Giving You A Break

, , , , | Hopeless | April 16, 2018

(I work in the bakery department of a busy grocery store. The lines are always long at the main cash registers, so my coworkers and I usually try to buy food for break or lunch in our department. One day, it’s particularly busy for us, with customers lining up at the coffee bar and the cake case, and catching anyone who is putting out product with questions. Many of them are unhappy with waiting and are impatient with us when we can finally help them. My manager sees me finish taking an order with a particularly difficult customer and pushes me out of the department to grab something to eat for the first time all day. I go up to the main registers to cash out, since I know that my coworkers are already stressed out with how busy it is. I find the shortest line — six customers, several with big carts full — so I can to begin the wait which I know will take up most of my break. The woman in front of me looks around and sees my uniform.)

Woman: “Oh, you must be on break! I know you don’t get a lot of time; do you want to go in front of me?”

(I stammer a thank-you, and move in front if her. The next couple in line turns around, and offers the same.)

Me: “Oh, no, that’s okay. You guys don’t have a lot to check out, either.”

(They shook their heads, insisted that they had nowhere to be, and moved aside to let me go first. This process continued all the way up the line, with every single person at that point hearing that the people behind them were letting me go so I’d have time to eat. I cashed out very quickly, turned back to my very sweet customers and thanked them all again, letting them know how much it meant to me, and ran off to eat. I’ve had sweet customers, but never an entire line of them, and it really restored my faith in humanity.)

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