5:30am, and I’m lying on my back, unable to sleep. A nice, quiet time to dwell on our current situation. Then, I recalled that we are running low on milk, so I decided that I would be super clever.
I got up, threw on some clothes and headed out to WinCo to grab a gallon or two. When I pulled into the parking lot, it was readily apparent that I was not so clever, or that there were a lot of equally clever people out there. They were standing in a line, about 20 deep at 5:45am. (Okay, maybe NOT so clever.)
It was also readily apparent that WinCo was not on it’s normal 24/7 game, because it was closed.
I sat in my car and read the hype on the news and checked out my social media, until about 5 minutes to the hour. Then sauntered over to the end of the queue. There was a surprising number of elderly people out on a death wish, which made me feel young.
6:00am came and went, and the doors did not open. I paused my headphones (Catfish & the Bottlemen) and asked the man in front of me what time it was supposed to open.
His answer? 7:00am.
Well that stunk. I wasn’t gonna stand in line for an hour for a shot at emerging victorious from the fray with one gallon of milk, so I left.
On my way home, I noticed that another one of our grocery stores was just opening. A line of people with carts was slowly entering the store. I decided to join them.
I grabbed a cart, just in case there was anything that caught my eye, (Sour cream donuts, etc.) and headed into the fray. A clerk at the door was happily wiping down carts with sanitizer and answering questions.
I was glad to find that there were some things there that were getting scarce, milk, assorted fresh meats, (limit 1) and bread, (limit 1). I bought mostly stuff I figured we would use over the next few days, because I detest the selfishness of the hoarding mentality. I also got some produce – let me tell you, nobody seems to be making a run on produce. I guess at times like these, eating healthy is not part of the self-quarantine meal plan, or people don’t care because it’s tough to hoard fresh fruit and veggies.
There was a stocker putting up cases of the cereal I wanted to buy (My son is into Cinnamon Life) so I reached past him and grabbed a couple of boxes. I figured it might be a good time to be nice. I said to the stocker:
“Hey, I just want to thank you for working your butt off while all of this is going on. I know the medical people are rightfully getting tons of praise, but I figure you have a greater impact on a lot of lives right now. Thank you!”
The stocker stood up and said, “Man, thank you so much! I’d give you a hug if I could. We don’t get a lot of compliments – mostly complaints. Like I have anything to do with what is ordered and shipped.”
I said, “You catch a lot of heat for that?”
“Yeah. It is amazing how rude people can be. It’s like they go crazy if you can’t give them what they want, right when they want it. Besides, if people would just shop normally, there wouldn’t even be shortages.”
I thanked him again and went up to the check out, but when I got there, I had an idea and turned back up the aisle. For the next 15 minutes I wandered the store, looking for any employees I could find, stockers, bakery and deli people, produce workers, etc.
All I did was take a minute to thank them for their hard work, and for even showing up to work. And I was sincere: I used to stock groceries when I was a younger man. It is a tough job. Tough on the knees, and tough on the back.
It was remarkable how grateful so many of them were for my simple show of gratitude. There were a couple who were cranky and didn’t seem to care, but, for the most part, they were receptive.
It was no big deal. It took just a few minutes, but I left the store feeling really, really good. Taking those few minutes might have brightened a moment for those workers, but I know that it brightened my mood.
So, if you are heading out, remember to be kind and grateful. It is a reward to both the giver and the receiver.
“I can live for two months on a good compliment.” — Mark Twain
Have a great day! New post tomorrow.