I’ve missed y’all, but the little siesta from blogging was necessary on a personal level. Today’s post shares 2 supermarket stories that I hope will brighten your day or inspire a healthy thought while sharing a reminder that days that have ups and downs don’t need to end on a sour note.
First, how are your shopping experiences in this season wherever you are? Smooth? Long lines? Testy customers or cashiers? Getting through ok?
Up until last year, i thoroughly enjoyed cruising through aisles gathering groceries to take home and cook or clean with. Now, it’s a whole event as Barbados is in another small-window of outdoor movement phase. It’s 6-9am beach or outdoor workout time (more than 2 people, gotta wear face gear, breathing in what you just exhaled while walking in the hot sun.) i walk solo in the mornings.
Curfew 7pm – 6am. and during the day, unless you’re deemed an ‘essential worker’ or ‘essential business’ technically you’re not meant to be out and about unless going to or from the supermarket, pharmacy or bakery. Even banks have closed for a week.
Supermarkets are open this time around but not village shops (that was a hot topic after that announcement because they’re essential to every community), and though online deliveries are an option, we’re not (yet) much of a credit card community in general.
Supermarket Story #1:
So yesterday, after going to a supermarket, waiting in the outdoor line (just for a lil bit) and catching the van to the stop where I walk up the hill from, an elderly man who obviously is on a rocky road in life right now asked me for a dollar in exchange for a breadfruit (50 cents US.) Told him i wouldn’t feel good giving him just $1. and gave the rest of the change in my purse. He said thanks and moved on.Across the road, observing this, was another elderly man – this one more sprightly – always says ‘hi’ when he sees me going on the beach.
This time he asks if i can go into the other supermarket opposite (this one’s much closer but less friendlier) to get 1 curry + 1 black pepper for him. Told him i’d just given the rest of my cash away but he handed me Bds. $1.50. (Usd. 75 c) i looked at yet another outdoor line and the kinda-heavy bag in my hand and said, “alright.”
Went in and standing in front of the spices (blocking access) was a woman with a trolley burst to the seams like she lived on a homestead in St. Lucy and had to make this trip once a year.
For a few moments, we both froze as i waited for her to pass and she…not sure, really…she was facing forward not looking at me, but the frown was clear.
“just trying to get 2 spices quick please.”
“well, i tryin’ to passsss!” came the muffled semi-bark through face-gear.
“oh sorry,” and I moved aside.
She wheeled off like she was a finalist in ‘Supermarket Sweep” (memba that show?) grumbling and mumbling as loud as anyone could while breathing in the same carbon dioxide they just exhaled.
But something happened. The old me allllmost peeped out when i said, “you doh need to run. You coulda tell me to my face. Coulda just said you wanted to pass; it’s not a big deal.”
Then, i recognized the enemy trap and remembered who i am and Whose i am, got the spices, spun on my heel and continued humming as i tend to do when shopping.Had i not agreed to get the spices for the stranger across the road i wouldn’t have had yet another scruffy encounter at this supermarket that actually has some really nice employees and a manager.
There’s a reason i’m here, i was reminded. Waited in yet another line n’ went to pay for spices. Curry 75 cents – sweet. Black pepper – more dan dah. And i’d already given all my cash-in-hand away.
“I’ll just get the curry then,” i told the cashier. Then it spilled out (which it normally wouldn’t) “it’s for someone on the front road.”
And the cashier said, “Doh worry. G’long.” As in, she covered the extra, and i left with both spices.
Some days – many days are like that. Ups and downs, especially when we have to interact with others, leave home during national ‘lockdown,’ ‘curfew,’ ‘pause‘ or whatever word they’re calling it these days. I call it ‘national quiet time’ – not quarantine. These awkward strange times can trigger all kinds of behaviours and showing kindness sometimes involves being ‘inconvenienced.’ Gave the elderly man the spices and walked up the two calf-building hills home to get cooking, with a smile.
Supermarket Story #2
Supermarket moment #2: Had just got to one of my least favourite yet sometimes-shopped-at supermarkets, and went to get one of those hand baskets. They were stacked pretty good, as in i couldn’t seem to get the top one up from the stack tower.
The male employee standing beside them within arms’ distance watched me with disinterest as i kinda fumbled to get it out and up. i wasn’t embarrassed or anything, but it was a bit of a wrestling match for this 5ft-er. The employee – apparently same nationality half-watched, half-ignored as this went on for just a few moments…but long enough to notice and have a lil chuckle, if you’re into that.
Up comes an elderly grey-haired man with what looked like a ‘bad back” – a tourist sharing the ethnicity (is that the word?) of 1/3 of my family (not the side with the curls), wearing a tropical shirt and Bermuda shorts. Without a word but WITH a kind deed, he almost frantically yanked the top basket out from the gluey stack and handed it to me. “Here you go.”
“Thaaanks so much. i was struggling.”
We exchanged a smile and 1-second laugh, then went our separate shopping ways.
P.S: if you’re ever compelled to hold a door open for me, i won’t be offended. i’ll be grateful – not trying to be as strong as no man. Thankful for the help.
i hope you found something to smile or think about in one of the two stories shared. Feel free to share one of your own in the comments.
Thanks for reading.