Well, it’s Christmastime. To most people, this brings up fond images of families eating fattening yet delicious dinners around the table, preferably with a toasty fire roaring somewhere in the background. It paints portraits of small children wriggling in unbearable anticipation for morning. It evokes scenery of wrapping paper strewn across the living room floor. It makes people think of auld lang syne.
I work in retail. To me, the holidays mean long lines, crabby parents, whiny children, and a messy, messy sales floor. Shifts get longer, people get grouchier, patience gets shorter. You would think that this time of year, the joy of the season would overflow, and everybody would be nicer to each other. And with some folks, that’s the case. These people don’t seem to shop much.
In a seven or eight hour shift, I deal with countless people. I have to be nice to them, whether they are nice or not. I have to make them feel welcome and loved without being creepy or obtrusive about it. I have to find every single piece of nonsense they ask for, even if I assure them we don’t have it. I have to ask a million questions that they don’t want to answer, just on the off chance that one person in a hundred will actually want another credit card in this economic climate. I have to pretend I don’t want to rip their throats out when they rummage through a stack of shirts I just folded. And I have to smile the whole time.
Here’s the thing. Being a retail employee has made me an exemplary customer. I smile back. I don’t get in the way of their script. I try to give exact change and I always clean up after myself. And if I notice a cashier looking a little haggard, I pray for them really quickly.
There are days when I sure could use one of those little prayers. What if we all prayed for our cashier after we left the checkout line? You don’t have tell them you’re praying for them. It’s not like I’m asking you to lay hands on them, either. As you’re walking to your car, offer up a line or two on their behalf. It’ll take ten seconds of your time. It’s like a little piece of happy to give out, in a secret kind of way.