New Year's Resolution
2020, my year to stop using plastic bags. Yup, that is my resolution. A few days into the year, first grocery trip, remembered my reusable bags. Sounds like a win already, right? Well, spoiler alert, my trip didn’t leave me feeling as though I was a saving the world one less plastic bag at a time, and although I’d like to blame the reusable bags for making me feel anything but heroic, it wasn’t the bags’ fault.
Back story: Once upon a time the only grocery store I frequented had a few “unlimited items” self checkout lanes. It was wonderful. I did all my grocery shopping at this store once a week, checked out by myself, and placed each item organized in the right bags making my life a bit easier when unloading said items. Also, bananas turn brown when touching something cold. I like bringing home yellow bananas.
One summer, it all changed. Goodbye “unlimited items” self checkout lanes, hello “20 items or less” self checkout booths. Ever since, I’ve followed my own unwritten (until now) rules for this store.
1. Shop during weekdays, no later than mid morning.
2. Stick to items I can only get at this store.
3. Stay AROUND 20 items.
4. Checkout at the less busy side of the store when exceeding 20 items.
These rules hadn’t failed me until my resolution trip. Long story short, if it wasn’t for Christmas clearance, I would have been well below the limit. But deals are deals and there I was at the less occupied self checkout area with WAY more than 20 items, fully intending to justify it with two transactions. The events that followed completely ruined my heroine vibes.
First, the struggle of reusable bags and self checkout is real. How many times does the machine need to know that I’m using my own bags?! Apparently, a lot. Second, a rush-minute showed up and every booth was occupied. Third, it finally happened, an angry woman started berating me!!!!!!!!!
“This is for TWENTY items or less!! You should NOT be here.”
Sheepishly, “I have two orders.” She was so clearly right that I couldn’t even fathom defending myself. At this point, I felt so many eyes stabbing me, I was so guilty.
“No, NOPE. You should be in a CHECK OUT LANE. This is for people like me who have TWO ITEMS AND ARE IN A RUSH.”
As she continued to rant on as I struggling with my reusable bags and my shaking hands, something else happened. The lady at the booth next to me snapped in...
“HERE you can have THIS one. STOP giving her a hard time!!”
She grabbed up her bags and stormed away. As my antagonist continued to steam about me at the next booth, she was further stalled because of a transaction issue (even though I had just experienced my own sort of karma, the truest karma is still so sweet). By the time she left, I was the ONLY ONE occupying a booth, heart still beating a bit too quick.
Luckily one of my most favorite employees (remember, I have frequented this store A LOT) was working the self check out. She was so kind to me. She said that she doesn’t mind the over-limit items "issue" but let me in on a shopping tool, “shop and scan”. Sounds like a grocery-shopping-life-changer! Anyways, with her reassuring words and my saving grace that quickly left her booth after sticking up for me, my New Year's resolution evolved.
So here is my revised resolution.
I'm going to replace plastic bags with reusable bags and utilize “shop and scan” (if it really is as easy as it sounds).
I’m going to do my best on being patient and strive to be non hypocritical. Let’s be honest, I have silently been that angry costumer or (not so silent) driver or (definitely not silent) mom.
I will strive to use my voice to stick up to the bullies when the bullied can’t find their own voice. I want my children to be like my unknown ally, a light in another person’s hard moment. I hope to lead by example.
I’ll try my hardest to remember to give grace to the angry because it must suck being so mad that you can potentially ruin someone else’s day.
Time to be a pause, breath, smile, remember to bring my reusable bags, and repeat.
Cheers to 2020!