Double Take

Taking a second look at life experiences

Archive for the category “Life”

Does the cashier need to be authentic?

"Have a Nice Day!"

“Have a Nice Day!”

by Ruth Schapira

In our everyday lives, we can become as robots. Not seeing, hearing, or reacting to what’s around us. This experience can happen in your local supermarket.

A short time ago, I was at the “12 items or less” express line, counting my items to make I did not go over the limit (do you do this too?). I didn’t want the person behind me to think that I wasn’t following proper supermarket etiquette. After I paid, the cashier said “Have a nice day” and I said “thank you, you too–have a great day!” and mentioned that actually I forgot something, and would be back in the line again.

Why did I even tell her this? Does my interaction with the cashier have to be ‘real’? Would she actually care that I forgot something? Doesn’t she have enough to think about without minding my business? What’s it to her if I show up in her line a few minutes later?  Was she getting paid by how many people she served that day? 

She ignored my comment, and I quickly went to get the item I forgot. I got back into the same line no more than 3 minutes later. I couldn’t help myself: “Hi, I’m back” as if she cared that I returned for a second or even third time. She didn’t acknowledge my attempt to connect with her, and wasn’t remembering that I had been there a few minutes earlier. I was her next transaction, and it was not part of her job to notice things like this. So, she scanned my one item, fetched a new bag and said “Thank you, Have a nice day” as if she saw me for the first time. She must have said these words hundreds of times before. This is just another version of “Hello, How are you?” that she says in the beginning of the transaction, not expecting or wanting a reply.  This is what we expect from our transactions.

So why did this tiny interaction bother me? It wasn’t that unusual or unique. Things like this happen to everyone almost every day. Why write about it? 

She’s a cashier and has a job to do. So what if she doesn’t relate to the people in her line. She was trained to say the same thing to each customer, over and over. This happens everyday and everyone just moves on. Get over it. 

We are surrounded with opportunities, sometimes small and insignificant ones, to connect with people. On a person-to-person level. Not a person-to-machine level. We need to grab what we can, when we can, to make interactions with people pleasant and yes, even a little significant.

The cashier has little reason to acknowledge me other than just being an authentic person who interacts with another human being. We can behave as people, even for the most minor interactions, which I don’t think is a bad thing at all.

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Sweat the small stuff: a lesson from weeding

Don't let the size fool you

Don’t let the size fool you

In Southeastern Pennsylvania the weed season is just beginning, but it’s early enough to know that I won’t do what I did last year. I went after the ‘big kill’ –pulling those weeds that were the largest, tallest, and the most bothersome instead of dealing with the much smaller ones much closer to the ground. The ones I pulled were tall with thick stalks, their roots lying just beneath the surface and shallow enough to be plucked up rather unceremoniously.

I decided to leave the small weeds where they were, as they seemed quite harmless, and pulling them out wouldn’t do anything to rid my poor mulched beds of having to cope with neighbors’ pity that no one was tending to it.

What a mistake. The small weeds were a pernicious bunch, crawling all over while being nearly impossible to pull out. Their root systems covered way more territory than the big, chunky stems that easily ejected from the landscaping a week earlier with a slight pull.

size is deceiving

size is deceiving

So, what did I learn? That sometimes you need to sweat the small stuff. You need to take care of small things when they happen, before they get out of hand. Details are important. It’s the little things that sometimes count. Going after the easy things first does nothing to spare you from dealing with what needs to be dealt with. It just makes things harder.

What Double Take Is About

Welcome! This blog takes a second look at life from a wry point of view. Do you see things that make you laugh? Cause you frustration? Do you see things differently than most people? Do you have great insights into everyday things? Do you often stop for a double-take? If so, then this is the place to read about similar feelings and hopefully share your experiences. Please comment so fellow readers and I can share your musings.

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