Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I Remember "First Days"

This morning I went to the grocery store to pick up a few items that I needed.  Outside, it looked like rain so I naturally wanted to get in and out of the store as quickly as possible so that I wasn't stuck loading groceries in and out of my car during a rain storm.

Once I grabbed the last item, I waited in line to be checked out.  The number of lines open were sparse because there weren't many shoppers out since it was a "work" day. So, I picked a line and waited...and waited...and waited.  There was a woman in front of me who was the visual definition of aggravation.  Her Kroger card wasn't working and she wasn't about to pay "full price" for some fruit she wanted to purchase.  As you can imagine, the hierarchy of store personnel was dispatched one by one to assist a very frazzled checker.  

People behind me were groaning and giving dirty looks to the checker as they waited impatiently in line.  It was quite a lesson that was being given in my neighborhood store but no one was getting it.  I watched as the  supervisor then assistant manager, then the store manager frantically questioned the checker while punching and jabbing the buttons on her register.  Everyone was huffing and puffing, giving dirty looks, slapping a contrary cash register and I was watching the frazzled checker put the brakes on tears that wanted desperately to spill on her cheeks.

I asked her the obvious.  "This your first day?"  She looked at me mournfully and nodded yes.  I looked around again and the woman in front of me was still getting snippy with the hierarchy of store personnel and the sacker began shouting over the din, "Do you want me to open another register or what?"  All because people were being impatient.  Waiting for the line to flow again and for the poor checker who was having a glaringly bad first day.

She turned to me once more; "I'm so sorry..."  I waved her off and said, "Look, I remember first days.  They suck.  Once you've been doing this job for a several days, you'll look back and say, 'Why did I struggle with this so much?"  She listened and cocked her head as she thought about what I said.  "You're going to have ALOT of first days.  They all suck, the secret is to trust yourself and just get past that one day.  I have no where to be, so take your time."  She smiled gratefully and finally got to my checking of groceries.

Guess what? She didn't make any mistakes.  She had a smile on her face and I got a heartfelt, "Thank You." In this age of technology, we are becoming less and less patient, both with ourselves and others.   Next time you're standing in line and grumbling about it, remember, it might be someone's first day.

More Musings Later-