I should know better than to go to a certain retail outlet on a busy Friday afternoon, but I needed to grab a birthday gift for our grandson. In spite of the crowds, it didn’t take long to find the desired Lego set plus a couple of things for myself in the cosmetics department. With my purchases in hand, I made my way to the express lane where you don’t know which cashier will serve you until you get to the front of the line. About ten people waited ahead of me, but the line was moving quickly.
Just as I reached the front and stood waiting for that magical “Please proceed …” instruction, an employee flagged me and said, “I can help you at Customer Service.”
I obediently followed her, but when we got there, someone else had arrived at her counter—someone whose shopping cart bulged with groceries they were buying on credit. The clerk gave me a sheepish glance and started taking care of her customer. I looked longingly back at the express line to see if I might be able to sneak back in, but another ten people had accumulated. I stayed put.
I’m not sure how much time went by, but I watched while the Customer Service clerk scanned the cartload of groceries, stopping intermittently to answer the phone or call for assistance. At some point she made an error and needed to start over. Three or four people now waited in line behind me. By this time, I was pretty sure the guy who’d been behind me in the original line was at home in his jammies. I started looking around for the hidden camera that would land me on Just for Laughs.
The waiting provided ample time for me to realize I had two choices. I could become bent out of shape, maybe even make a scene. I could call the clerk names and later rant about the store on Facebook. If I wanted to, I could probably work myself into a real dither.
Or, I could go easy on my blood pressure and remind myself of a few things, like:
1. The fact that the clerk meant well. She really did have good reason to believe she was speeding progress when she called me out of that line.
2. The fact that the clerk looked quite young. Could this be her first job? Possibly even her first week on the job? I remember those stressful, scary days.
3. The fact that I was in no real rush, and even if I had been—would an extra ten minutes make much difference in the big picture?
|Click here to hear the song.|
I started humming a song that Agapeland came out with when our kids were little. Maybe you know it. Herbert the Snail sings:
“Have patience, have patience, don’t be in such a hurry.
When you get impatient, you only start to worry.
Remember, remember, that God is patient, too.
And think of all the times when others have to wait for you.”
My patience was rewarded when I finally stepped to the counter and the manager said my purchases would be free.
Actually, I made that part up.
But on my way home, I came across a multi-vehicle accident in which I’d probably have died had I left the store ten minutes earlier.
Actually, I made that part up, too.
But I did leave the store with my dignity—and the clerk’s—still intact. Sometimes patience is the only reward required.