Parable of the Two Shoppers


Parable of the Two Shoppers

I was at the supermarket the other day and noted that the number of baggers was below normal. In most of the lanes, the cashiers were on their own. There were two men in front of me. One was a yuppie right out of central casting. Well dressed, coiffed, shoes shined, the whole package. Age about 30. The other was what some would call central casting also. He was mid 40s, dressed in construction gear, had a scruffy beard, dirty boots, and no doubt a gun rack in his pickup truck. I could probably predict the bumper stickers on each of their vehicles. Both had a basket full of groceries to be processed.

The first man in line stood there with his arms crossed, glaring at the cashier, as she processed his groceries and then bagged the entire batch. He didn’t even have his credit card out when she finished and we had to wait until he searched his clothing, found his wallet, pulled out his card, and processed it after the entire basket full of groceries was bagged and in his basket.

The second man in line sized up the problem immediately. He grabbed a bag and started filling it with his groceries. He had a couple of large heads of lettuce and some of the leaves fell on the floor. He picked them up, placed them in the trash and continued bagging. When the cashier was finished he already had his card out, processed it quickly, and finished bagging. He got his groceries in half the time as did the first man., and the rest of us in line greatly appreciated his alacrity.

I’m sure that by now you have seen through my little ploy. Yes, it was the scruffy guy who bagged his own groceries.

It has been my experience that those who work with their hands, who fix your plumbing, drive trucks, park your cars, build cities, pour concrete, plow the fields, can always find time to jump in and help when its needed.

These are the people, often denigrated, who work and honest day and get paid an honest wage. They have learned from their toil that lending a helping hand isn’t expected but is always appreciated.

These are lessons that can only be taught with experience, not in school. The next time you come upon an accident, or an emergency scene, take a look at who jumps in to help and who grabs their phone to take pictures. You shouldn’t be surprised, but many will.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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