A lesson about making quick judgements while in the Home Depot

As anyone who’s visited a Home Depot knows, many now feature self-check out lines, which are a great time saver when you’re buying nothing more than a handful of screws, a light bulb or a roll of duct tape.

Typically there are four stations – two on the right, two on the left and a station in the middle for that helpful store representative when the computers begin acting up. Logically speaking, one might assume that two lines would form on each side – customers passing through one right after another, not crossing lanes. But maybe I’m wrong on this one, as I found out today on a recent trip to the home improvement giant.

I was on the left hand side waiting for a station to open up. Directly beside me (on the right) was another customer doing the same. When a spot in my lane opened up, I immediately moved forward to check out. But in doing so I apparently cut in front of the customer on my right, who believed it was his turn to check out in that spot – even though the both of us were in the very same spot on line, just different lanes.

Honestly, I was a little confused by his displeasure as I didn’t really feel as though I’d done anything wrong. He used a couple of expletives that I won’t repeat, regardless of the fact that I apologized and offered to step aside. He declined as another spot opened up right away. He then went on to say (and I quote) “some people think they’re entitled in life.”

I was dumfounded and honestly insulted. Anyone who knows me or has read anything I’ve written on this blog will attest that while I might be a lot of things, entitled is NOT one of them.

Maybe I was in the wrong on this one. I can’t really say that I’ve ever seen any official documentation stating the right and wrong way to move through a self-check out line at a local retailer. Perhaps I missed it? Regardless, this is a wonderful example of how people jump to conclusions and make assumptions about total strangers based on a momentary occurrence.

We all do it – myself included. A brief encounter with a person often causes us to form an inaccurate opinion of them – usually an unflattering one. We rarely think about the circumstances of their life or the “place” they find themselves in emotionally or physically. All we can do is form an opinion based on a small blip on the radar of life. Sad really.

Richelle E. Goodrich writes in her book, Smile Anyway: Quotes, Verse & Grumblings for Every Day of the Year:

“Perhaps, if you weren’t so busy regarding my shortcomings, you’d find that I do possess redeeming qualities, discreet as they may be.  I notice when the sky is blue.  I smile down at children.  I laugh at any innocent attempt at humor.  I quietly carry the burdens of others as though they were my own.  And I say ‘I’m sorry’ when you don’t.  I am not without fault, but I am not without goodness either.”

I AM not without faults, I assure you. But when someone offers an apology for something inconsequential in the grand scheme of life, that should be enough to eliminate the need for expletives.