Shame on who?
Posted on February 06 2020
Today I had an experience that gave me pause.
I was at the supermarket with my usually incredibly patient and well behaved baby, but by the time we got there, he had reached his limit. He was starving, he had an exploding diaper, and he was exhausted.
With nowhere to deal with the above, and the baby already strapped into the carrier, I figured my list was pretty short and we would manage.
About 5 minutes in, he had had enough and the crying began.
By crying I mean screaming.
If you've ever experienced a screaming baby in a supermarket (either yours or someone elses), you are aware that it warrants a lot of unhelpful advise, sympathetic faces, and sweating. I also reallllllllly had to pee.
So we're racing around the store and grab the probably 20 things we need, and go to the checkout.
Every single open register (which there weren't enough of) has a line up of 3, with fully loaded carts--and I mean the deep ones.
I flagged down a worker and kindly explained my baby was cracking it and could they please open another register. He looked around, saw the situation, and said "there's another register at customer service you can go to."
I raced to customer service (where I was third in line, but the carts were much emptier) and waited my turn.
I get called up and start unloading my cart, hand over my reusable bag, scan my flybuys, all the usual things.
About a minute and a half into it, the checker says to me (with attitude), "You know this is 5 items or less, right?"
"Oh no, I didn't, I'm sorry" I replied. "I was told to come here by one of the floor workers."
"What was his name?" I was asked.
"Um, I didn't grab that--He just told me to come check out at customer service because there are huge lines and my baby is screaming (clearly)."
"Well," he replied "I'm sure he just meant for you to come here and ask me to open another register."
"No, actually, he told me I could go check out at customer service."
At this point, I'm literally shriveling up into my body. I have a new baby, I'm exhausted, I have a cold, the baby has a cold. I just want to curl up and disappear.
But I didn't.
I looked him in the eye (lip quivering) and said "You can clearly see my shopping cart, and knew there were more than 5 items when you started checking me out, and then shamed me. I'm doing my best and was doing what I was asked to do. I wasn't rude, or demanding."
He looked at me with shock.
What has happened to the world that when we see someone who is clearly struggling, we feel the need to shame them, not help them up?
I hope that checker learned his lesson today. I wasn't trying to break any rules, or get any special treatment. I only asked and was directed.
There is no reason he had to make me feel bad. It would have taken him the same amount of time to just be pleasant.
Let's make a deal--to help people who are struggling, show them compassion, and help them rise up.
There is no place for shame in this world--it's hard enough.
Wishing you much love,
Organic Mama xo