Okay, I stole that subject header from the chapter titles of Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little by Peggy Gifford and Valorie Fisher…which is a fabulous chapter book and you should read it! But anyway…I was in the Stringtown Grocery store yesterday. The Stringtown Grocery store is located outside Kalona, Iowa and it’s run by Amish/Mennonite families for Amish/Mennonite families, but fortunately they let the rest of us shop there, too. They carry all kinds of bulk foods, natural foods and homemade baked goods, so I try to make regular pilgrimages there for my bread baking habit. There’s no electricity in the place — just gas lamps. There are hitching posts out front for horse and buggies. And there’s a sign just inside the door that says “we appreciate a modest dress.” (I love this store!!!)
Yesterday happened to be an incredibly busy day at the Stringtown Grocery store. I’ve never seen so many people in there. It’s a small store (just four narrow aisles, a separate room for produce, and ONE cash register/check-out). Did I mention there’s just one cash register in there? So there was a long line pretty much the whole time I was in there. I waited ten minutes in line before it was my turn, which really isn’t a big deal. It’s worth it (you should see how much stuff I got for $63!). But when it was finally my turn, this lady comes rushing through the door (let’s call her Blanche…no offense if you happen to be reading this and your name happens to be Blanche or you happen to know a very nice lady named Blanche)…Blanche comes right up to the counter where I have already stacked up all my stuff and says to me, “do you mind if I just sneak in ahead of you? I’m only getting one thing and I’ve got someone in the car who really didn’t want me to stop here.” THEN, without even waiting for a response from me, she turns to the nice Amish girl and asks for…actually, I don’t remember what she asked for. But it took the nice Amish girl another 4 1/2 minutes to go in the back and get it for Blanche!
Why, oh why, didn’t I just speak up and say, “yes, actually, I DO mind. And I’ll bet the five people who are waiting in line behind me aren’t real excited about you budging in ahead of us all, either.” I didn’t because she didn’t give me a chance to…but as my husband pointed out, that’s exactly why I should have spoken up. I should have just said, “Excuse me, but yes, I do mind!” There’s nothing wrong with letting polite, reasonable people go ahead of you in line, especially if they’re older, or they’re with young, impatient children and they only have one or two things and you have a whole cartful — I certainly HAVE let nice people go ahead of me in line. But Blanche was not a nice person. She wasn’t all that old…she looked pretty able-bodied the way she rushed in…she did not have young children with her…and SHE DIDN’T CARE whether I, or the five people behind me, were a little ticked off with her or not. In fact, she had already proven she’s an insensitive, self-centered sort of person anyway by admitting she’d already come to the store with someone who didn’t want to stop there (apparently that person’s feelings didn’t matter to her, either), and somehow that was supposed to make it okay for her to cut in line in front of six other people.
If someone is being RUDE to me, why in the world do I still feel like I should be NICE back to them??? I’m sure Blanche has long forgotten the incident, but it still ticks me off 24 hours later. Probably because I would never do that to someone else. I can’t imagine any situation in which I would go into a store and ask to go ahead of anyone else in line. In fact, when other people offer to let me go ahead of them, I almost always say, “thanks, but that’s fine. You go ahead.” Because that’s the way things work…you go into a store, you find the things you want and then you get in line to pay for them. It doesn’t matter how many items the person ahead of you has, if somebody else was there ahead of me, they should go through the check-out ahead of me. I get really, really irritated by people who think they are more important than anyone else or that their time is more valuable than anyone else’s…