One Monday in December, I was working from home and took a late lunch break to run some errands. I had a package that I intended to mail out every day for the past two weeks, but each day #life and #laziness took over. And if we’re being real, USPS hours are convenient for about 2% of the population. NOTE: I made that statistic up.
I can only suspect that each location is typically a ghost-town before and after a typical lunch hour. And then, there are people like me who strut up to the door at 5:00 pm convinced that their hours must have changed since the last time I dropped by immediately after work. Of course, I pull the door… fully prepared to be “that” person rushing in at closing time. Too bad, they were fully prepared for me and had already locked the doors. But I digress.
My errands included mailing a package and picking up ingredients for a potluck dish for work (I was making the Onion Cheese Dip that I shared in my blog, Quick Super Bowl Dips That Won’t Break Your Bank).
I made it all the way to the Post Office, only to realize that I didn’t have the package with me. I drove back to the house, retrieved it and headed back to the Post Office to try again. I snatched up a Priority Mail envelope, since this item needed to be at its destination nearly a week and a half ago. I then proceeded over to an empty work-space where I could package and address everything.
I pulled my cell phone out from my back pocket, intending to look up the address. One click of the home button revealed a quick flash of the home screen before my phone goes black and a circling ring appears. My phone was dead.
Over time, you will learn that Murphy’s Law is a theme in my life. Growing up, my Mom used to talk about Murphy’s Law all the time. I don’t know the origin of this old adage, but I guess I inherited my mother’s “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong” lifestyle.
So, I mentally added, “get gas” to my list of errands. Thankfully, it’s conveniently on the way to the grocery store.
When I got back to the Post Office, I set back to work at addressing my Priority Mail Envelope. I was mailing a plastic ornament that I had made at work for one of my staff who recently celebrated 10 years with the organization. I contemplated how it probably wasn’t the best approach to use a huge, thin envelope and should instead opt for a box or at least bubble wrap, but since it was plastic, I figured it would be okay.
Once I got in line, I saw that they had a bubble-wrap envelope that was the perfect size for my item. I grabbed it off the shelf, went back over to the wrapping station, re-addressed, and re-packaged the item. I got back in line, which was twice as long now, paid, and left.
I stopped for gas, and then went to Harris Teeter. I’m not sure there is any place I hate more than the grocery store. Not sure if it’s the fact that no one knows how to drive in a parking lot – I cannot tell you how many accidents I have witnessed in parking lots – or the fact that I am forced to interact with society, which is not my thing. Unfortunately, self checkout is not my friend. I try it every time, and every time, Murphy shows up.
So, when I had gotten all my ingredients, I started to do what I feel like every human being does… compare checkout lines. Somehow, I always end up choosing the “shortest” line in terms of the amount of people and the fullness of their grocery carts. And somehow, every other line seems to move faster. I’m always in that line where the person is paying via three different methods (and trust, I’m not hatin’ because I’ve been there). Or, recently at Target, this woman had bought an umbrella that didn’t have a tag and the cashier turned on his flashing light to get assistance from a manager. He then decided to use his cell phone to look up the price of the item on Target.com, which was smart, but time consuming. Afterward, the lady was questioning every single item’s price and then had 18 coupons, nearly one for every item… and then wanted to argue when a coupon doesn’t register because it’s expired.
Recalling these instances, I chose the line that was closest to me, because why not? The cashier and gentleman in front of me were discussing football since the customer was decked out in Broncos gear. I thought about interjecting when they started hating on my Redskins, but then I was like… “Nah, the Redskins deserve it.” At one point, the cashier turned to me and apologized for the wait, and I was a bit confused because I had been standing there for all of 30 seconds. I shrugged him off, “You’re fine.”
The man’s credit card didn’t register, so he had to swipe again. He, too, looked at me and apologized and I repeated, “You’re fine” this time adding, “no worries.” I’ve been told I have resting bitch face, so maybe they both thought I was irritated? Not sure.
When it was my turn, the cashier asked me how I was and I politely said, “I’m doing alright, how about yourself?”
He said he was doing well and after a brief pause, while picking up my four blocks of cream cheese, he stated, “I hope this doesn’t make you uncomfortable, but I just have to say, you are absolutely gorgeous.”
I laughed… hard.
“I’m glad someone thinks so, because I certainly do not feel that way,” I replied. I was in a flannel and sweats [that didn’t match], paired with Crocs. I hadn’t washed my hair in 3 days and I had not a lick of makeup on my face. It was the first time I had emerged from my bed all day while working from home, so I can also confirm that I hadn’t even bothered to brush my hair.
He shook his head in disbelief, “Gorgeous eyes. Gorgeous smile. And if I’m the first person to tell you that today, I’m amazed.” At this point, one of his fellow colleagues whipped around to have a look at me and I’m sure he was expecting some Gisele Bundchen model with the way this guy was raving about me. But, not impressed, the other cashier quickly turned his attention back to ringing up his customer’s groceries.
I quickly explained that he was only the second person I had actually interacted with today. I told him I worked from home on Mondays and needed to come to get ingredients for a potluck dish later in the week. He asked where I worked. I told him and added, “You probably see and hear our annoying ads on TV.” And he said, “Well they aren’t annoying. You all just want people to get an education with you.” I nodded in affirmation, “You’re right. We have a very noble mission.”
He told me I should be proud of the fact that I was making a difference in my job. He then went on explaining how a lot of people rely on work solely for a paycheck, which is what he was doing, but that he tried to enjoy each day and bring a positive attitude to every encounter.
I could immediately tell he was being honest, at least about being positive. He clearly cared about the experience of his customers. He had made lighthearted conversation about football with the Broncos fan in front of me. And for some reason, he found my disheveled appearance attractive and made it a point to politely, and not at all creepily, let me know. It certainly felt nothing like a typical grocery store transaction.
At the end, he handed me my receipt and asked me my name and told me his, which I had seen from his name tag: Argediz. He wished me a great day and said he hoped to see me again soon.
Of course, being me, I immediately began reflecting and knew I’d write about the encounter. After all the mishaps at the Post Office (forgetting my package, my phone dying, having to package and address it twice, long line), I wasn’t exactly “feeling” the vibes of that day.
So, knowing how Argediz’s compliment brightened my day, and even how our conversation had me feeling great about my professional life, I really got to thinking about how the world would be a better place if everyone took the time to be kinder to each other… to family, friends, or even complete strangers. Human connection is a powerful thing, and I decided, then and there, that I would try to give one compliment a day to someone. I challenge you to do the same.