Because I seem to spend about 7/8 of my free time in the grocery, it’s my primary opportunity to view the world. What I’ve seen is astounding. Most recently a couple completed their checkout and decided they needed an impulse purchase of beef jerky. So the friendly customer service associate waited patiently (with a growing line of patrons) while Mr. Inconsiderate browsed the dried meat rack. After ringing it in, there was a discrepancy between what showed on the credit card pad and the actual total. The CSA seemed pretty confident in what she was doing, proof that this is likely a regular occurrence. However, the customer was unsure and her language and tone indicated as much. She told the cashier, “Are you sure? Because I’m only running this through ONCE.”
I tried to make my buggy eyes resume their normal shape. I couldn’t believe people actually talk to other humans in this way, with little to no provocation. Somehow when the woman woke that morning and put on a red shirt and khakis, she was also inviting criticism from anyone who happened to run out of milk and saw aisle 5 had the shortest line.
I can somewhat understand a tiff at the ball field when emotions are running high (though, seriously, IT’S JUST A GAME). Or a flagrant handwave of one finger when you’re cut off in traffic. But during the simple act of paying for your groceries? Even the worst of baggers deserves the most basic of respect (and, after a separate conversation, they’re not “good” baggers because everyone has different preferences. It’s a total crapshoot on their part).
So yesterday morning when we watched Matt, I should not have been surprised to watch the clip on the grandma bullied by middle schoolers. As Gail the Staff Psychologist said, “what’s wrong with kids is what’s wrong with adults.” We want to blame “kids these days”, but the Meanie at Meijer had two littles watching her. Kids aren’t picking this up from their imagination, it’s the example set forth before them.
I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face: words matter. With them God created the heavens and earth. With them we can bite and ravish and destroy one another. And all of them are heard by little ears, not just in the same room but also in the same line.
If you’re appalled by the video, instead of asking, “what’s wrong with these kids?” perhaps instead reflect, asking, “how do I treat others who owe me absolutely nothing?”