Friday, March 11, 2011

Smile at a Clerk Day

I don't know about your shopping experiences, but mine are typically dull and involve crossing paths with a store clerk who seems to hate their job. This is evidenced by their avoiding eye-contact and keeping their mouth shut as they go about the job. That is typical.

What is atypical is what happened to me yesterday when I was grocery shopping. At check-out, I was pleasantly greeted by a smiling face and asked how I was doing. This brought a smile to me too and we continued a pleasant, light conversation while she was checking out my groceries & I was putting the bags into my buggy.

As she was nearly finished, a voice spoke from the woman behind me in line saying, "Could you discontinue the personal visit? I wouldn't normally say anything, but this is too much. I would like to get through here today."

I could see the surprise and embarrassment on the store clerk's face and was kind of stunned myself -- as it was just pleasant chit-chat while she was scanning my things. It wasn't like the clerk was stopping her job to engage in some deep personal drama. Far from it.

I turned around and calmly said, "Well, I appreciate the friendliness, as what I usually see is someone who won't look me in the face or say anything at all."

The lady replied, "Well, the conversation slows you down and I would like to get through here today."

The clerk said nothing more, just totaled my bill and accepted my payment. Her spirit was crushed, that I could see. It made me angry that in just a brief moment, harsh words served to humiliate a person who was being pleasant and carrying out her job just fine.

Before leaving, I said to the clerk, "Thanks. I appreciate you."

Proverbs 15 talks about the harm done with the tongue and how words can crush a spirit. Let's smile today and encourage others who show simple kindness.

To God be the glory for all things †

* image found at


margaret said...

I have started sending small notes to the managers of stores with nice staff - just pointing out to them that Jane on till 15 was extremely pleasant and helpful. I used to work on the checkout in Marks & Spencer's foodhall and some customers were unbelievable - I'm never surprised now when I find clerks who don't want to speak - they're too worried you freak at them about the poly bags or put a £50 bill on the conveyer belt.

Steve Robinson said...

One of my "pet teachings" for decades has been that we need to shop like Christians and dine out like Christians... and that means showing love even to the incompetent, slow and rude.

A New Creation said...

Hi, my name is Glenn, I have just discovered you blog and I think it is absolutely beautiful. I am a new Christian and I really enjoy reading about peoples voyages into faith. Thank you for writing, you have made my day :-)
God Bless, Glenn

Related Posts with Thumbnails