Thursday, July 19, 2012

Polite and Patient

An imitation of my fake smile

I made a mid year resolution to be more patient with people.  I am really trying to be a kinder and more compassionate human being as well.
The new me was sorely tested yesterday.  I was in a bit of a rush as I had to go back to the office and fetch Michael and I had already been delayed.

I was in the super market; I picked the items that I wanted to purchase.  When I reached the tills I chose the one that had only one person buying only a few items.  Makes sense right?

Purchasing her few items was an elderly lady.  One of those ladies who you would not tell was elderly until you saw her hands and heard her voice.  From a distance I thought she was early fifties.  She fooled me because of course I know that “old dears” are not a good idea to be behind at a till.

Old Dear had perhaps 10 items in her basket.  I was amused because she had wrapped each item in those thin plastic bags that you get to put your vegetables in.

She continued to lift one item out of her basket.  She held it hovering near to the teller’s hand.
With item hovering Old Dear continued to have a loooong conversation with the teller.  The teller also seemed oblivious to the fact that there was now a queue forming behind me. 

You know when you stand there and contemplate:
“Should I go to another till, surely they will stop chatting, she has so few items.”

I watched as people who gave up standing behind me and went to other tills, one by one left the store. 

Still hopeful I stood behind Old dear and her long lost friend the teller (at least I think that is what she must have been.)

I was tempted to say something after about 15 minutes but then I reminded myself that I am being patient and polite.

I have a supermarket that I frequent and much to Jess’ irritation I have long conversations with the tellers there but never, ever do I do this if somebody is behind me waiting.

I stood and smiled.  My smile was very fake.  I wanted to rip the item out of Old Dear’s hand, shove it into teller’s hand and push her hand past the bar code thingy.

My hair grew an inch and then finally, finally the teller rang up her stuff. 

My turn at last or so I thought.

No such luck.  As if having a 20 minute conversation was not enough.  At the moment when I thought I was going to do my purchase the teller stood up took her tray out of the till.  

With a big smile she said to me:
 “I am finished for the day, but don’t worry somebody else is taking over. “

Another lady put her tray in the till and I had to patiently wait for her to get the till up and running.  I tell you my cheeks were practically cracking.  New teller advised me that as it was Nelson Mandela’s birthday I would get double points with my loyalty card.  She sent a packer to get my voucher.  It seems the Universe rewarded me for keeping my calm and being polite. 

Damn this polite and patient thing is not easy.

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