4/02/2012

Who are You Trying to Bully?

I had one of those wonderful empowering moments a couple of weeks ago.  I went toe-to-toe with a bully and won.

It happened at my local Aldi store.  If you're not familiar with Aldi, it is a type of discount grocery stored based in Germany, but with many U.S. locations.  It is unique in that you bag your own groceries; pay a (returnable) quarter for shopping cart rental; have one type of most grocery items, i.e.; one type of ketchup, one brand of milk, one type of corn flakes, etc.; pay lower prices because of these things and you wait in long lines because there may be only one cashier depending on the time of day.

I feed a family of six so I am one of those people that everyone hates getting stuck behind because my cart is full.  Like everyone else, I'm usually in a hurry and trying to cram too many errands in too small of a time slot, but I try to be gracious (sometimes) and let someone with a small grocery order go ahead of me in line, particularly if they are waiting patiently.

Confession time.  If I hear someone groaning, sighing and complaining behind me, I pretend they don't exist and don't offer to let them go ahead.  I know, I know, this is not how a Christian woman should behave.  I'm working on it.

On this particular day, I heard a man groaning, sighing and complaining behind me and I pretended he didn't exist.  He was trying to get the cashier's attention so she would call for another cashier.  Suddenly I hear a bellowed, "Ma'am.  Ma'am."  But I didn't turn around because I didn't think he was talking to me.

Turns out he was, and he asked to go ahead of me.  I politely responded that yes, he could.

After he went ahead and placed his three boxes of tissues on the counter, he began to complain loudly to the cashier about the lack of other cashiers.  I chimed in and said (nicely), "When you shop at Aldi, you have to learn to be patient."

He continued to complain about the lack of cashiers and I said, "This is how Aldi keeps their prices low."  He sort of muttered to himself, thanked me for letting him go ahead and left.

It was just a small encounter and not particularly important, but as I left the store I realized I felt really, really good.

Normally, I would feel angry that this type of big-mouth bully once again got what he wanted through rude, pushy behavior.  However, for the first time, I calmly and politely confronted a complaining bully.

The kind of person who usually makes me angry.

But this time, I spoke up, defended that poor cashier, made my point and remained gracious throughout.  Did I accomplish anything?  I don't know.  Did the man gain a new understanding about his behavior?  I don't know that either.  I do know that I felt empowered and still smile when I think about it.


Welcome to Day 2 of the Blogging From A to Z Challenge.  Today's letter is B. 






Image source
Image source

11 comments:

  1. I'm working on being better when confronted by rude people. On Friday night an older man cut in front of us at a restaurant to put his name down with the hostess. When I said, "Excuse me, we were here first" he disagreed with a vengeance! But he was wrong. My kids are still talking about him. I'm trying to use it to show them that not everyone is nice and you will run into people who are not nice. Good for you for keeping your cool!

    ReplyDelete
  2. The man is a survivor and knows how to get his way, but that's not saying his way is right. The problem with people is that we don't want to embrace patience. We're always in a hurry, and as a result, we die of stress. (Americans are horrible with stress. It kills more Americans than anything else.) Everyone needs to seriously take a chill pill. (I'm traveling to Tennessee tonight. Am I packed and ready? No. But eventually I will be. I'm not stressing about it. At 49, almost 50, I've learned not to stress out about things.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I live in a metropolitan very high-stress area. You can just "feel" the tension in people as you drive, shop, etc. Everyone is in a hurry and anxious. You're right, it's not a healthy way to live.

      Delete
  3. Serving the public is a thankless job, i'm sure the cashier appreciated your support! He sounded like a jerk!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Good for you for standing up for the cashier! Someone has to stand up for the little people and you know what? You don't have be the burly hero that most people envision. Superman could even be a small child...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have to admit that I did feel a little bit like Superwoman when I left the store.

      Delete
  5. If nothing else, I'm sure the cashier appreciated your efforts.

    ReplyDelete
  6. A kind word turns away wrath. This does NOT mean that we have to lie down and get walked on, but that when there's something that needs to be said, that we say it in truth and love - kindness. That is EXACTLY what you did and believe me, it is a MUCH harder victory to stay kind in the face of bullying.

    I'd get in line with you any day!
    Becky

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have never understood why people think it will help in any way to sigh and whine. There's a line...big deal. Be grateful we have the means to stand in line with a basket full of food. I just get out my Kindle and read while I wait!

    ReplyDelete
  8. This story makes me super happy. One day Aldi cashier, who knows who you could champion next? :-)

    ReplyDelete