This has been bugging me since it happened yesterday.
I arrived at the checkout till at my local supermarket with a cart full of goodies for my planned detox diet. You know, good stuff. Fruits, veggies, and whole grains.
Ahead of me was an old fellow with his (purchased re-usable) bag and only 3 bananas on the belt.
“90 cents”, the clerk told him.
“90 cents?”, he asks. “I weighed them and it should only be 75 cents”.
“Nope, 90 cents” the clerk re-asserts.
He thanks them and leaves WITHOUT his bananas.
During their exchange, I rummaged in my pockets and couldn’t come up with any change.
Then I’m thinking that this is unbelievable. We’re all freakin’ neighbours, the clerks, the man and I
He’s buying FOOD and for the sake of 15 cents they’re going to let him walk out? I wasn’t overly familiar with the clerks on duty or I would have said something…
Feeling like I had no recourse, I just about burst into tears.
Then, after realizing that I had 8 bananas in my cart, I hardly had time for the usual pleasantries with the clerk as she checked my items through. When done, I literally RAN outside with my 4 bags of goodies and luckily saw the man just approaching the edge of the parking lot.
Reaching him, I told him that I had too many bananas and asked if would he like some?
He asked me “How much” and I replied “nothing”, reiterating that I had too many.
He took them, was grateful and we went on our separate ways.
OK, this isn’t about me or my 90 cent “good deed”.
It’s about the fact that I am often completely flabbergasted by the lack of compassion in this world.
What the hell is wrong with people? Where the hell is their compassion?
I must admit that strong sentiment may be exacerbated by watching way too much American news about the debt crisis of late, and the fact that there are a whole slew of stupid (Tea Party) Republicans who would rather throw social security, medicare, medicaid and veteran’s assistance recipients under the bus before agreeing to increase taxes on oil companies and the very rich.
That thought alone makes me crazy. What the hell is the point of enjoying a slew of riches (inconceivable thoughout most of the rest of the world) if you can’t share what you have with others?
And yet here I was, in my own socially democratic country (which has excelled splendidly economically-speaking despite the American-induced worldwide recession) and watching employees of an IGA deny an obviously wanting pensioner good food.
No surprise to discover that IGA is an American owned grocery store chain.
American or Canadian, I can’t fathom that there are people in our country who would deny a pensioner FOOD for the sake of 15 freaking cents.
This story sickens me, and I am so glad you made the extra effort to help the man out. I’m old enough to remember decades ago when the US was a very different country. With all the medical and technological advances in the world, it’s a shame that in the area of how people treat people, we have lost so much ground.
I am a cashier…….take that 15 cents times at least 200 plus that come through the line EVERY day….yes it is
“if he/she can get away with it, than why can’t I” theory . $0.15 X 200 = $30.00, (I am on a short register the belts have anywhere from 400 to 500 or 600 people a day.)
The produce scales that are located in the produce dept. where I work are for estimating the weigh of produce..most folks do not (or can not) figure out the exact weight and price per pound of item……the scales at the registers are check to be accurate every morning.
$30.00 per day or more is a loss for any company to take…..it isn’t “just that one old gent” it is many people young, old, and anyone in between. That loss helps make the food prices go UP.
Now, you may say: “But he was the only one in line, besides me”…..but if he got by with a 15 cent less payment, and goes and tells the rest of the Senior citizens in his peer group. That could be a rather hard loss for the store.
Rosalind Gardner says
Hi Mrs. B.
You are so right. It was something I didn’t really think about when I wrote the piece.
Jon Mychal says
Great story, Ros. I can well relate, as I see this kind of de-personalizing on a daily basis here in the Megalopolis that is the “GTA”.
Nice to see you on Google+, as well! 🙂
BILL LAFOLLETTE says
I enjoyed the 3 banana story. I am a conservative in the US, also receiving SSI and still working to make ends meet. I am compassionate as well though and I like the idea of compassion as a choice not something that is forced upon us by a gov’t that has such trouble controlling it’s spending habits we find ourselves in the debate we are in. I do not think that the TP want to throw the others under the bus per say. The problem with the revenue stream into the treasury in this country is not so much a result of the tax rates as much as a result of not enough tax payers, i.e. 17 percent unemployment. The US was able to meet it’s debt obligations this last week due to inpart increased revenues into the treasury, guess from whom, taxpayers. If you did tax the rich more the increase would not be anywhere near enough to take care of the deficit. Perhaps we do not need to provide as many subsidies to the oil companies as we are, but that goes fore corn based ethanol programs as well. That is when the recession began in this country with the increase in corn prices which is great for the farmers, but not so good for those trying to buy 3 bananas or a box of corn meal etc. Couple that wit OPEC increasing the oil prices as well as oil speculators and those two things alone took such a big chunk out of peoples budgets, particularly those that bought houses that should not have with adjustable interest rate mortgages and boom the recession.
Rosalind Gardner says
Thank you very much for your comment.
I agree with almost everything you said except that cause for not enough revenue is 17 percent unemployment .
Revenues are low because 51% of households pay no income tax, coupled with more than a trillion dollars a year in reduced taxes, going to the top end.
Re “particularly those that bought houses that should not have”. We did not suffer the same fate here in Canada because we have legislation that makes it impossible for our Bay Street types to render such havoc.
So, sometimes it pays to have big bad government step in to protect against limitless greed (and incredible stupidity). 🙂
P.S. Totally with you on the ethanol thing. One of the worst ideas to come around in a long time.
Thank you for sharing both this with your readers and your bananas with the senior citizen. I’m sure this is not the only senior citizen who is having trouble making ends meet. Sometimes cashiers have a small container of pennies at their stations so they can throw in some extra change to help a customer. This sounds like it would be a good time for you to visit with the management of that store and perhaps suggest they now add nickels to the kitties at the cashier stations for use in situations like this, or maybe you and them can come up with a better idea on how they might provide a service to their needy customers… Personally, I would not be too hard on the cashier, though. Usually cashiers and other employees of a store have rules they must abide by and they are on camera. Pulling money from their own pocket could jeopardize their job. I personally saw a senior citizen with a flat tire coming into a store and he was followed by another customer. The senior said he had no money to get the tire fixed but wondered if there was someone who would change it. Otherwise, he was going to call his neighbor to come and help him. The customer who followed him in said he would pay to get his tire fixed, and I know he did. There are angels all around us, even when we don’t recognize them. In many stores (and especially casinos) employees are not allowed to pick up any change from the floor. I work part time and one day I was approached by a man needing change for a bill so his daughter could ride the mechanical horse provided by a vendor. I never carry money on the job. I told the man he could get change at customer service, and I also gestured toward two quarters lying on the floor, if fifty cents would work. He picked up the two quarters, smiled and thanked me, and his daughter got to ride the horse.
Rosalind Gardner says
Thanks kindly for sharing and for reminding me about the ‘penny jar’, which often does contain nickels and dimes. I’d be surprised if there wasn’t one at the till, but I promise you that I will check and if not, make the suggestion to the store manager the next time I’m there.
Thanks too for your perspective about the cashier. It occurred to me later that since the bananas are weighed, that information gets passed to the computer / register and that they can’t make changes to the price rendered.
Tim Hicks says
Wow! Sometimes I find “man’s inhumanity to man” to be absolutely stunning. It’s a shame that people treat each other so badly for the sake of fifteen cents. Good job, Ros, for being a caring soul.
As far as the political commentary, I won’t offer too much there because this is your site and you’re free to editorialize as you see fit. I would say that it’s not good to believe too much of the evening news…especially when it comes to politics. All of this posturing by the Democrats and the Republicans is really just for show. Despite what the president said, Social Security checks will go out. This is all to paint the other side as the “bad guys” so each side can ramp up to the 2012 elections. Heaven help us; it’s started already. Trust me, I spent over 20 years in the professional wrestling business. I know a show when I see one.
As far as IGA goes, I’m assuming that it is the same IGA that is here in the USA. If so, IGA stands for Independent Grocers Alliance and the stores are independently and locally owned. They just affiliate for buying power. (http://www.marketplaceiga.com/about-us/default.aspx).
Maybe, one day, we’ll all figure out how to get along and treat each other as we would like to be treated.
All the best,
Rosalind Gardner says
Posturing and ‘just a show’ is right. Sad that they spend so much time on political maneuvering rather than the jobs at hand. The country would probably fare better if there were no mid-term elections. Two years gives little opportunity to make change… just leads to politics for the sake of politics all the time.
I just wondered over here to your blog from your other newsletter and boy I can see you probably touched a big nerve of many of my fellow country boys, I mean country men over here in the US.
He he, I bet you probably got more than a few unsubscribes although I personally agree with your entire experience.
Jesus, who many Americans claim to be followers of stated we’re as believers to feed the poor, widowed, fatherless among you AND guess what the bible also stated. “Pay Ceasar what’s his…taxes”. There you have it.
Love, prosper, share, give and pay your taxes. Rather simple isn’t it.
Rosalind Gardner says
Not as many as I expected. 🙂
And you are SO bang on… there are a lot of Christian ‘pretenders’ out there. The very same who refer to the sick and poor as ‘the unproductive’. UGH.
I’m so emotional lol. I had tears right from the beginning.
I’m not surprised by that kind of situation. It happens all the time. I’m always thankful when I’m able to do something for someone like you did though. I’m happy to be a GOOD part of someone’s day. I would normally just pass them the 15 cents at the till without thought. I used to ponder what to do in those situations but as I’ve gotten older I find myself acting (good deeds) without thinking.
Garry Woods says
Sorry to say yes there are Good Christian’s and bad the same as non Christians, well that one thing We in our family of 11, 9 children our Dad and MomAlways told us to care about our neighbour, as our selves, I have worked hard all my life, and many times I have been behind some older Person in front of me who have not quite had enough to pay for their measly little bag of goodies and have spoken to the cashier, and said put it on my account.
as you say its not about me or you its a Principle we live by; then one day after doing a good deed for an elderly couple, an Idea came to me and so I Prayed about it, and thought yes why not,I wanted to start and Learn everything I could about Affiliate marketing, as so as I could set up my new Idea by making good commissions and giving Half into a Fund to just be about to walk around the IGA Supermarket here and give a $100.00 dollars to about a dozen Elderly who I see struggling each week,to help make Life a little bit easier.Ok
So I Purchased you Super Affiliate Hand Book, and have read it about 5 times cover to cover, trying to Grasp all your good ideas, then I came accross your $97.00 one time fee plus then $27.00 Per Month.Ros I don’t have the $97.00. first up yet but amm really trying to get it as so as I can see that dream come to pass, for those who I know could do with some extra help.
Some of these older guys fought for our Country as so as we can have the freedom we have today, they fought along side the USA, Canadains, and now still in Afganistan, Urak, and goodness where else, so yes thats my dream Ros, and thank you for all you are doing, and saying and speaking up, You are My Hero Ros Garry.xoxo
Rosalind Gardner says
Thank you so much for sharing your story!! It’s people like you who make the world a better place.
And just so you know, you won’t have to pay $97 to start my course pretty soon. We’re making some radical changes that should be ready in about a month or so. 🙂
Thank you for your thoughts. We really need to help keep the world human. Our seniors deserve better.
Alicen Webb says
This thread has really “hit a nerve” with me today! I recently read this in a book (paraphrased) ‘…instead of searching for
common ground, we should each as individuals be searching for higher ground. That, IMHO, is the way to rectify what is so grossly “out of sync” here in America.
BUT, with your usual “basic approach” you put it out there to all your followers and that will cause each of us to reassess our own personal journeys daily and the people we come into contact with.
Thanks for being the caring person you are and also for doing something about it (your post).