In fact there must have been a wave of recalcitrance running through the Kroger scanner machine community because it seemed that everyone's machine was fritzing.
While I waited my turn I watched the hassled check-out attendant, a young lady probably in her late 20's who's worked at Kroger's for years, zip from customer to customer, giving each machine a zap from her machine-gun to get it going again.
One customer, though, a small woman, obviously a foreigner, dressed in a long black hijab veil and dress, seemed to be having a bigger problem. I'm not sure what her problem was, but she was not happy.
She appeared to be scolding the young attendant while the attendant studied the woman's sales receipt. The attendant then pointed to the receipt and began explaining something to the woman, but the woman wasn't having it.
"What's the matter with your head?" I heard the woman bark at the girl, "are you stupid?"
"I'm just trying to help you understand it," the girl replied meekly, as she began loading the woman's bags into her cart for her.
The woman threw up her hands. "Ah, you're wasting my time!" Then she stood there, arms crossed, while the attendant, who looked close to tears, finished loading her cart for her. The woman then grabbed her cart and whisked out of the store without a thank-you. That's when the thought hit me:
There goes a woman who's used to having servants and that's how she treats them and she thinks of this supermarket attendant as her servant.
I felt the impulse to abandon my groceries and run out of the store after the woman, tell her she needed to go back and apologize to the girl and that in this country we don't treat our service people that way.
Fortunately I squashed the urge. I don't think it would have been a good move.
But I did tell the girl, when she finally made it over to de-fritz my machine, that I was sorry about how that woman had treated her, that the woman had no call to behave that way, I told the girl that she was the last person who should be treated that way because she was always so nice and helpful and friendly to the customers and that we all really did appreciate her. I told her I was going to go over and tell her manager how well she handled that mean customer. And I did.
After I left Krogers I thought about , as I think about from time to time, how friendly and helpful service people in this country almost always are. The sales clerk in the Dollar Tree is as friendly and helpful as the sale clerk at Nordstroms. The server behind the counter at McDonald's is as friendly as the server in the priciest four-star restaurant. The supermarket worker. The greeter at Walmart. The gas station cashier. Of course there is the odd exception once in a while, but I'd say that as a rule everyone who waits on you is friendly and helpful, even though they're on their feet and have to be dealing with the public all day long.
Would you like to know which country, from my experience, is the unfriendliest of them all?
I bet you'll never guess!
I'll tell you on Monday!
Everyone have a wonderful weekend! ;)
*Lived in U.S., France and Germany
Been to Spain, Italy, Hungary, Austria, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Nicaragua.