I have this odd little habit of building relationships with people in my everyday life – not people that come over for dinner or go to church with us, but people I see on a weekly basis, almost without fail.
I shop at the same few stores every Monday just like clockwork. I’m a pretty regimented kind of person, so it’s not a surprise to those who know me well, but it’s also one of the two days we take Mark to work and I have the car (yep, we’re *that* family – the one without two cars).
Invariably, I end up being friendly to those at the store – I’m not an extrovert at all, but you’d never know it when someone who works at the store and whom I see every week engages me in conversation. 😉 I guess I just don’t like being grouchy enough to treat poorly those who serve me. And so, we have a collection of people in various locations.
It started innocuously enough when we lived down south. I had a newborn baby in a carseat in the cart at Meijer, and the lady at the checkout stand couldn’t resist peeking under the blanket and cooing at this precious little one. She saw us weekly with our grocery purchases and watched him grow for 5 years. And now, we still stay in touch, thanks to email, facebook, and blogging. *waves at Danielle* The same with the older lady who greeted us every day at the same store – she began to treat our son as though he was one of her grandkids.
When we moved north, it was a bit inevitable as well. I shop at the same stores, I strike up friendly little how-do conversations with the people behind the counter. So when Bob, at CVS, had an interview in Wyoming, he told us about it with a sparkle in his eye. And we asked about it the following week. And when Phil, the manager at the store winks and teases me about paying double for a prescription, I just tell him that it’ll be in Extra Bucks and he grins.
The Meijer up here is similar – we have a friend (Tia) who works in the dairy section and she talks to us every time we see her – and if we miss her, we catch up the following week. And there’s Jan, the sweet clerk at the u-scan at the same store – she smiles when the computer fusses at me about my coupons and helps out, but she’s also one who’s taken the time to ask about why I have a (clearly school-aged) kid with me when I shop. She smiles and sees how well he’s doing reading labels and helping me bag stuff up, and knows my plans to head back to school as well.
It’s kind of weird, but it works for us. And when I hear of other customers being grouchy or mean to those who work at retail establishments, I get annoyed. Life is short and most of the time, it’s not easy. But it’s not an excuse to treat others poorly. If they would just take the time to look around, the grouches would realize that the people who work to serve them are human beings too – worthy of respect and being well-treated by those around them.
I like this way of existing. It makes me smile and I hope it brightens the day of those with whom I come in to contact.