TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Editorials

August 22, 2013

When strangers treat you like a person

CORBIN —

I was brutally forced into dealing with this woman in a grocery store yesterday morning with a counting problem.

We’ve all seen it — we’ve all experienced it.

I’ve even talked about it before — so indulge me for a moment or two.

I had two things in my hand at the grocery store.

The place was pretty busy for mid-morning, but luckily the store manager knew to keep several check-out lanes open.

But it didn’t matter.

Building designers posted two signs suspended from the ceiling — both indicating the lanes below them were for folks just like me — with 15 items or less.

Three or four regular check-out lanes were open, and seemed to be moving pretty steadily.

However, the lane slated to be the fastest was actually dragging.

The woman in question with the counting problem clearly was over the 15-item limit.

And she, of course, saw me behind her, but was not planning to allow me to “express” my way out of the store.

So I made sure to stand within her eyesight, constantly looking at the sign, then back to her.

I then counted the beeps as the cashier was ringing the items up — 31 items — more than twice the store’s suggested limit for an “express” lane.

I used to work in a grocery store chain — and many times I would be stuck in the express lane.

In that store, “express” was defined as 10 items or less.

More than once an overpacked grocery cart would begin its way down my check-out lane — and over the course of my employment there I was known as the guy who would send those overpacked carts to the proper line.

I got yelled at more than once for doing it, but I often wondered, as I did yesterday, how that person would feel if the tables were turned.

I left the store highly agitated — and I had yet to arrive at work.

Even though it happened outside the office, I still came in the newspaper with a chip on my shoulder.

I had time to check e-mail.

I looked through a few items I have been working on.

And then the phone rang.

Now, I don’t mind answering the phone — it could be something big.

But when I feel a little cranky, like I did yesterday, then the cynic in me figures someone’s calling to scream and rant.

I was really in no mood.

But I answered the phone in a professional manner nonetheless, and was surprised.

The gentleman on the other end expressed concern over a “problem” he was having with one of our stories in the printed edition.

We were not mistaken in our reporting, but due to sheer coincidence, a person with the gentleman’s same first and last names had gotten himself into a bit of hot water.

The man told me his wife had received several phone calls of concern, and he, too, had experienced some “mistaken identity” issues.

But the nice thing — the really nice thing — was that he called and was very nice about his request. There was no screaming, or cursing, or yelling or any other kind of verbal assault.

It turned out to be a pretty pleasant conversation, and I was glad to get the chance to speak with the man.

It certainly made my day a little less agitating, especially after the counting-challenged woman I dealt with earlier.

It’s nice when a perfect stranger treats you as a person, especially in this day and age of the ongoing communication dichotomy — the growth of modern technology versus the death of face-to-face interaction.

I will say this — that pleasant telephone call definitely went a long way into improving my outlook for Wednesday.

I hope it lasts through the weekend.

John Ross is a reporter for the Times-Tribune. He can be reached at jross@thetimestribune.com

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • LIKE IT OR NOT: MLB's All Star effort was a bust

    With the 85th edition of Major League Baseball’s All-Star game in the books, I have to say I feel like the whole thing was a complete bust.

    July 18, 2014

  • THE WAY IT IS: Some local teams can make a run

    Well folks, our Little League All-Star action is beginning to wind down, and I’ve been fortunate enough to see two of the Tri-County’s resp

    July 17, 2014

  • LIKE IT OR NOT: It's been a very busy summer

    While a lot of people would expect the local sports scene to slow down in the Tri-County in the summer time, that’s not usually the case for us here at the Times-Tribune.

    July 16, 2014

  • John Ross.jpg May we all cherish those few WWII vets who still live

    I watch this old BBC program pretty often called “Are You Being Served?” It’s mostly out of syndication — what shows remain can be seen most often through PBS.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0502 Bobbie Poynter So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu

    I never have been very good at saying goodbye — family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, community — for years you’ve had my back and in turn, I believe I’ve had yours.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ronnie Ellis.jpg ‘Uh hummm!’ It’s been an interesting week

    One column can’t cover everything from a busy week of political events, but here are some quick takeaways from last week.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brad Hall.jpg Let’s multiply our numbers like fleas do

    Last Saturday, my wife, Carmen, and I spent the day at the Kings Island theme park near Cincinnati, Ohio.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • John Burkhart.jpg Not an earthly trace

    Just married (1897) and in his late 20’s, my grandfather was determined to make a living on a hillside farm covered in wilderness; much as his father had done before him in 1846  when he arrived from Germany.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brad Hall.jpg Col. Mustard with the candlestick in Heaven

    One of my favorite movies is the murder mystery comedy “Clue,” which is based on the popular board game of the same name.

    June 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • John Burkhart.jpg Now or Never

    A story is told of an old widower who decided it was time to find a new wife. He chose to look for this new bride through the obituaries column; identifying new widows.

    June 30, 2014 1 Photo

Front page
Featured Ads
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' House Committee at Odds Over Obama Lawsuit Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: UN School Used As Shelter Hit by Tank Shell Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy Plane Leaves Ukraine With More Crash Victims The Rock Brings Star Power to Premiere Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide