Honey or Vinegar

You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Or so the saying goes.

I played eyewitness to someone else’s “vinegar moment” today. And the response of the flies.

After naptime this afternoon, I piled the boys in the car for a quick run to a local specialty retailer (which shall remain nameless) to stock up on a few supplies.

It was after 4 PM — that magic hour between school dismissal and the end of the workday when everyone else is trying to cram in their last-minute errands, too— so I was braced for delay. Patience is not one of my core competencies, but after all, life is waiting and I’m learning acceptance is key.

Plus, my five-year-old is going through a very “anti-wait” phase, so I’m trying to set a good example by not being in such an all-fired rush all the time.

As expected, the checkout lines were long. (At least my mental preparation wasn’t for naught.) But apparently, not everyone was prepared.

To be fair, I don’t know how long the woman in front of me had been standing in line. Nor do I know what was the source of the delay. But whatever the time lapse, it was evidently far too long. I was busy enough trying to distract the boys from the candy rack our place in line had unluckily designated us to stand beside that I didn’t really tune into her increasing complaints, but I was vaguely aware that her companion or the poor person who called her on her cell phone were getting an earful.

After a few minutes, a CSM (Customer Service Manager) passed by, giving the woman in front me an opportunity to express her displeasure and “encourage” the CSM to ring her up on another register. No dice. The crabby customer’s turn at the checkout eventually came, whereupon the cashier gave her some policy excuse, explaining why the CSM couldn’t open another register — which didn’t seem to deflate her outrage one whit. The woman paid and left in a huff.

I don’t think she was more than two inches out the door when the CSM asked me if I was ready to check out and guided me over to a newly-opened register. It was as if the employees were waiting for Miss Crabby Pants to leave before making sure every other customer was checked out as quickly as possible.

I thought it was pretty funny until I started wondering if I’ve ever been such a raging lunatic that a Customer Service Manager will go out of their way to offer less service. Hmmmm. I’m not one for such moments in public — I save all my vinegar for those I love the most! — but I feel myself becoming more inclined as I get older.

Anyway, it was a good reminder of the value of a “sweet temper.”

I know I could certainly use a little honey in my crabby old soul.

Happy weekend,


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