Today I stopped to pick up some groceries on my way home from a haircut. The store seemed busy. When I went to check out, I found all available checkers engaged. I pulled into the most likely line to finish first and soon discovered my mistake.
At the register stood a woman with a pile of clothing in her cart. The checker had to remove each security tag as she scanned the items—socks, garments, totes, etc. If a price popped up the customer didn’t like, she’d reject it. The item would be removed from the register and placed off to the side. Purchases were then bagged and placed in the woman’s cart. Many of the clothing items were bulky and fought their way into a sack.
After watching this for ten minutes (and yes, I did look for another line) I became amused.
The checker remained professional and calm even though she struggled to tuck the growing pile of goods into the cart.
The man ahead of me, who only had a handful of sparkling water bottles and a couple of candy bars, rolled his eyes. He looked at me and pointed to a security camera above us. “It’s Candid Camera,” he whispered conspiratorially. “They’re capturing our reactions on film.”
Finally, the transaction completed, the woman pulled a credit card from her pack. She slid it through the register. The card was denied. The woman slid it again. Same result.
The checker offered to keep the sale until the woman could visit the ATM in the store and withdraw the cash. She declined, saying she had to go get the money elsewhere. The merchandise was removed from the cart. The sale suspended.
When my turn in line came, I told the checker what the man had said and she laughed. “We’ll see if she comes back.”
As I was driving home I saw the customer walking down the sidewalk, a male companion with her. Both carried big backpacks and heavy coats, even though the day was sunny and mild. The woman still wore the hat, scarf and knee high boots she’d had on in the store, though I hadn’t noticed them before. Perhaps that should have been my first clue.
Next time you’re standing in line, give thanks for the checkers who wait on you. You have no idea what customers or stress they’ve endured before you arrived. They’re paid to do a job. Pass on some kindness. Offer a laugh. Make someone’s day a little brighter.
Proverbs 17:22: A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.