It is Wednesday. I went to Woolworths to make very quick shopping at 8 am. Just some berries for breakfast and some missing items from my pantry. The best time ever for shopping. No shoppers, only staff replacing goods on shelves. Unfortunately, there were so many products I needed and they were 50% or 30% off and I could not resist buying them. The result was that my huge shopping bag was full, and I had to purchase one extra bag.
Surprise, surprise! None of the cash registers were open! Too early! Only self-serve cash register.
My expectation was – to do it quickly, smoothly, without waiting in a queue at the cash register. I asked an assistant to open the cash register. She said there was no staff available yet. I am welcome to scan all the items by myself. I was watching people scanning the single items, a bottle of milk, an apple for a girl in a school uniform, energy drink bought by a tradesman. Bummer! And I standing with this mountain of treasure in my shopping trolley which could not fit in the self-serve area!
First of all – I had this physical reaction. I felt like the heat from the middle of my chest rushed to my face. I nearly had a panic attack. How I can process this full trolley by myself. I was in a hurry. I wanted to be served, not self-served!!!!
I looked at the young shop assistant. She was smiling and watching me unpacking the trolley. She was patient and very polite. And very young. I was upset. I was not too polite to her. The cash register asked me over and over to remove the item from the bag or place the item in the bag. It was asking as well if I have my own bag. And of course, some items did not scan properly. I started to be hostile towards a shop assistant. At one stage the young shop assistant had to ask her manager for help to scan unscannable items. I was boiling inside. I could see my anger evaporating through the top of my head. I have not experienced such a reaction for a long time. I did not expect this reaction at all.
I took a deep breath. I asked myself some simple questions with curiosity: What would happen if I spend these 30, or maybe I am exaggerating, 15 minutes at least unpacking my shopping trolley? Is it going to end my world? Will my husband die of hunger not having his breakfast before 9 am? And first of all, I asked myself a question – why am I so angry? From where does this anger come from? What am I not getting in this situation?
I put all my wisdom into fruition. I calmed down. I took another breath. It was not angry anymore. I was still hostile towards the shop assistant. I could not smile or look into her eyes. It was so challenging. I could not overcome myself.
I walked through my house doors with the words – “What a start of a day. It was so frustrated. I had to scan the whole shopping trolley by myself”. When I heard myself saying MY STORY, I started to laugh.
Yes, I can go ahead and repeat this story the whole day long how Woolworths ruined my day because none of the cash registers were opened at 8 am and only self-help cash registers were available. Full stop.
What did I do instead?
I wrote this blog!
When I realized how I reacted to this situation I just saw my father standing next to me. Actually, he was lying on the hospital bed and saying angry words towards the young orderly, not looking at her but talking to me. “It is her duty to clean the bathroom and all the paper towels. She is paid for that”. When the orderly came closer to his bed, I asked her how was her day? She said she was traveling to work 40 km a day for 7 days a week as the hospital was short of staff. It was a holiday season and a lot of staff were on holiday. She was very tired and did her best to do the job of two other staff. My father was speechless. I was silent for a second and just told her that she was doing a good job.
So, was it my upbringing, this reaction with anger? Was it my conditioning that everything has to be done immediately? Was it my expectation to be served quickly? Yes, I didn’t get quick service.
I can admit, it takes courage to learn something new about myself. I just learned that I am conditioned this way. And I was observing my father being ANGRY when something was not according to his expectations. Now I am not surprised that this ANGER was evaporating through my head, and I could not look into the shop assistant’s eyes.
The other thing which popped up for me was that I wanted to please my husband and be priced by him that I came so quickly from shops. We like to be liked!
In the end, when I told him My Story, he actually did not notice how long it took me to do the shopping. He was still in his pajamas walking to the bathroom. So, what was all that anger about? It dissolved under the avalanche of my wisdom questions! No more stories which could ruin my day.
I decided to go back to the Woolworths and find this young shop assistant and apologies. Or maybe it is in my head? Maybe it is another story? Guilt story? She must see such angry customers every day. Is it her fault? Or it is as it is. People get angry because of the way they think.