As luck would have it, my items would not scan...the registrar was out of tape and needed to be reloaded. It was easy to tell that this poor lady was used to working the floor and was not well experienced working the cash as she was having a difficult time installing the tape into the machine and was getting more flustered by the minute. I told her that it was OK and just take her time ... I was in no hurry, then focused my attention on what was going on around me so she would not feel that I was watching her. I too have a hard time doing tasks when I know someone is watching over me...things I can normally do with my eyes closed...and will become a bumbling idiot if I feel I am being watched.
As she struggled with the tape a couple of ladies...and I use this term loosely... joined the line behind me and immediately started to complain about her incompetency, making no attempt to keep their comments quiet. The more they talked, the more clumsy and flustered the clerk got and the more I felt her pain. I was transported back over thirty years when I worked at this very same store.
Like her, I was in charge of a department and I was good at my job, but occasionally, when things got busy, I would be called to open a cash.
I hated it!
If anything could go wrong it seemed it would happen to me, and with a line up of people waiting I would break out into a sweat and turn red as Borscht soup. While most people would be polite and patient, there were always the asses who were so full of themselves and their importance in the world that they did not hesitate to complain loudly. I remember wishing I could sink under the counter.
While my experience as a sales clerk when I was in my teens made me empathic for the position this sales clerk was now in, it did not give me courage, for I did what I always do. I kept my mouth zipped when I so wanted to turn around and tell those "ladies" to lighten the f*** up. I left the store feeling angry and discussed at myself for not speaking up.
But this tale has a happy ending...
I made one more stop on my way home, a local video store, to pick up a movie, when the sweetest little girl (I'm guessing around three years old) turned to me, a complete stranger, poked her finger at my boob and exclaimed, "I like those!" She was pointing to my tank top's purple sequin and bead "sparkies."... positioned...well, over my boob. While her Dad pretended he didn't just see his daughter poke a strange lady in the boob, I knelt down beside her and said "I do too! And I really like Strawberry Shortcake", pointing to the movie she was holding in her hands, to which she gave a big smile and a "Me too!."
This little girls exuberance was all it took to "un-grump" me and was a reaffirmation that:
- I made the right choice thirty + years ago to not return to a costumer service type job but start an in home daycare.
- If you like sparkly things you should not be afraid to wear them.
- Don't wait till you're old to wear purple!
Are you afraid?