Sunday is grocery-shopping day. Every Sunday, almost immediately after church, I change clothes and head off to Publix. The shopping experience is a relaxing one, of sorts. I have a system. I have a list. I have a pattern. After I stop off at the deli to obtain a Mr. Pibb, I am off to the aisles and a typically complete my mission with little to no effort.
This week, however, something was different. Monday morning I searched and searched for items that I knew I had purchased, but they were nowhere in sight. In my head I thought, oh no, I must have left a bag on the counter and not brought it home. I was willing to let it slide considering the small significance of this missing item until I noticed something else: the four packs of chicken I bought were also missing!
OK, I made the decision, I was going to go back to Publix that afternoon and demand my missing items. I pulled the receipt out of the trashcan and circled everything that I had left without. In my head, I was rehearsing exactly what I was going to say. I was going to demand every single item for the exact same price that was paid. I was going to blame the bag boy when it came time to assign responsibility. I was going to use my consumer loyalty as an intimidation against their cooperation and threaten a Kroger alliance if necessary. Basically, I was ready for any kind of confrontation that may arise out of this mistake.
I marched into that shopping center with authority. I sought out the first manager that I saw (there was no time to deal with anyone of less significance). I whipped out my receipt and began my ramble of the irresponsible incident that caused me to not receive all that I had paid for. You would not believe the reaction…
The manager was apologetic. The manager was kind and helpful. He walked with me through the store as I picked out everything that I was missing. He benevolently bagged all the items with no waiting in line and apologized once again for my inconvenience. He was so kind that I didn’t even get to rant and rave like I had prepared for all afternoon.
I sat in my car for a while after leaving the store, bags of groceries at my side. His kindness has convicted me. I was so ready for a battle that I went in armed. It never even occurred to me that Publix would handle this situation in a non-confrontational manner, I mean; this wasn’t how things were typically dealt with in an economy like ours. This was unusual. This was extraordinary. This was Christ like.
“"A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare." – NIV