The Shopping Cart
Feb 27, 2017, The Shopping Cart
True confession. I look at what is in your shopping cart while in the checkout line. I ponder things like if you are a vegetarian or simply crazy for buying asparagus? It makes the trip to HEB a bit more fun. I usually shop 9:00 a.m. on Friday (my day off). There are few shoppers and fewer checkers, so I always have time to scan your cart.
Occasionally I feel the urge to offer to buy the groceries of a person in line with me. It doesn’t happen often and when it does I pay attention. The offers always results in a good experience. Whether they accept or refuse, they always appear shocked and thankful - and I end up feeling great.
I am in the checkout line on a Friday in early December. I hear “Offer to pay for the groceries of the person behind you.” I look back and see a well-dressed woman about 50 and her cart is full of expensive stuff. I have two quick thoughts. One, this is not somebody who needs my help and two, that is one loaded cart. I am in conflict. I have this voice saying “Buy the groceries for the person behind me” and I don’t want to. This woman doesn’t need my help with that expensive cart. Then a miracle happens. HEB opens the register next to us. The woman slides over to that lane and is no longer behind me – conflict resolved.
Again I hear, “Buy the groceries for the person behind you”, just as a very pregnant young woman and her Grandma push two overloaded shopping carts up behind me. I actually hear myself saying, “Excuse me, but would you allow me to make a gift to you today by paying for your groceries?” The look on the girls face goes from confusion to disbelief, so I repeat the offer. Finally, she simply shrugs and says, “Okay.” She explains my offer to her Grandma in Spanish and they both just look at me while it happens. $300 later their food is paid for and I have learned this young girl is scheduled to deliver her baby later that day. She hugs me, Grandma hugs me, we all have tears in our eyes, and we leave. That Friday morning three people left HEB with a gift.
Moral – Being a good listener is important.