handful of shoppers – which is cool, because I have a problem with cart etiquette, or, rather, other customers’ lack thereof. As nice as the employees are, I still kind of hate grocery shopping.
Oh, woe is me, shopping in a well-stocked Midwestern grocery where everything is reasonably priced and I’m not confined by a difficult budget.
The store employs several special-needs folks. The guy who talks to himself constantly is a good fit for bringing carts back inside from the parking lot. And there’s a sweet bagger who offers a very practiced greeting every time I go through her checkout lane. Her eyes dance, and she’s always smiling. I try really hard to be fully present when I interact with her, because she’s giving the interaction 100%. I owe her the same.
There’s a new bagger, and he obviously finds his job very challenging. He doesn’t smile or otherwise acknowledge anyone, and, truth be told? He’s not a very good bagger. He takes forever, and produce ends up underneath canned goods. As That Lady who unloads her cart in the order things should be bagged, it kind of hurts me.
But mostly, it hurts me how I find myself impatient and annoyed.
This is someone’s child. This young man concentrates and works really diligently. I should be less focused on his lack of eye contact and my smooshed leafy greens. I need to take the extra time waiting as a moment to send him good vibes and mental thanks. Is it really that big of a deal to spend an extra minute for the luxury of someone else bagging my groceries? Why do I feel so hurried and cranky, anyway? Since when am I such a horrible person?
Today, I decided that my new bagger friend was the Picasso of grocery bagging. Yes, his methods are untraditional, and he has that distant, artistic temperament. But 50 years from now, people will be laughing at my close-minded lack of vision, and how I didn’t appreciate the taste explosion caused when tomatoes rupture slightly inside a grocery bag. This kid’s got greatness.
So, I smiled. I told him “thank you,” even if he didn’t acknowledge me. And I moved on.