There is way too much stress in this world. A while ago my husband and I waited in line to purchase a few items at a hardware store. The line was longer than we in America like to stand in, and there was frustration building. You could feel it. You know what I'm talking about. Heads begin to look around as if that action will beckon the arrival of another cashier. People begin to throw their hip out and exhale. Loudly. I know because I am usually one of those people. But on this day, I didn't really mind the line.
As hoped for, and most certainly brought on by the body language of the increasingly frustrated customers, a new cashier came to open up another register. Oh joy. We wouldn't have to wait those few minutes longer for "those slow people in front of us". Have you ever noticed that no matter what, the person in front of you always feels like "a slow person"?
But I must move on to the point. I tend to ramble, and I'm really working on that. Where was I? Oh yes, a new line! Choirs began to sing! Rose petals fell from the rafters! And my husband and I were the lucky ones who were called upon to be first in this new line! However, the new cashier looked stressed. Very stressed. Even angry. I don't know what had happened to her that day, but I decided to try and help her out of her funk. Let's call her, Matilda.
Matilda said in a very authoritative voice: "I'm open. No returns, no exchanges, and no checks!!!" That's when my plan went into action. I place my three items down, and pointed to each item, one at a time. I said: "I need to return this, exchange this, and I'll need to write a check for this." A moment of silence. But not for long.
Matilda responded loudly: "I just said: No returns, no exchanges, and no checks!!!" Then the people behind me began getting mad. I realized that I had better get out of this fast before Matilda (or someone about to buy a hammer) exploded or threw something at me.
"I was just kidding", I replied with my most award winning smile. No doubt Matilda would begin laughing and her day could start anew. Well, it didn't happen that way. But it did for others. The lady behind me began to laugh. So did a lot of the other people who heard the exchange. The lady behind me, let's call her Grace, said to me: "I can't believe how stressed out I was! When you said that you needed to return, exchange and write a check I got furious! And over such a little thing! Thank you for making me laugh. I needed it!"
Knowing that my work there was done, and seeing that Matilda still wasn't laughing, my husband and I left the store giggling like two little kids. I felt good. I had brightened someones day. Next time I buy groceries, I'm going to pretend that I want to pay with pennies. That ought to be good for a laugh!
- ▼ 2009 (5)