I had a weird experience in the supermarket this morning.
It didn’t involve (as past weird supermarket experiences have) a fellow shopper who belches and whistles almost simultaneously, or the peculiar lady who speaks to the packages of raw chicken, both of whom I’ve encountered on previous shopping excursions.
Today, as I do every time I go food shopping, I used the store’s “mobile pay” system. I have an app on my phone, scan and bag my items as I shop, and (on the occasions when the kiosk is actually operational) swipe my credit card on the way out of the store, grab my receipt, and go on my merry way.
But, as it frequently is, the mobile pay kiosk was out of order this morning, which meant I had to wait for a manager to try and unsuccessfully fix the machine (Once, she was actually able to fix it by blowing on it. I’m not kidding). For a moment this morning, it even looked like my order wasn’t going to transfer from my phone to her register, in which case she’d have to re-scan all of my already bagged items. Annoying and time consuming, but not the end of the world.
To my delight, she was able to process my order at her register. Now, here’s where the weird part comes in.
She began to thank me. Profusely. In a way that confused me. I must have had a bewildered look on my face after the first “thank you,” because she explained to me that she wishes they didn’t even have this stupid mobile pay, and not because she feels her job will be in jeopardy (because clearly, she is still essential). But because she gets yelled at by customers when the self-pay kiosk isn’t working. Every. Single. Day.
So, basically, she was thanking me for not being rude to her.
And this made me a little sad, both for this woman who has to go to work every day, expecting that she is going to be treated poorly, and for our society as a whole, because treating someone without courtesy has apparently become so commonplace.
I’m going to assume that this manager’s stop when she arrived at work that morning wasn’t the mobile pay kiosk, where she entered a “let’s screw with the customers” code. And I’d ask that you do the same. Give someone the benefit of the doubt today. I promise, you’ll feel better about it later.