DEAR CUSTOMER

  1. I'm told that I shouldn't blame you if you're rude to me.
  2. Because you might be having a bad day and are taking it out on me because I'm the first person you see.
  3. Which, fine, whatever.
  4. But is it really that hard to exchange pleasantries?
  5. When I ask about your day, is it that hard to ask about mine?
  6. Could we maybe exchange smiles, or even just eye contact?
  7. I had an elderly customer come through with her groceries. We exchanged hellos and how are yous, she admitted she felt frazzled.
  8. Most people say "fine," "okay, "not too bad."
  9. So naturally I asked if there was anything I could do.
  10. She said no, and informed me her best friend had died yesterday.
  11. Right away I wished I hadn't said anything. That I hadn't asked how she was.
  12. Because she wasn't okay.
  13. How could she be?
  14. She kept saying she hadn't processed it yet and how much younger her friend was and how it was making her think of her own mortality.
  15. I couldn't think of much more to respond with than a thousand apologies for her loss.
  16. At the end, she thanked me. Maybe just for bagging her groceries.
  17. Maybe for being someone to talk to in a time of desperate loss.
  18. I handed her receipt and looked at her and wished her my deepest condolences and said I would be thinking of her.
  19. I still am.
  20. I could have simply said "I'm sorry to hear that" when she admitted she was frazzled.
  21. She could have lied and said she was fine.
  22. I'm glad we didn't.
  23. Dear customer,
  24. I'm sorry your day went badly.
  25. It wasn't my fault, but I wish it were otherwise nonetheless.
  26. If I ask you how you are, I understand if you want to ignore me.
  27. Or lie.
    I do that all the time.
  28. But we're both humans, you know, and if you want to reach out, I will listen.
  29. Love,
  30. The Cashier