Patience is a virtue

Yes, we’ve all heard that before, but to witness it is really a treat. Yesterday, at a Safeway in Ballard, Mike and I were rushing to get food and head over to a friend’s house. We were already late but not overly stressed. When we went to pick a register to check out in, there didn’t appear to be any ‘good’ lines. We had only a few items and with no self-checkout, we picked a line we thought best. Actually I think Mike picked the line, but you’ll have to ask him his side of the story to get a better picture of my recount. Anyway….
There were two people ahead of us. I didn’t pay any attention to what was going on because I went off in search of chocolates, but I was surprised when I returned that the line hadn’t moved and the cashier appeared to be having the same conversation with the fellow trying to pay. He was using his debit card and was surprised he could get cash back. The cashier was trying to help him make the *new* transaction to get him cash back and it was taking several attempts, walking him step by step, until finally, she pressed all the right commands on the card console for him. When she withdrew his cash, she was the same friendly cashier as when the transaction started, even as she explained how he could read his balance on the receipt.
We thought the line would move quickly after that transaction completed, but the elderly lady ahead of us was $6 short for her purchases and announced she’d have to write a check. Mike and I were starving so we had begun opening our protein shakes to curb our appetites while we waited. Again, the cashier kindly helped the lady complete her transaction, including writing in the purchase amount, which the elderly woman neglected to do.
When it was finally our turn to check out, the cashier, unphased by the previous two transactions rang us up and cashed us out. Now, you would think, so what? We got through with lightening speed by comparison to the other two transactions, but what was interesting was how she handled our purchases. She rang our food up and bagged everything; but when it came to the drinks, instead of bagging them after ringing them up she put them on the counter for us. Mike picked his up, finished off the last of it and without skipping a beat, she handed me the receipt and groceries, thanked me for shopping there and followed our thanks with an inquirey of Mike, asking if he was done with his drink. He was so she offered to throw it away for him. He handed her his empty container and we left.
The whole experience was a little surreal, but when we walked away we couldn’t believe how incredibly thoughtful and friendly she was. Despite the lengthy wait to be checked out, the experience she gave us had us smiling ear to ear. That woman deserves a bonus in her Christmas stocking this year and I could take lessons in patience, calm and friendliness in stressful situations.

About Audrey Sniezek

Audrey Sniezek is a rock climbing athlete and computer software/technology enthusiast.
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