As I grow older, I find myself becoming more weary with our all-in-one discount store.
One particular day, i was annoyed by the lack of response at the deli case, then the apparent cluelessness of the clerk who finally waited on me. She asked me if I wanted my ham sliced at setting #1 or #2. As a customer unaccustomed to meat slicing machines, I had no idea how that translated into the thickness of a piece of ham. The store was out of diet cola, eggs were too expensive, and I had two near collisions with other customers.
By the time my husband found me, I was frazzled to the point of distraction. But I’ve made it my policy to show interest in the cashiers. It’s become so much a habit that before I can stop myself, I ask with all sincerity, “How are YOU?”
If I really wasn’t interested in knowing how someone was that day, I picked the wrong lane. My cashier of the hour was just waiting for that question. She told me how tired she was, how she had work six days in a row and how being busy only made the moments drag more. I wish I hadn’t asked. What would her supervisor think of her comments to a customer about her work schedule?
A reality check hit my weary brain. Because I believe in displaying grace, I had made the choice to look beyond the idiosyncrasies in order to value the person. While it may not have been professional for her to unload on me, I was operating under the code of grace, not the code of law. I was listening and sympathizing because I chose to put my rights as a customer aside so I could care about her needs as a human being.
Complaints and criticism hold others’ feet to the fires of our brand of law. Grace moves beyond our expectations and our own complaints to feel compassion for the other person.