Saturday, February 21, 2009

Small, Pleasant Moments

The grocery where I shop has one of those self-checkout things but I never use it because I like to interact with the checkout person, and I choose the stores where I shop mostly by the friendliness of the people who work there. I know that my visiting and chatting with the grocery checker slows them down a bit, but I always shop at times when the store is not busy, so what the hell. I enjoy it, they seem to, and if there is anybody in line behind me I keep it sort of minimal.

Yesterday as I approached the checkout the young lady was cleaning the moving belt, had sprayed it with a Windex-like bottle of cleaner, and it was all wet. First she asked me to wait while she got it finished, then she noticed that I only had a few things and said I should put them on her scanner and she would check me out. I demurred, said I was happy to wait, but she insisted so I proceeded, and she was ringing my items up.

But then things started downhill when another customer stated to unload a basket, and a third started forming a line. The checkout girl was trying to ring up and bag my items and clean the belt at the same time and was getting a bit flustered. I was encouraging her not to rush, assuring her that none of us was in a hurry.

“Cleaning that seemed like a good idea at the time, didn’t it?” I told her, “There were no customers and you needed something to do, and then somebody opened the gate.” It sort of became one of those moments where everyone, in a minor kind of way, seemed to be having fun.

I had my items in my cart and she was about to start ringing up the next customer when I realized she had not given me the charge slip to sign, so I asked her for it. She was embarrassed and apologized as she put it for my signature and I said, “That’s okay dear, we’ll all hang in there together.”

I signed it and she and I wished each other a nice day. When I turned away I met the gaze of the manager who was standing about ten feet away, looking at me with a big smile on his face. I could clearly read his mind. He was thinking, “This guy is treating my staff nicely.” He and I exchanged nods, smiles, and I went my way.

And that is why I don’t use the self-checkout lines.


  1. Good for you! Such random acts of kindness tend to spread - I'll try to find one today.

  2. Anonymous8:36 PM

    I rarely use the self checkouts, only when I have a few (scannable) things. But good to interact and nicely when in the regular line.