Lessons From The Checkout Line
Contrary to popular stereotypes, as a man there are a few chores I really enjoy. It’s probably due to my mother making it a point to have us all up on Saturday morning with music blasting, food cooking and cleaning the house from top to bottom. As an adult however, one thing I never perfected was the skill for cooking. This works out perfectly for my wife and me. We split household chores so she is dong the cooking and I get to handle the bulk of the cleaning and laundry. Things get a little awkward when I end up with the task of grocery shopping. I will give you a hint; that’s definitely not one of my favorites.
The other day my wife asked me to run some errands and on the way back, pick up dinner. It sounded easy enough but it must have been bad timing. I ended up stuck in a throng of people on every aisle. The further I went down my shopping list the more it felt like my wife had set me up. This was a prison sentence, not a quick trip to the store! Determined to get through the task, I fought the mob and could finally see daylight. I quickly learned just because I was in line, it didn’t mean I was free.
Stuck there I started thinking about the humorous similarities between a super market check-out line and real life. Here are a few of my musings:
•Life is tough until you make friends in line: So you’re standing there in a line that is snaking around the corner. You only have a couple of choices; you can keep playing Candy Crush, do a little more complaining or you can chat with the folks around you. Unlike social media, human interaction is proven to stimulate our brains and give us a sense of belonging. People need people in real life! You would be surprised at the amount of wisdom, encouragement and flat out belly laughs you can get from strangers in a check-out line.
•Now that you’re here, no need to second guess everything: If you’re anything like me, as I am standing in line I take time to review each purchase and evaluate to see if it was absolutely necessary. I’m probably the person all store clerks hate the most because in my wake are random items stuffed into the magazine racks that I decided I didn’t want. That may be fine in a store, but in life you can really screw yourself up by all the second guessing. I believe we are born with an instinct to get things done. As we grow we learn to lose trust in that inner voice of wisdom. Trust your gut, and get out of your head sometimes.
•Don’t judge your life by what’s in someone else’s cart: We all do it. I get caught often peaking over into another person’s cart. I just want to see what they bought. Not that I am competing, just curious. It has resulted in some shady looks in the past, but for the most part, people are kind in sharing their cart’s contents. But in life, you will get frustrated and downright depressed if you spend your time peering into other people’s lives. Studies show that people who spend excessive time checking out profiles on Facebook are more likely to feel adversely about their own situation. So keep your eyes on your own cart!
Not to be dramatic but I managed to make it out of the market with everything on my list and my life. During the process I also met a couple of cool folks in line and we shared some laughs. The moral is to find the gold in every experience and it may benefit you more than you think. Once you get pass the crowd and inconvenience of it, grabbing the groceries is now on the top of my list of chores. This makes me wonder why my wife complains about it so much.