I try to organize my shopping in a kind of loop, conserving time and gas so that I'm not running a crazy zig zag pattern all over town. Bringing my own bags helps, Aldi charges for them and Target gives you a 5cents per bag credit on your total. It's like a coupon! I love it.
Yesterday I spent the day in list mode.....I currently have 6 lists going. A grocery list, a "gifts left to buy" list - which will go with me and the grocery list today to be taken care of; a list for Sam's Club later this week for Christmas dinner essentials; one for regular household things that need to be done and another for all the "company is coming the day after we will be running around for 2 days" list - this is the planning ahead to keep my sanity list; and finally there is the list of dinners and what to expect in the evenings...mostly a "will dad be home or not" list.
These are all posted on the kitchen wall so people can help out and so I have a central place to look - an IN sight IN mind kind of thing.
My ordinarily efficient 2 hours of shopping this morning I assume will be less efficient and a tad more crowded. The routine is that I drop the Dude off at school and then head straight to the stores. I'll be doing the same today but I'll be shopping for more groceries than usual, as well as finishing the gift shopping and stopping at the new Goodwill to see if I can find some holiday tops for us.
When I am out on these days I try to keep to my morning time - in the summer I head out even earlier. Mornings are quiet, the staff hasn't been too stressed at this point and the required "customer within X number of feet away" greeting is friendly and genuine. I don't feel rushed or crowded, I can offer the people I meet with a friendly hello and get to know them just a bit. At the checkout lanes, because it isn't busy, anyone with less than I have in my cart gets the offer to go in front of me. There are little blessings that can be offered as we go about our business.
Too often I notice the entitlement and lack of courtesy to employees. Retail workers have the most thankless job. They are often treated as lowly, they take the brunt of customers frustration for decisions that are not in their control, they have to clean up the messes that people leave because they were too lazy to throw out their garbage (in the clearly labeled receptacle) or put their cart back where it belongs. Because I do my shopping on the same day and time of the week I see the same shifts of people. I hear about grandchildren being born, cancer treatments leaving them tired (but still working a standing job behind the register), deer eating up the garden, the stress and pressure of high volumes of customers and not enough workers.....not to mention the attitude of those customers. I hear the good and the bad, the smiles and the tears. These are human beings with lives and families and they deserve to be treated with respect.
For me, it is a part of my weekly shopping plan to be as friendly as possible to these good people. To take care of a stray cart or two, to fix a product or rehang a shirt, ask about a new baby or how things are going.
Jesus came not be served but to serve. Make the most of your encounters. Be responsible with your words and your actions. Be courteous as you are out and about and remember that if you put something back where it doesn't belong.....someone else has to do it for you. Hmm....as mom's isn't that what we repeatedly tell our kids? "Put your things back where they belong, I shouldn't have to clean up after you"....if only we all remembered that as adults.
Blessings to you today for the vision to see the unseen, to notice the small and spread good cheer,