Shopping, Strangers...and Love..

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Main Posts Background Image


Shopping, Strangers...and Love..

Ahh! I’ve got you This is not a story about falling in love with strangers while shopping. Watch Sleepless in Seattle if you want to see people falling in love over the glove counter. (I love that movie too!-for sure!)  But today, for my last post before the holidays, I’d like us to get our cups of tea, settle down in our favorite corner and take some time on this fourth weekend of Advent, to focus on love…  

This is the time of year when genuine love, the kind God showed us by giving us his only Son to reconcile man to himself, is in short supply. God gave what he cherished most to us…complete strangers in many ways. 

But too often, in our rush to get the best bargain, the perfect gift, or the last the shelf..showing love to strangers isn't the first thing on our minds. Is it?

My daughter has been working exhausting hours at a fairly nice store that’s at least one step up from Wal-mart. She and all her co-workers are being asked to work longer hours..and back to back shifts… so she’s not getting quite enough sleep. And she’s just a ‘part-time’ worker..but they squeeze it all into the weekend.

Having had a heart to heart chat with the girl at the returns counter at Wal-mart, I’m very glad my daughter doesn’t work there. This poor girl was exhausted too but also discouraged because of the continual selfishness of some customers and the demanding people that she was having to deal with during the holidays.  For instance, one woman kept bringing back $1500.00 in returns and throwing fits, calling corporate headquarters, and cussing because they wouldn’t let her do it AGAIN…for the second time that month. She did this EVERY month. This is a little excessive, I think.
Apparently, some shoppers have gotten into the mind set that they can buy what they think they will need for a party, a project, a PTA event…and then, almost with no regard for the condition, bring back what we didn’t use or didn’t want. This is selfishness..pure and simple… and shows no regard for the worker across the counter.  

Ladies, I know girls , like my daughter, are being paid (minimum wage only), to put away all 36 items of clothing we tried on (buying only one), to hang up our clothes, re-package the socks we wanted to see, or run all over the store trying to get a price for items with no price tags.  Yes, if we weren’t so messy, they wouldn’t have a job! LOL! I keep reminding my daughter that if it weren’t for holiday madness… she wouldn’t have a job. “Just be patient”, I told her, “and remind yourself that these ladies will all be much nicer…after the holidays!” :o)  

But they are not getting paid to be yelled at, cussed, treated rudely, or to take the heat while we vent your stress from an exhausted shopping experience. It really isn’t their fault if no one is in the toy aisle to find us a price over the phone. It isn’t their fault, if the return we want to make isn’t according to their company’s policy.  Even though companies, like my daughter’s hire lots of extra people, they can never hire enough to give us what we want instantly, and when the get overrun, then even their very well planned systems can’t handle it..perfectly.


Every day, my dear daughter comes home with tales of customers wanting the impossible while she and her co-workers scramble to do the impossible—keep order and give customer service in a professional manner while people are frantically undoing all that order.. their rush to get that last gift…that perfect gift… at the absolute last minute possible. 

I’m proud of her because she keeps a chipper attitude and is grateful to have a job at all. She hunted for months for that first job, but the economy has put a lid on even the most menial jobs for college kids. I can only imagine what adults are going through.  Most days, she loves her job…loves helping people find the perfect outfit for a an hour…or helping poor lost men find something that fits. She really loves checking people out and chatting and joking with them at the check out register. She says she has yet to have a customer that didn’t leave her counter happier than when they came in. 


Thank goodness, most of us aren't that self-centered...but when things get crazy, and we're out of time..attitudes that we didn't intend..can start popping up. Even as I wrote this, I thought about how frustrated I was with the misinformation and lack of information I was getting from the receptionist at our local college.  It wasn't her fault of course, and even at the time, I didn't blame her. Still, I'm afraid my attitude was 'showing'.   I, of all people,  know how poor communication is at a college..I worked at one for years!

But to waste hours of driving time and waiting time, and not even being able to call someone or get the someone to show up for our 'appointment' just to register for school...well, I don't think I was smiling that day. And now I regret having let it show... 

This Christmas, can we recall to our minds, those early days when we were working our first jobs? Can we look at our cashiers, and notice if they look tired, or exhausted…and give them a kind word, and a thank you. We could commiserate with the hours they are working or the long day ahead…and simply smile at them. And while we are at it, lets treat stores like we would our homes, not leaving things out in the wrong places, but putting them back if we don’t want them, or at least give them to the cashier to put in a returns basket.  All that putting back of ‘stray’ as Rebekah’s co-workers call it, sends the teenagers home at 1:30am instead of midnight.  And we all pay the cost for this extra work in the end.  


Today, if you have to go out and shop…be sure to do it with a loving heart, and a kind word…Let’s plan, today, to love strangers while we are shopping…:o) It’s the perfect do so. If we can’t find the perfect gift, at least we can show perfect love… 

Love suffers long and is still kind,
Love is not pushy, rude or proud.
Love doesn’t demand it’s own way.
Love believes the best about the other person..

If you want to know more about the kind of love God gave to us and that he would like us to share with others…read the rest of I Corinthians..Chapter 13. And until January 3rd, do have a very blessed and Merry Christmas!

 If you would like to join my tea party, just link up to a recent post..or even an old one! I’d love to drop by and visit while I'm on my vacation..and hope you will all visit our contributors too! 


Kelly said...

Hi Donna;
I just love this post. It really brought me back to the days when I worked retail. I LOVED customers, just like your daughter, I too enjoyed making them smile, helping them find the perfect item they were looking for. When I worked while the kids were in school at a drugstore I adored the elderly that came in just to have someone to talk to. I would spend that extra time with them and I felt so good afterwards.

I think it is awesome that your daughter enjoys pleasing her customers - it is truly a lost art I think because the customers do not appreciate the workers! We all need to love one another and then everyone can have a blessed experience.

Thank you for the gentle reminder to love one another.

Bless you Donna and your family.
Merry Christmas dear friend. said...

HI Donna!

Thank you for your kind words and invitation. I love tea and will now be posting about it and linking up soon! Thanks again. Happy Holidays!


Breathing In Grace said...

Oh, Ms. Donna...what precious words. If only we would all feel the true meaning of CHRIST-mas in our hearts...instead of the greed of the world!!! Thanks for this gentle reminder!!! I'm so glad we're blogging friends...most of all I'm glad we're sisters in CHRIST!!!
In His Most Precious Love...and with mine...Deb

Kerrie said...

Everything you said is most true! I once worked at a specialty craft shop. The owner took used blazers and suit coats, dry cleaned them and then embellished the lapels with lace, buttons, small jewelry, etc. They were very elegant! People with money would buy them and then AFTER the event they wore them to, they WANTE TO RETURN!! God Bless you and your family and Merry Christmas! Hugs, Kerrie

Unknown said...

Hi donna! Love this post!

In response to your question yes we are moving, we have moved back home with my grandmother and my mother.

Thanks again for all your support, I love getting your comments!

Caroline said...

Oh Donna, your daughter has such a servant mindset, to have everyone leave happier than when they came in. I try to remind myself that if I am getting snippy in the store, maybe I don't need to be so acquisitive ... and I need to remember that the girls in the store are dealing with 20 more like me and a colleague on a lunch break...!!! It's so easy to fall into treating them as a "non-person" but Jesus doesn't ever give us that option, does He?

Donna said...

Thank you for the kind comments everyone! I passed them on to Rebekah. You guys are so right..and Caroline, that is a very insightful comment. It's so easy to treat workers as non-persons...and I'm afraid I have been guilty of it too.

The Lord put this topic on my heart for a reason, I'm sure!


“There's nothing half so pleasant as coming home again.” ~ Margaret Sangster

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