There is a grocery store chain where I really love to visit and shop, and it’s located across the state line, in the next county from where I live. When I go there, I actually feel like I’m a guest. There’s a greeter at the door who actually smiles when he or she greets, and the store is orderly and clean at first glance; everything is in its place.
After a customer searches and rummages through neatly folded items of clothing, and moves along to the next thing, a store clerk can be seen restoring the semblance of order. I like to browse, and when an employee sees me wandering as though I’m lost, someone will ask whether I’m ‘finding everything okay’. And my response is always, “I’m just looking”.
No one yells across thirteen or fourteen aisles to the other side of the store, to a relative or friend, when all the while they have a mobile phone in their hand. Out of my many visits there, only once did I see a person get into trouble. The man was hungry and he was caught eating a prepared sandwich sold in the deli–while no one was looking, he thought. Anyway, security is visible from time to time. I suppose he didn’t see him.
It is always a mixed crowd there and everyone is polite and respectful of each other; some with a smile, and some with no smile and will simply go away and return when others move away. When I saw how orderly this store was and still is, I knew that the residents of that county had been educated on the subject of tolerance. If only everyone could have access to the kind of training needed to help the growing negative behavior all across this country, there would be less crime.
When I need something from the store in a hurry, I shop at one of the chain stores in my county. That means my attire will be a bit different–matching the environment I’m in. Instead of a purse hanging on my arm or shoulder, it is a cross-body purse so that my two hands and arms are free to do whatever I need to do in case of emergency. It’s not a glamorous look, but who cares about glamour when you’re concerned about your safety. Some stores have very little security; some banks have been robbed more than once; and some retail stores and businesses seldom, if ever have problems–hmmm–interesting.
And then, there is the business of the check-out process. I am really sad for those cashiers who lost their jobs because of the ‘self-service’ check-out machines. I resented those machines when they were introduced into the stores, and I still resent them. What I continue to do is stand in line to be checked out by a human being. I see the handwriting on the wall.
Robots and machines are categorized as ‘progress’–maybe Aldous Huxley thought this could be the brave new world–for a moment at least. Who knows. I can only speak for myself; I prefer to interact with the living–not machines and robots. As a matter of fact, robots are being trained to mimic humans. That’s too much to digest. But it got this far, it will go farther given a few more years.
And then, there is the matter of brick and mortar–all kinds of stores going out of business. As a consumer, I’m beginning to feel abandoned. However, common sense tells me that it’s an opportunity for small business entrepreneurs to listen up to the whistle of the wind to see which way it’s blowing. I’m listening to it myself. Direction is what we all need once in awhile.
“Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9).
Seeing more clearly,