A funny situation at work the other day charmed and amused me. I was in the foyer of the building, cleaning the glass doors. There are two which lead to the foyer and two more which lead into the store from the foyer. I was inside the foyer and was approaching one of the doors customers enter from outside, when a father and his daughters startled me by opening the door and coming into the store just as I raised the bottle of Windex. They were surprised, too, and the girls scurried past me. Their dad, however, thought I was trying to exit the store. He immediately apologized, turned around, stepped outside, and opened the door for me. I raised my bottle of Windex and we both started to laugh. But I thanked him and thought how utterly charming it was that his first concern was to open the door for me. I assume it is a part of his nature, because it happened very quickly so he reacted by instinct. It was refreshing to see such a display of courtesy in a society in which I see an incredible amount of rudeness and apathy.
An example is leaving a mess for other people to clean up. We have a gumball machine at work. One of my pet peeves is how often I find chewed gum on the floor, or the shelves with the videos. It is incredibly inconsiderate to leave chewed gum around for someone else to deal with. There is simply no excuse and I think most people would agree with me, yet it happens all the time. I was talking to a friend who worked at a retail store.One of her duties was to straighten the dressing rooms. She told me she went in there one day and discovered somebody had gone to the bathroom on the floor. Really? In no reality is that acceptable behavior.
I think we neglect to think about the fact our lives affect the lives of other PEOPLE. We can make or break a day for someone else. Pretty much everyone knows the retail saying, “the customer is always right.” Which means, of course, even if the customer is wrong the employee must remain courteous and calm and work hard to please the customer. Some customers take advantage of that and make impossible demands yet the cashier cannot point that out without risking her job because in the end, how customers are treated when they frequent a business affects whether or not they will come back again and that affects the bottom line for the company. It all boils down to how people are treated. What I find interesting is how many cashiers, clerks and other retail employees have to be trained in this.
I don’t think the customer is always right. But I do think people should be treated respectfully and with dignity no matter who they are. And I need to be aware that if I leave a pile of clothes on the floor in the dressing room, someone else - who’s back quite likely aches too - will have to pick them up. If I am walking around with a frown on my face and a negative attitude - the people around me tend to frown and think negative thoughts as well. I wish we didn’t have to offer practice and training in how to be considerate of others, but I often think we do. I also think it is a matter of the condition of our hearts.
In Luke 22:37-39 Jesus says, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
It doesn’t matter if I can quote those verses all day long. I have to think about what they say and how to put them into practice in my life. Everything I do is going to affect someone else. And I am supposed to love my neighbor as myself. Rudeness, inconsiderateness, negativity and haughtiness have no place in that formula. I must make myself look at others and see human beings who I am commanded to love. And as hard as it can be, I need to try to find compassion in my heart even for the people I find most despicable or rude. I have to catch myself before my angry, disdainful thoughts run away with me and allow hate to come in.
What I do affects other human beings. I want to be the person who instinctively jumps back outside and opens the door for someone else. Thank you Mr. Customer for a lesson taken to heart.