Patience With Others In Day To Day Life

Every day in a hundred little ways, if we are to be a better person, we must be strong enough to have patience with others. Here is a simple example.

I don’t know about you but whenever there are different queues to join in a shop, I often make the wrong decision. It has nothing to do with the shop it is my choice that seems to go wrong.
Two weeks ago I was in the local superstore. When I came to the tills I looked along the lines of queues and realised luck was on my side. One queue was only three people long and the front one was nearly finished. I rushed over and took my place behind a lady in a fur coat who didn’t have a lot of things. I was quite pleased with myself. I put my things after hers on the conveyor belt, gave her a big smile and was disappointed to get a blank stare in return. I never could understand why people do that. A smile costs nothing and helps make the world a better place.
Her items were steadily scanned into the till until a bottle of washing up liquid went through. Suddenly, she spoke up. The conversation went like this:

Fur Coat: “Excuse me, that came up as £1.26 but on the shelf it says £1.25.”
Shop Assistant: “Oh!”
Fur Coat: “Well! Put it right please.”
Assistant: “I’m sorry; I don’t have access or authority to change the prices.”
Fur Coat: “Well! Find somebody that does.”
Me (thinking): “NOOoooooooo!!! I’ve picked the wrong queue AGAIN.”
Assistant (pressing a button), “I’ve called the floor manager.”
Fur Coat: “I’m sure you could have shown some initiative, I’m in a hurry you know.”
Me (thinking): “So am I. Have you noticed that chap behind me who joined our queue a minute ago? Well he’s disappeared and nobody’s taking his place”.
Assistant: “I’m very sorry madam but I must follow strict rules and the till must be exact at the end of the day or I will be in trouble.”

 Just then the manager arrived.

Manager: “Hello there. Can I be of service?”
Fur Coat (before the shop assistant can speak) “The machine says Fairy Liquid is £1.26 when it says £1.25 on the shelf.”
Manager: “Well, I’ll have to go and check it”.
The manager walks away and we stand there. I can’t help but notice I am a lone figure in this queue, whilst every other till is packed. Other people, all other people, seem to have better queuing skills than me.
Me (thinking), “I’m next. Surely it will be better to stay here than start again.
Eventually the floor manager returns, “You are absolutely right madam, the price on the shelf says £1.25. Let me check the bill so far on the machine.” She takes a minute to look. “Yes, there it is, as plain as day, £1.26 on the bill. You are obviously very quick witted madam”. This was said with a smile but none was returned. The manager turned to the checkout assistant and said, “Miriam, please give the customer a penny back from the till and I will go and make a note of this. The system needs to be corrected.” With another smile that, once again was not returned, the floor manager left.
Me (thinking): “YES, a result! Give her the penny and we’re off!”
The assistant opened the till and said, “Oh! I don’t have a penny. Could I give you 2p for a penny change?”
Fur Coat (after looking through her purse) “I don’t have a penny either”.
By now I am frantically going through my pocket to find a penny and magically, I just happened to have one! “I’ve got a penny” I blurt out rather too loudly. People turn and look. I proudly hold up the coin.
Assistant: “I’m sorry sir. I’m not allowed to let another customer lose out but wait a minute, maybe I have one in my bag.” Miriam reaches down and, in that small space, manages to squeeze her handbag onto her lap. She then balances it on her knees whilst she takes out her purse and opens it. “Yes, here is one, please take it.”
Still balancing her bag and open purse on her knee Miriam tries to place the penny in the lady’s hand but does not quite manage it. There is a fumble and the penny drops. I cannot believe what is happening. It catches the edge of the fur coat on the way down and when it lands it starts to roll across the floor, with three pairs of eyes glued to it.”
My thoughts, “NOOOOooooooo!!!! Not under the shelves. PLEEEEEASE not under a display unit. Time seemed to slow down…… as it rolled on and on.

I’ve often wondered if scientists have ever carried out a survey of things dropped in a kitchen. Category ONE would be those that land, wobble a bit and then just sit there waiting to be picked up. Category TWO would be (in my world) the seemingly huge number of objects that catch the edge of something that happens to be at the perfect angle to make them roll off in the exact direction to take them straight under the washing machine. With Category Two items I always end up thinking, “Well you couldn’t do that again in a million years”. I seem to end up thinking that quite often.

Well, I can tell you now, that penny which was rolling across the floor as time slowed right down and with me screaming inside, was definitely a Category Two item. Yes, you’ve guessed it. The 1p went straight under the nearest display unit and showed no sign of stopping.

I think I must have stood there with my mouth open. Clearly for me it was “Wrong Queue, Wrong Time.”
I turned back to the till, where with some shock I saw Fur Coat shrug her shoulders and say, as if the shop assistant was a fool, “Chop, chop, let’s get on shall we? Don’t worry about it. It’s only a penny.” The bill was settled and she walked off moments later.
I don’t think I often stand around in public with my mouth wide open, lost for words, but I did at that moment. I’m very sad to say I even considered shouting, “What was all that about?”
Seconds after that, whilst still wondering at the whimsy of human nature, I was being served and a large queue had formed behind me. It was quite a relief to realise the newcomers must, in some subconscious way, have defined me as “an ordinary customer”.