Went to our local supermarket with hubby this afternoon. He knows that one of my favorite fruits to eat is the one we all think of as a vegetable; ripe, red, beautiful tomatoes. I’ll pick them up and eat them like apples; no full meal required. To consider them only an accompaniment to something else is not to understand their delectable heavenly glory.
There was a great display of them at the market today, and as I picked out some bananas at the other end of the produce counter, I watched hubby carefully choose the tomatoes for us (but really for me), gingerly putting them into a plastic bag one by one. Just watching his care with his choices put a big smile on my face.
Grocery shopping done, we arrive at the check stand and soon discover that our cashier is not a happy camper. No idea what it was, but by the time we arrived, whatever had set her off had cast a dark cloud over her entire countenance, and it was clearly affecting everyone else.
I watched as the two customers ahead of us quieted down and physically seemed to withdraw into themselves, visibly holding their breath in the hopes of finishing their transactions quickly, escaping any possible igniting of her seething wrath. To look at her was almost painful, and I couldn’t help but wonder just how long it had been since she’d last smiled.
It’s our turn, and hubby smiles at her and says, “Hello.”
She looks at him, still unsmiling, slightly lifts her head to just acknowledge that he said something to her, and starts to fling our items down the length of her check stand to a waiting bagger after she scans them. Corn on the cobb ” umm, okay. Oh no, not the bananas too! Yes, even the bananas get flung.
The tomatoes are next; and now unable to resist after all his care in selecting them, hubby reaches his hand out to grab the tomatoes the moment she’s scanned them so she can’t fling them down to certain bruising as she’s done with everything else.
He’s broken the spell. She looks up at him, as if she’s only seeing us for the first time, the tears start to come, and she says, “I’m so sorry, thank you for stopping me.”
Hubby responds, “It’s okay, you can do this. You can make whatever it is okay. I know you can.”
She smiles, the smile I was hoping would come, and in mere moments everything seems to be okay.
How long had this gone on?
How many other customers had been affected before we got there?
Was it just today, just with this one checker, or do others have days like this in that market?
Where was the manager charged with creating a great workplace? Could he (or she) possibly have missed seeing the darkening mood, the cautious customers, the flung food?
If not a manager, where was the co-worker to take notice, and to offer care?
Why did so many people choose to walk on the eggshells and not protect their tomatoes?
Please notice. Just one employee can profoundly affect your business in so many ways.
From the archives; The papaya tree