Posted: June 26, 2008 in Church, Happenings, Perspective

I did part of my grocery shopping at Target yesterday.  That’s exciting for me because it just sounds cooler than “I did my shopping at Piggly Wiggly.”  Okay, before any of you are offended that I laugh at the name “Piggly Wiggly,” remember that I have a juvenile mindset and laugh at anything with “piggly” or “wiggly” in the name (Plus, I have shopped there myself, so relax).

Anyway, where was I?  Oh, yeah…Target.  I see this sale on Little Debbie chocolate snack cakes:  10 boxes for $10.  Since I have taste for snack cakes (and the gut to prove it) plus 2 children who also like snack cakes, I thought, “I can justify buying these if the boxes are $1 each.”  Fat guys like me have our own logic, I suppose.  So I throw 3 boxes in the cart next to the kids’ Capri Suns and the 1% lowfat milk (which seems a bit of a contradiction) and head to checkout.

The scanning and the beeping begins, when I notice the screen rings up each box at $1.43 instead of $1.00 each.  I ask her about it, and she speculates that unlike some place like Publix, you probably have to buy all 10 to get the sale price.  After more fat-guy logic that these things will last all summer long for me and my kids if I have 10 boxes (or at least a week), I return back to the far end of the store, grab 7 more boxes, and return to the check-out.

Different check-out person. Scan.  Beep.  $1.43 even after all 10 are entered.   I point out that these things are supposed to be on sale.  Without saying a word, she pulls out a weekly ad, browses through it, and points out that I must have mistaken the 10 for $10 sale with the 2 for $6 sale on Hostess cakes.

This is where the fun begins.  But before I go on, know this:

  1. I did well in math, and I can tell the difference between 2 for $6 ($3/piece) and 10 for $10 ($1/piece).
  2. I know the difference between Little Debbie and Hostess.  Sure, both are just fat-makers in plastic wrappers, but come on…I can read.
  3. I already felt pretty stupid buying 10 of these things, so this is the last thing I wanted to make a scene about.
  4. I can read a mylar (the little price stickers/ads on shelves).

Anyway, the cashier keeps insisting that I am wrong.  I insist, no…I am right.  I’ve been there twice now to pick these things up.  I know the difference between 2 for 6 and 10 for 10.  And on and on, with her just staring at me like, “You’re wrong, so what do you want me to do?”

Being ever so clever, she decides to call someone in that area.  She does this twice over the course of about 3 minutes, and no one ever responds.  So now she’s obviously not only frustrated with me, but with the rest of the staff as well.  Finally, with extra loud finger smashing upon the buttons on the register, she forces a price change to the 10 for $10 that I insisted it was, packs them in bags, and I put them in my cart.

Being the nice guy that I am, I tell her nicely, “Thanks for correcting that price.”  But for some reason, she feels she has to get in the last jab:  “Well, sir, that price was wrong.  I corrected it this time, but I won’t – she says “won’t” like a mom scolding a kid – do it again.

Up until this point, my frustration had been more of a laughable experience.  But with this last comment, I felt a small flame of anger begin to burn inside that I found hard to suppress.  But instead of making a scene in front of her and my children, I smiled that the price had been changed and walked out of the store.

I had right information.  Based on an ad on the shelves, I had already expended a lot of time/energy trekking the length of the store twice (well, exercise is good, eh?) to buy this product.  Yet this cashier insisted it was my mistake.  Judging by her last comment, she was calling me (1) stupid or (2) a liar.  I honestly do not know why she changed the price at all.

Anyway, there is a Dave-Anderson-like-point in all this somewhere, and it’s about attitude…and it’s about church.  We can put a lot of work into our programs, our sets, our music, our series, our setup/breakdown – anything church-related.  But a bad attitude can destroy the experience for someone – even if we’re doing the right thing with that bad attitude.  The girl at Target made it right, but was never happy about it.  I will remember that more than anything else.

But the people we are impacting with our church aren’t customers; they are people who need Jesus Christ.  And in spite of all the cool music, good kids’ programs, great videos – all the stuff done right – all it might take to turn someone off to church and to God is the wrong attitude.

When it comes to reaching/connecting with people, having a “joyful heart” is not optional.


On a side note, I only ate one snack cake for dessert last night.  I’m not surrounded on the couch by empty boxes and wrappers, just to re-assure you that my pursuit of exercise and weight loss has not taken a turn for the worse.  Heh.


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