Jumping to conclusions is not a good idea

August 5, 2010 at 1:10 pm 3 comments

Alissa is playing with her princesses – Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella.  They are talking to each other.

“What do you want to do?”

“I don’t know.  What do you want to do?”

“Let’s go to Dillons.  We’ll go get groceries.”

Thus decided, her princesses all pile into their royal coach and drive to the imaginary grocery store four feet from their castle.  They proceed to buy bananas, cookies, and crab rangoon.

We obviously spend a lot of time in Dillons.  We do frequently buy bananas, Alissa frequently implores me to buy the cookies, and once in a while we get the crab rangoon.

I try to time my major grocery shopping trips for weekends or evenings, when I can leave the hooligans at home.  It makes the shopping trip so much easier.  If I’m just grabbing a few things, though, I’ll take the girls with me.  Ashley’s no trouble in the seat for short periods, and Alissa enjoys being my helper.

Last week we were picking up some items at the Dillons near our house.  As we neared the end of our shopping trip, the girls were getting restless and I was getting impatient.  Time to head to the register.

Alissa has a ritual at the checkout in Dillons.  She loves to get a sticker from the sacker.  She always asks nicely – “Can I please have a sticker?” – and they usually respond with a quick “here ya go.”

This day, however, the sacker didn’t respond when she asked him.  The sacker had his back to us, concentrating on precisely filling up my shopping bags.  She waited for a moment, and then – in true Alissa fashion – turned up the volume a bit on her second request.  Still no response.

The frustration was evident in her voice when she asked the third time.  “MAY I PLEEEEEZ HAVE A STICKER?” she asked loudly.  This time he heard her.  In a sharp tone, he said to her, “WHEN I GET A CHANCE.”

Alissa looked at me, the hurt feelings obviously on her face.  “Tweety, he’s working,” I told her, even though I was fuming on the inside about his tone.  “Let him do what he needs to do.”

To her credit, she waited quietly as he SLOWLY packed the bags.  I have two large canvas bags, and he had them both open in the shopping cart.  Methodically, he would pick up an item from the conveyer belt, turn around the cart behind him, and search for the perfect spot for the grocery.  I was getting frustrated as well.  Let’s move this along, shall we?  Checking out seemed to be taking an eternity.

Finally, the last item was bagged and Alissa got her sticker.  “I’ll help you to the car with this.  You just get them,” he said, nodding towards the girls.

That was the longest sentence he had said.  And it suddenly occurred to me – he was deaf.  At least partially, based on his speech pattern.  Maybe he really hadn’t heard Alissa when she asked for a sticker.  And maybe his response to her wasn’t really a tone of annoyance, but just his tone in general.

We got to the car with the groceries.  When I started to reach for a bag, he stopped me.  “I’ve got this,” he said.  “I have a system.  You can just put the girls in the car.”

Okay.  Who am I to mess with his system?  And honestly, it is kind of exhausting loading up the girls and all the groceries.  I know it’s part of his job, but it is nice of him to share the workload.

I got the girls home and lugged the bags into the kitchen.  As I started to unpack the bags, I discovered he also has a system for sacking.  He had organized everything so precisely that putting everything away was a breeze.  While I was getting impatient with his lack of speed, he was making my life easier.

How many times do we do this: rush to judgment about something only to find out our immediate perception is wrong?  We let our impatience, our crankiness, our bad day get in the way of our interactions.  We take things the wrong way before we know all the facts.  And it’s not just with strangers – we do this with friends, with family, and with everyone we come into contact with.

The incident reminded me how easy it is to let my thoughts run away with me.  I need to take them captive, to study all the facts before rushing to judgment or criticizing someone else.  I need to put myself in someone else’s shoes for a moment before jumping to conclusions.  And maybe I’ll find someone that’s made my life easier and brought an unexpected moment of sunshine to my life.


Entry filed under: Life in general.

What's for dinner?

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Maria  |  August 5, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    Amy, that was an AWESOME post!! May I share on Facebook? I loved it!!



  • 2. amymanatee  |  August 5, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    You can certainly share! Thank you!!!

  • 3. Sandee  |  August 6, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    It is so easy to jump to conclusions, to impose our perceptions on others, to just be self-centered. You are to be commended for your perception and kindness. Loved this piece.


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