My Reaffirmation People Are Good Moment

A little while ago, I was standing in line at a massive chain, retail store, and despite it being fairly busy, only one poor cashier was working up front. Due to the fact the store was heavily populated with customers at the time (it was around the period many people would be getting off work) and one cashier was trying to do check out, there was a long and quickly growing line. You could tell the poor girl was a little flustered with the craziness of having to handle all these people who wanted to get home as quickly as possible. In her hurried state, she forgot to give one customer his change before closing the till. Due to what I would assume is an anti-theft feature, the till could not be opened unless a purchase was made, or if one unlocked the till with the special. magical key (I'm not entirely sure if the key was actually magical).

The poor girl got even more flustered and nervous once she realized she did not give the customer his change. She continually apologized for her mistake, and promised she would try to remedy it quickly. The problem was, the person who had the ability to open the till was not currently in the store (may have been off fighting dragons in order to protect the magic key, but this was never confirmed). She then was constantly calling someone in the backroom, asking them to bring a key to the front so she could open the till. She did this while trying to check out the other customers (who all were using credit cards or debit, thus the till still couldn't be opened). I am not sure what they were doing in the backroom, but their way of helping her was calling for the lady -- who the girl told them had left store -- to go to the front to help the cashier. Maybe it was a magic intercom, where even those out of the store could hear its message? Does anyone remember a magical disembodied voice asking for Dianne to go to the front of the store?

Now, you may have noticed today's title was not, 'Crazy People in the Back Fail to Help Poor Cashier', that is because I was leaving out the very best part of this little tale. The whole time this poor girl was trying to take care of cusrtomers, and was continually apologizing to the man who she failed to give change to, the man who lacked change just patiently waited and continually assured her it was okay. He even told her that everyone makes mistakes, and she has no reason to feel bad for such an honest error. But he wasn't the only one, every customer that came to the till understood she was flustered, and gave her no problems for being a little slow.

Finally, it was my turn to pay for my items (for those who really want to know, it was milk -- oh so exciting!!!). Luckily, I had some cash on me, which meant that she no longer had to frantically call to the back (who may have been swallowed by the very dragon the missing lady was out hunting for), but instead, was finally able to open the till. She thanked me over and over, and then gave the money to the patient and now full of change customer -- who to his credit, again let her know it was no problem and she had no reason to apologize.

After my milk was paid for, I wished her a grand evening, and told her she was doing a great job and had no reason to be so stressed. She then started on about how she was just getting flustered because there were so many customers, and she made a mistake that slowed down the line. It was then that the next customer told her that it was only retail, and if any one had a problem waiting for a few seconds then they should be more forgiving and understanding, thus it was their problem. She seemed to feel better after that statement, and I decided my work there was done (I'm sort of like a real life superhero, really).

The thing that has stuck with me this whole time, is not that the cashier made the simple mistake of closing the till before delivering the change (in my days of manning the cash, I was guilty of that once or twice during a hectic time), but rather the fact all the customers acted in a very atpyical fashion (or at least, not in the way most would depict someone having to wait in a line for a long time while wanting to get home). Every single person was patient, and tried to encourage the rather obviously tired and frustrated cashier. I am sure everyone wanted to get through that line fast, but nobody demonstrated that feeling, because they probably knew it would only make the poor girl feel worse.

I am an eternal optmist and like to think. that deep down almost everyone is actually a fairly decent person. We understand that in order for community to work, that you need to treat others with empathy and respect. This was demionstrated in such a simple but powerful way in the store that day. It gave me hope for my fellow man (and woman). It reminds me that I need to always try to act as respectful and empathetic as possible when dealing with employees at stores. I am glad that the girl was treated like a human being, rather than some Server Bot (like the ones they employ at McDonalds).

I would be remiss if I did not note that all the people in the line at the time were men. I am not saying the situation would have been different if there were women in the line, but I am saying this rather patient line was full of men. I will leave you with this thought, many have said that there would be no war on our lands if the world was run by women, but I say that if women did rule the world, all the wars would be waged in retail stores.


  1. Anonymous3:18 pm

    Jude Martin via Facebook:

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