Monday, May 24, 2010

the grocery store experience

I went to Wal-Mart on a Sunday afternoon. Here lately, I have not enjoyed grocery shopping. We have this new budget and along with the budget, a new rule that says we have to keep a running total of what we're buying while we're shopping to ensure that we do not go over our allotted amount of grocery money. You pick up an item, put it in the basket (or cart as Weston calls it...big debate...) and then enter it in the calculator. It doesn't sound that bad until you actually have to experience it. Because you see, people around you are not patient. They want you to grab your item and go, get out of their way. It's like the biggest inconvenience in the world that you actually take 2 seconds to enter something in a calculator before moving along. It makes me anxious. People stare. Why can't we all just be a little more kind and patient? :)

But that wasn't the most awkward part of my Wal-Mart experience. I get in line after an exhausting hour of shopping and I am pretty defeated. Not really feeling friendly and talkative. The guy in line in front of me is probably one of the most friendly and talkative guys ever, but luckily he is talking to the cashier, not me :) So he tells her all about his family and his daughter that had cancer and how she wasn't supposed to survive but she did and her hair grew back beautifully and she is living proof that there is a God, you know all that fun sentimental stuff. I just listened quietly and sort of smiled to myself. Nice man. He pays for his groceries and leaves.

Then it's my turn. I notice the cashier's eyes are sort of watering when she begans to scan my items and then she stops, I look closer, and notice that she is crying. A lot. Umm... What do I do?

I just give her a sort of sympathetic smile... She can't even talk at the moment because she is crying so much. All she can get out is, "That man..." and "He could have talked about anything..."

I still don't know what to do. All that is running through my mind is this conflict management stuff we learned at a conference last week. When someone is crying you give them the FSS- Friendly Silent Stare. So, that's what I do. I was sort of waffling in my head, "You do the FSS when you're in conflict with someone and they're crying, but is that what you do when a stranger is checking out your groceries and crying??" But I went with it anyways. She apologizes and I told her not to worry about it and to just take her time.

She eventually says, "He could have talked about anything but he had to talk about cancer!" I thought about asking her about it but didn't want to make her cry a lot again so I decided to go with the FSS again. We eventually get through all of my groceries and on my way out I tell her to have a great day. She says, "As long as that man doesn't come back with more sad stories!!"


  1. That does sound so awkward. I'm not sure what I would have done either. Way to keep your cool!

  2. Maybe she just lost someone to cancer, or just found out someone has cancer thats close to her.... that would be awkward though lol