The Unattended Shopping Cart
by Juan Sepulveda
Yesterday, I visited a popular retailer to pick up a few items. After paying for my selections, I realized that I had a rather long drive home and should visit the restroom before leaving. I didn't want to bring my items into the restroom, so I approached one of the employees behind a cash register and asked "may I leave this here while I go to the restroom?" With an unpleasant tone, his reply was "Ok, but I am not responsible if someone takes something from it". I wasn't about to engage in a discussion with this young man while I had more pressing matters to attend, so without missing a beat I left the shopping cart next to him and hastily went to the restroom. I deemed his tone and response unprofessional and irritating. I would be lying if I pretended that his response didn't infuriate me. As I walked to the restroom, I was thinking of all the things that I would say to him upon my return. Here was an opportunity for me to teach this young man, that a little bit of empathy and tact could go a long way. I was ready to teach him a lesson about how he missed an opportunity to provide unrivaled customer service without having to do anything else than keep an eye on my cart.
"I deemed his tone and response unprofessional and irritating... I was ready to teach him a lesson"But before returning from the restroom, I realized that I was being the one without empathy. At least in my thoughts, I was being inconsiderate of him. I didn't know if this was his first job or if this was his first week tending to the stressful circumstances of manning a cash register. I was asking him to take on the responsibility to watch over my groceries in addition to the innumerable other responsibilities that came with his job assignment.
"after pushing a cart full of witty and condescending rebuttals through the labyrinth aisles of my mind, at the end I checked out with only one item"Perhaps the tone he chose wasn't the most welcoming one and his response was far from what I expected. But the only thing I had control over at that particular time was my response to him. Keeping calm and analyzing whether I was being inconsiderate in my expectations of that young man. I am proud to say that after pushing a cart full of witty and condescending rebuttals through the labyrinth aisles of my mind, at the end I checked out with only one item. As I returned to retrieve my shopping cart, instead of following my initial inclination of teaching him a lesson, I walked away with a lesson of my own. A lesson worth more than any of the items I could have lost from that unattended shopping cart.
Have you been in a similar situation, where you could easily have given someone a piece of your mind, but you didn't?-Please share your story with us in the comments section below. Your story could inspire someone else to behave more like a gentleman.-
Image Credit: "Red Shopping Cart" by Steven Depolo is licensed under CC by 2.0