Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Do a Good Turn - Day 6

EVENT - Earn the Miss Congeniality award at the grocery store.

Having spent most of my life as someone who worked part time at home I have been able to plan my grocery shopping for times when it is not a complete madhouse at the store. How nice for me, huh? Well, now I work for an accountant and during tax season I reluctantly become one of the masses that has to go to market during non-office hours. Did you know there are lots more shoppers in the stores at those times? You did? Oh. Did you also know that the higher the volume of people, the higher the potential clueless shopper factor is? Probably. Let's just say grocery shopping has become an opportunity for me to practice maintaining my calm center.

Today, rather than just maintaining myself , I decided to be Little Mary Sunshine. I struck up a conversation with a total stranger and we ended up laughing together over her valiant effort to retrieve the last bag of knock off Froot Loops from the very back of the bottom shelf. She made quite the picture down there on her hands and knees.

Later, when it was time to check out, all the open check stands had the kind of lines that should be reserved for the really good rides at an amusement park. However, the shopping gods smiled upon me and a new cashier came and opened the check stand right next to me. Sweet! With lightening speed I turned my cart toward the golden spot at the front of the next line. Just to be clear, I was in the most logical place to be the first one in that line. I wasn't being pushy trying to get there. Miss Congeniality wouldn't do that, would she? I looked over my shoulder and noticed the lady behind me had less than half as much stuff as I did. She was quite surprised when I offered to let her go in front of me and obviously didn't want to put me out by taking my place in line. In her effort to get through checkout as quickly as possible so I wouldn't have to wait any longer than necessary, she bumped into the display. Several packets of Tic Tacs clattered to the floor. She was apologetic, but I smiled as I stooped to gather them and told her I would take care of it while she checked out. She thanked me again and loaded her groceries onto the conveyor. Sounds cheesy, but I felt all warm and fuzzy inside.

Then in the parking lot after I put my things in my trunk I took a minute to gather a couple of abandoned shopping carts and take them to the cart corral. Obviously, I have no idea who will benefit from that apart from the kid whose job it is to wrangle the carts, but at least two people will have an easier time parking than they would have if I left those carts where they were. This is actually one of my favorite kinds of things to do - the kind where no one will know who did it and, in this case, won't even know that it was done. I feel sneaky in a good kind of way. It's fun casting these tiny seeds of truly anonymous service around.

COST - Again, none.
EFFORT - A little. I had to get over myself and talk to a stranger, twice. Then there was the whole (cough, cough) exhaustive effort of stooping to pick up Tic Tacs and wrangle two whole carts all by myself.
TIME - Maybe ten minutes for all of it combined.

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