Good morning, Friends!!
A couple of weeks ago, while I was working, Batman graced the store. Not a 6-and-a-half-foot tall adult from the movies, but a 6-year-old boy. He came running through the isles in his spandex muscle suit and cape, easily beating his dad and siblings to the register. And, of course, I couldn’t help smiling. The dad assured me that, though the little guy wanted to take on his alter ego before school, he convinced him to wait until later. But that didn’t stop him from transforming in the car before going shopping.
Yes, dad looked tired and ready to get out of the store, but I could tell that something about that little guy’s innocent happiness made him smile just as much as it made me!
And, honestly, I think we could all learn a little something from that little guy’s outlook on life!!
This is just one of a million little encounters that have made me smile while working at a small grocery store for the past year. And though cashiering may seem to some like a morally empty job (and I know parts of it are), I have thoroughly enjoyed this job and all I have learned from it! So, I thought I would share some of the most beautiful parts/best lessons of my year at the register!!
Just a note: This is simply my experience with bringing light to a normally pessimistic job. I make mistakes all. the. time. And definitely have days when my smile is only half genuine!! I’m NOT perfect, but I am definitely trying my best!!
+ There is power in a smiling face
This is by far the greatest lesson I have learned. First of all, I have no idea what is going on in the life of that grouchy woman or quick-tempered man. They might just be having a bad day, or they might have just lost their job, lost a family member, or been forgotten by a loved one. I have NO idea!! And that’s okay. The only thing that matters is this: I might be the only smiling, caring face that they see today. That is my job, aside from ringing them up, simple to smile and be a light in their day.
And people will surprise you sometimes. I recently found out that one of my favorite customers, one who always greets me with a smile, is a recent widow and now single mother. This is my point! You literally have no idea what people are going through!!
+ You meet some very interesting people
Working in a small-town grocery store means that, of the hundreds of people I see, the same 50 or so people come through almost every day. It seems kinda crazy, but you really get to know people when you see them every day! Aside from knowing exactly what they want from behind the counter, and most likely what is in their cart, too, I have had some very special conversations with these “regulars”. From a little “God bless you”, to many bits of grandfatherly advice, I really feel like I have gotten to know these people over the past year. Heck, I know the whole life story of some of my favorite customers!!
+ Tests your ability to look beyond judgement and into love
I will be the first to admit I am a naturally judgmental person. It’s something I have to work on, and against, literally every day. And as someone who works behind a liquor counter, it is so easy to pass judgement on “certain regulars”. So easy! But then I think about how Jesus treated Mary of Bethany and Mary Magdalene. He loved these wounded women with such a beautiful and pure love, even amidst their troubled pasts. And He is the Savior of the World. If He didn’t pass judgement on these women, these repentant women, how can I judge someone I don’t even know based on the bottle they buy?
Again, I have no idea what is going on in my customer’s lives. They have their own struggles, both visible and invisible, just like I have mine. It is still, and always will be, my only job to be a smiling face for them. No judgement necessary.
+ You learn to pray through work
So-called “down time” is a major part of being a cashier. Especially in a small store. And it used to drive me crazy!!! Until I read a little insta post from my sweet friend, Kristin, @onehailmaryatatime!! She talked about how important it is to pray through our work. But how do you pray while cashiering? You pray in the down time. While you clean. While you organize. And again, I’m not perfect! But my days that are dedicated to Christ are so much better than those that aren’t. So, if anything, Jesus is just making my job easier! Thanks, God!!
+ Your attitude determines your latitude
I want to finish on this note because I think it is so important and can be carried to so many areas of life. My dad says this all the time and I honestly love it!! And it couldn’t be truer. Your attitude determines your latitude. Any situation that is looked at from a positive light will naturally be better! I don’t feel stuck in this job, or like I’m wasting my time. Yes, I look forward to the day that I will move onto something different, but for now, this is where I’m supposed to be. God is teaching me and helping me grow through this job! And until Christ calls me to another place, I will continue to seek Him in that store.
Before my shift starts each day, I pray something to this effect. I should pray this prayer every single day, even when I’m just hanging out at home…
Lord, please shine the light of your goodness through me during this shift. Help me to see each and every person as one of your children and to love them as you would love.
I hope you all have a beautiful day!!