Musings Social Issues

A Call For Kindness

There was shoving and cursing, and it wasn’t even Christmas. It was just another uneventful Thursday morning in March.  Well, not quite uneventful. The Coronavirus hysteria had just set in and I believe to an extent, rightly so. The fear of not having enough toilet paper drove everyone mad. As I stood back and watched the masses fight over personal space inside the toilet paper aisle at Costco, I thought, “we have to be better than this.”

As far back as I can remember, shopping during the holidays was always an intense experience. But I don’t remember it being intense every time people shop. Occasionally, people would chat up the workers and others in the line. Everywhere I look now, I see angry faces believing it is there right to take up as much Costco space as they would like. And how dare anyone think they could encroach on one’s space? And that’s in the store. The wars taking place outside are worse. People honk their horns and use their cars to block others from moving. Hands raise in the air while shouting inside vehicles.
I’m tired of people being angry all the time. I’m tired of the lack of patience we show one another. I’m tired of the lack of civility that occurs everywhere. I see better behavior at the dog park when a rogue ball rolls through a pack of dogs desperately trying to smell butts. Maybe we’ve become too accustomed to speaking arrogantly to strangers on social media. Maybe we’ve chosen to follow political figures’ tone rather than the common decency rules we learned in Kindergarten.
We are at the beginning of a global pandemic. One that could be very difficult to go through or, if we’re lucky, goes by quickly. Either way, our children are watching us as we wade through interactions. Are we behaving in a way that we want children to replicate? Because, if you look at reports, kids seem to be the most resilient. We will need their kindness too.

Here are my 10 tips to have a kind shopping experience:

1. Give yourself plenty of time so you’re not in a rush.

2. After you park, take a rogue shopping cart with you. That will not only help free up the parking lot, but also help the lot attendant. And when you’re done with the cart, put it away.

3. If you are shopping at a major store, you’re probably not going to starve. If someone grabs that last box Cheerios, you’ll probably be okay.

4. Get off the phone when you shop.  That call can happen later. You might miss some instruction or there could be a person behind you desperately trying to go around.

5. While waiting to pay, you need not push your cart right up against someone’s heels. Give some space. Nobody will cut in front of you. If they do, politely let them know where the back of the line is. It usually works.

6. Aisles are like streets. You drive your car on the right side, so drive your cart on the right side.

7. If there is something you really need, go straight to that aisle. You’ll feel more relaxed after you get it.

8. Be polite. Say,  “Excuse me” if you need to get by. It’s a simple phrase that can peacefully get you where you need to go. And Say, “I’m sorry” if you bump someone or accidentally block someone’s route.

9. Be forgiving. If someone accidentally bumps into you and they apologize, be like Elsa and let it go.

10. Don’t be a jerk. We need kindness now more than ever. Everybody is on alert. Just be kind.

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