How I Achieved Inner Peace In the Checkout Line

Meditations in Motion

I’m just going to say it right now: grocery shopping is one of my least favorite chores. I don’t know why. I can’t explain it.

I never go to the grocery store without my trusty shopping list in hand. I don’t want to spend one more minute in the supermarket than I have to.

When I am at the grocery store everything irritates me.

People who park their shopping cart on the left side of the aisle and peruse the labels of items on the right side of the aisle so no one can get past.

The grocery store discontinuing my favorite brand of yogurt made from whole milk at a local dairy.

Or, the very worst: having the cashier ask if I want my grocery items bagged.

This happened again yesterday. My husband, who goes shopping with me (misery loves company), visibly winces in the checkout line whenever I am asked this question.

This week, I had three eight-packs of seltzer water, a five-pound bag of potatoes, and a pack of toilet paper, along with many other smaller items. The cashier asked me five times if I wanted those items in a bag.

No,” I wanted to respond, “Please place everything in the cart without bagging it. I want to carry each individual item into the house separately. Do you not understand the concept of bags?” But I plastered a smile on my face and said, “Yes, please.” Five times.

It’s not like we are using the store’s precious bags. We bring our own canvas bags to hold our groceries.

Then I remembered this quote from the Dalai Lama; β€œDo not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.”

Meditations in Motion

This quote from the Dalai Lama is wise and true, but it’s not always as easy as merely flipping the serenity switch. I believe there are three basic truths I need to accept (or recall) before I can follow the Dalai Lama’s enlightened advice.

  • First, I need to practice gratitude in all situations. Recalling my many blessings puts me in the correct frame of mind to give grace to others. Even on my worst days (and yesterday was not one of my worst days), there are still many things to be grateful for. Rather than complaining about an interaction with a cashier, I should be grateful for the ability to buy fresh, nutritious food for a relatively low price at a convenient, clean supermarket.
  • Next, I must remember each person has a life, a story, problems. Everyone has experienced heartbreak and trauma. We can’t know what is going on in someone else’s mind. I tend to get caught up in my own life, with my own problems and my own thoughts. The cashier I interacted with yesterday may have been dealing with some terrible stuff. She may have recently learned of an upsetting medical diagnosis or she might be going through a divorce or her dog may have died. The last thing I want to do is make someone’s day worse. I need to get over myself.
  • Finally, I must believe I am worthy of happiness. For some reason, while I am quick to give grace and forgiveness to others, I am sometimes hesitant to extend the same tolerance to myself. Understanding that others are human and therefore imperfect is somehow easier than realizing that I am human and therefore imperfect. Humility (also my word for the year) is the key to compassion.

Most people do not irritate us on purpose. We are all human, we see our lives only from our own perspective.

Gratitude, humility, and the ability to see life from others’ points of view lead to inner peace.

Maybe we can add bagging my own groceries to that list too.

 

You can find the places I link up here.

Please click on the following link to read more funny or inspirational one-liners. One-Liner Wednesday.

Meditations in Motion

 

 

117 comments

  1. I know our cashiers ask us if we want bags because we have to pay for them if we do. I say, No thanks, I brought my own and hand over all my bags. If there is no bagger there, I usually bag my own groceries, both to save the checker time and because then I can organize them a little better. Our grocery store – God bless them– has a habit of hiring some physically/mentally challenged individuals and they can be a little haphazard with things sometimes (think bread on the bottom of the bag). I also try really hard to remember to thank the cashier by name and make eye contact, especially if they have had a difficult customer in front of me, which happens a lot.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have started bagging my own groceries just to prevent irritation. I am a terrible grocery bagger, however. It’s like packing up the car – I can’t do that either. πŸ™‚

      Good for you, Janet. Your attitude toward the cashier is so much more compassionate than mine. I am going to think of you the next time I am irritated at the grocery store!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m not a big fan of grocery shopping either. Whenever my husband goes with me, he takes over the bagging (we bring our own bags too). My favorite things about him doing it rather than the store’s bagger is that he is careful not to put things that can be squished on the bottom and he distributes the weight between all of our bags. The stores’ baggers seem to have a contest to see how much stuff they can cram into one bag. Having him do it gives me inner peace πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • My hubby is a good grocery packer. I am terrible. We are the same way when packing our suitcases – his looks perfect, mine looks as if it were packed by a second grader with one hand tied behind his back.

      I’m glad you found inner peace at the grocery store. I am still working on finding mine! πŸ™‚

      Like

  3. I absolutely love the title of this post, Laurie. And your message! All so much easier said than done, so a good reminder. I find I ‘remember better’ on the days when I meditate. Which means I should be doing that every day, of course…

    Liked by 1 person

      • Laurie – meditation is not easy. It’s not for everyone and plus you are no doubt type A, driven kind of personality, high achiever which can make it hard to sit still.

        Since I taught yoga and meditation at one time, I would tell friends and students to do what works for them. Reading spiritual texts and reflecting upon them is a meditation. Not everyone can or is meant to sit in one spot for 15-30 minutes+ and try to empty their head. I’m sure your running is a meditation for you. Often my golf is a meditation for me.

        I used to also tell students to set a timer and just sit and try to follow the breath. If thoughts came in, it was okayβ€” just watch them pass like clouds in the sky. I would tell them to start out small – 5-10 minutes. And knowing the timer would be the signal to end the session made it easier to do for some reason. There was going to be an end ha ha!

        I still set a timer! But my practice is very sporadic these days. I still hope to get back to a daily or regular practice where I simply sit and concentrate on breathing for 15-20 minutes, and for me I feel that’s enough! Some days I find the mind is more stirred up than other days, so we go easy on ourselves!

        Susan Grace

        Liked by 1 person

      • I do read and reflect on spiritual texts, but you are right – it is hard for me to sit still. Evening is the best time for me to relax and concentrate on meditation or reflection. My running is a time of meditation. the rhythm of my feet hitting the pavement, the long hours alonw with my thoughts…I may try sitting with a timer. That is appealing to me. Thank you, Susan!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I know I get irritated sometimes by little stuff … I am fighting a losing battle with robocallers … not for the election, just robocallers in general on my landline. They ring incessantly Laurie until I feel I will lose my mind. I understand to pick up is bad … I often lift the receiver off the cradle to silence the phone, but I think that encourages them to call back more often. But, all day long! I have been shutting the phone off so I see the red bar flash on my speakerphone and I look at the caller I.D. – I have picked up the phone and been less than kind. I don’t care about who is on the receiving end, but I amazed myself at my lack of control to be able to just dismiss the noise and let it go ….

    Liked by 1 person

    • I get irritated at the little stuff, then I get irritated that I allow myself to get irritated. Ugh! I need to take a chill pill, Linda! πŸ™‚

      We don’t have a landline anymore. The only person who called us on it was my mom and robocallers. When Mom passed, it was just the robocallers who used it so we ditched it and now just have cell phones. My phone even identifies “Spam” calls and sends them right to voicemail. They never leave a message. I think you are right – when you “answer” the call, it encourages them to call back.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I do the same thing Laurie – I rant and rave sometimes and no one is listening to me, but I get it off my chest, but I have been turning the phone off so only the red bar flashes as I was getting so angry at the ringing 10-12 times as it was nerve-wracking. I rarely use my cellphone, but likely after I’m retired I will probably ditch the landline too. I use the speakerphone for work or I’d do it now.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s great that you have a plan to make grocery shopping more pleasant.

    I like shopping for food, and John doesn’t particularly care for it. I enjoy looking at everything I pass, while John races through the store. You’d think he was in a timed race. I almost get whiplash trying to keep up with him while seeing as much as possible.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is one of my favourite topics! Your first two bullet points remind me of the book “The Stoic Challenge” by William B Irvine. This is so helpful in daily life – I am much calmer and more patient now.
    Adding humility makes perfect sense. You can’t practice the first two bullet points without being humble. Thanks, Laurie!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hello again, Laurie.

    Enjoyed earlier, a few of your posts with your experiences in the woods and of running as well.

    And this time, a different experience: “It’s not like we are using the store’s precious bags. We bring our own canvas bags to hold our groceries.” Thoughtful and observant individuals as yourself and your husband seem to stand apart from the rest… in a good way.πŸ™‚

    Appreciate your descriptive writing style with lessons.

    Thank you. Peace be with you and your loved ones!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Often I find going to the grocery store akin to being on one of the “seven circles of hell.” Grin; bare it and get out. I love how you wrapped it up at the end.

    In my job, I often tell new recruits, that the person you’re dealing with may have had something happen to them 15 minutes before that is entirely shaping how they react with you. That they have a story of their own life that has brought them to this point and the story might be good or it might be a not so good one.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh I feel your pain! πŸ˜• Whenever they as me if I want a bag, I want to respond, “No I want to walk out of the store so your security department can tackle me on the sidewalk for shoplifting” Because those are the optics.
    Grocery stores I can understand as many bring their own bags now, but it is very annoying when other stores ask if you want a bag

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Laurie, I also dislike grocery shopping and hence, go with a shopping list. My husband on the other hand, LOVES going and goes up and down every aisle. We both very much enjoy going together. We tease each other that one of us (me) will learn to slow down and mosey; while the other (he) will learn not to meander so much as it leads to losing one’s way and company πŸ™‚ The checkout process has become a place of connection as I love to talk to the cashiers and he enjoys packing our groceries in the bags we bring. Doing it together has made me come to the point of not disliking grocery shopping as much as I used to. Who knew grocery shopping would become such an adventure for us all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, my husband is the same as yours. He has so much more fun grocery shopping than I do. I should learn from the guys in this situation! I love reading about how you have made connections to make your shopping experience better. I need to take that approach!

      Like

  11. It’s funny. Sometimes, I choose the self-checkout instead of a clerk I don’t know, or worse, one that I do know and I know I’ll be frustrated. Yesterday, I was ready to punch the self-checkout as it rolled my receipt into a ball that would require a human to retrieve but gleefully said “Thanks – Don’t forget your receipt!”

    I guess the search for inner peace is an ongoing journey.

    Liked by 1 person

      • It’s funny, our big grocery is one place I don’t use self-serve. There’s no place to put your bags when they’re full. If you put them back in the cart, the wandering clerk looks at you like you’re about to run.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Gratitude, humility and seeing the world through another’s eyes . . . That is most definitely the recipe for inner peace, Laurie. Not always easy to do, but I know when I let thankfulness step forward in my day, that day goes beautifully.
    Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This: remember each person has a life, a story, problems. It’s something I’m improving at but I still have a long way to go. In our grocery store acting courteous to the cashier is mandatory. Half of them go to school with my kids.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. It sounds like the clerk was on automatic at the store, so distracted by her thoughts that she never really listened to your response. Yes, worthy of compassion. There are times when I am like that, too. Usually, I’m ungrounded and don’t know until I get the look and the sass that told me I’d asked before. My life is stable and good, but there are times when I am distracted and unfocused. Honestly, I checked groceries back in college, and it is a bit mind-numbing.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Good words and perspectives to live by. We truly are responsible for our own happiness, or joy. It is so true that we have no idea what the people around us have been dealt. It’s my guess that the Dalai Lama didn’t do a lot of supermarket shopping, either.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, you are preaching to the choir here. The one lesson I taught my kids over and over again is that we are each responsible for our own happiness. You would think I would listen to myself and find happiness at the grocery store, wouldn’t you? πŸ™‚ I would love to invite His Holiness to come shopping with me – just for the experience!

      Like

  16. I worked at Weis Markets from 2008 – 2012 and other than upper management being awful (once had a district manager shove an empty coffee cup at me at the service desk and order me to throw it away, no please or thank you) and always cutting hours/creating unnecessary stress after I worked there a few years, I absolutely loved it. That experience taught me the best and worst times to go grocery shopping as I too hate dealing with people and want to be in and out ASAP.

    I love your line “Most people do not irritate us on purpose” and need to use it on Jason sometime as he seems to get upset very easily particularly when driving and treats people as if they’re out to get him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Two of my own kids worked at this exact same market (SKH) when they were in high school. Bill’s time to get irritated is in the car too. He is mellow when grocery shopping and often browses and makes fun impulse buys.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. When I go to the movie theater, I order a small buttered popcorn. EVERY TIME they ask me, “Would you like buttery topping on that?” (Yes it’s buttery topping because god-forbid we’d use actual butter!) I give them the look that our English teachers use to give us when we asked if we could go to the bathroom. Some gave snarky replies such as “I assume since you don’t want to use the closet or desk, that your ability to actually walk to the bathroom is not the issue?” I then say sweetly, “which is why I ordered the small BUTTERED popcorn.” Word has gotten around, so now they don’t ask me that anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I’m with you on the whole grocery store experience, Laurie. I even wrote an editorial one time to a local newspaper about it. Drive.me.bananas! Lol! But I like the way you’re choosing to deal with these kinds of irritations. I need to do this too, especially the next time I’m in a grocery store! πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Oh girl! The grocery store is my double edged sword. I love the actual groceries, especially produce, I cannot stand anyone in the store. And(!!!) the way some of these check out clerks pack (my reusable) bags makes me downright stabby!
    I feel this post deep in my soul. ❀

    Liked by 2 people

  20. I have been very impatient lately with worker bees…those in customer service like the plumber I called about our leak, my mother’s OT, PT, speech therapists, my nail technician. I try to be patient but when I pay for a job to be done, I expect it to be done right, and right the first time. I appreciate your gentle reminders above.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I pray for patience almost daily. I think God may get tired of me asking for the same thing all the time. Reflecting God’s love is not always easy! πŸ™‚

      Like

  21. I get anxiety going to the grocery store and the minute I walk in my brain turns to mush (even if I have a list!) so for many years I’ve shopped with my super organized hubby who keeps me on track and treats everyone he meets with respect and kindness. He puts me to shame as I am more volatile but I learn so much from my husband, bless him. But being a self reflecting kind of person, I am always seeking how to be a better person, learn my lessons and apply them.

    What I appreciate about your writing, Laurie, is you admit and share your shortcomings with your readers and I feel I’m not so alone when I too want to scream inside ha ha.

    Yet serenity and inner peace are important to me too, so β€œme, myself and I” are definitely a lifetime project because nothing beats that peace that passeth all understanding. I aim to work towards that goal every day and it’s a full time jobπŸ˜„

    Susan Grace

    Liked by 1 person

    • My hubby is the opposite. He loves to shop, makes impulse buys and is a social butterfly at the grocery store. I need to take my cues from him! πŸ™‚

      My goal is more peace through patience and compassion too. Reflecting God’s love is hard work (especially in the grocery store!)

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I do think your basic truths are a great way to make it easier for you. Hope your next visit to the supermarket is more relaxed.

    I love grocery shopping! I learned a long time ago to relax and accept that it will take a long time, so I’m never in a hurry. That helps a lot to start with. If an aisle is blocked, I ask (friendly) to let me pass, wait until they’re done or take another one.
    I had to smile at your irritation about discontinued brands. Around here (Curacao) grocery shopping is an adventure. You never know if they still have what you bought the week before. There’s no logic in the arrival of new supplies.
    The boys who pack our stuff (and bring it to your car and put it in the trunk!) are actually really good at it. It’s sometimes hard to get their attention, but I just wait, like the local women do. I’m not in a hurry…

    Reading this comment back I sound so relaxed… Wish that was true about other things in my life too πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow! You live in Curacao? What an exotic location! I don’t love grocery shopping but I actually am working at being more patient, especially in the grocery store! πŸ™‚ I do wish we had guys to pack my groceries up in the car for me, though.

      Like

  23. OH, you and I are true soul mates.
    I can’t get out of the store fast enough, and have to be SO mindful of others’ feelings when I’m there.
    And you’ll be interested in this spiritual discipline I reaped from reading The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer: Get in the longest line at the checkout and use that time to stand quietly, pray for the people around you and for the cashier, and remind yourself that life is not a race.
    I tried this at WalMart this week, and it nearly did me in. I guess I really need this discipline.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I DO love that discipline, Michele! It fits right in with the Lenten practice I have adopted – praying for someone I am not particularly fond of each day. I am going to try it tomorrow when I go grocery shopping. I hope my head doesn’t explode! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Hello, I feel the same way about grocery shopping. Especially when they throw my bananas into the bag. I think I would like to bag my own groceries. Lately the carts are everywhere, it is like a traffic jam. I try taking a breath and put my mind in another place. You are right on when you wrote ” see life from other points of view”. I think we could all be more patient and nice to others. Have a happy day!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Because I fee like I’m going to explode so much in the grocery, I just do Click list anymore πŸ™‚ LOL
    & to be the devil’s advocate here, I’m forever telling them, nah, dont put it in a bag … ONLY because I keep totes in my car & I put everything in that in my trunk so I can carry it all in in a bigger bulk. This is because I’ve had those moments where I’ve had everything one trip at a time & I’m like, WHO HAS TIME FOR THIS? πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I need to start doing that. It would be worth it to not have to grocery shop anymore. I know several people don’t like big items individually bagged. It wasn’t the cashier’s fault at all! πŸ™‚

      Like

    • I think some people would rather carry large items individually rather than having them bagged. I am not one of those people, though. It’s really not the cashier’s fault at all! πŸ™‚

      Like

  26. I didn’t notice anyone saying that they don’t bag some items at the grocery store, but that’s me! Thought I would tell the other side of the story. I don’t like having things that can be more easily carried bagged, even though I take my own bags. Huge bag of potatoes, jugs of water, bleach, laundry detergent, etc.= please don’t bag! I would rather carry them separately by the handles. So blame me, remotely, every time you get asked this question. Maybe it will help!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I have to say that I enjoy the wise quotes from the Dalai Lama. Grocery shopping is not for the faint of heart. *sigh* I have given it up and use the Kroger Click List shopping option. If you have it close to you, it is worth it, even though there is a lot to be learned by patience and gratitude in the store πŸ™‚ Thanks for linking up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am looking into having my groceries delivered. Or waiting for me to pick up when I pull up to the store. We don’t have any Krogers near us, though. Thanks for hosting.

      Like

  28. I dislike grocery shopping so much I keep putting it off and putting it off until we are down to some salt and rice and the hordes are clamoring for food. I used to grocery shop with my mother as a child. I never understood why she would complain about grocery shopping and hated it so much. Well, now I know. Love this, Laurie, getting our eyes and mind off our self and trying to think about the other person. We learn so much when we do this. About them and ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha! I used to shop with my mom as a child too. In fact, we shopped for 2 widowed neighbor-ladies too. I didn’t mind it then and my mom loved to go grocery shopping. I need to take a lesson from her!

      Like

  29. I have my groceries delivered, for that I am truly grateful. You are so right though, even annoying as some people may be, we don’t know there story. Just like they don’t know ours. If only more of humanity could be so undrestanding. #wotw

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I should do my shopping online. I think my hubby would miss going to the grocery store though. He loves grocery shopping! I guess it’s true – opposites attract! πŸ™‚

      Like

  30. I think it’s the lighting in grocery store sthat make it so agistating. That;s my theory! I have to admit I fall onto Team Don’t Bag It All! I prefer smaller items bagged but all the things I can grab by hand like toilet paper and jugs and six packs and sacks of heavy veggies I don’t want bagged. So it’s people like me who cause the question that annoys you! The best solution would be if the cashier recognized you and din’t need to ask.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I’m not a big fan of grocery shopping either – I tend to do it online these days and get it delivered which is much easier with than going shopping with children in tow! That’s a great quote from the Dalai Lama and I love your reflections on it too. It is easy to forget sometimes that everyone we encounter is dealing with their own problems and yes also difficult to forgive our own weaknesses and imperfections too. #WotW

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Laurie, your second point about not knowing what other people are going through is something I think of often and have tried (TRIED!!) to impress upon my daughters as well. So often, how people act has nothing to do with us. The quote is powerful, for sure. (I am one of those weird people who actually enjoys interacting with strangers at stores, but I am related to others who prefer not to.) Getting the groceries delivered sounds like a great solution! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good point, Lois – how people act often has nothing to do with us. Great lesson for your daughters. I should look into getting my groceries delivered. Or learn more patience! πŸ™‚

      Like

  33. My pet moan in supermarkets is when people block the aisles or the till chatting. Unaware of the rest of us that just want to get on with our day. But you are right. It may be their only chance to chat to another human being, and I really shouldn’t begrudge it. I tend to shop online now, so doesn’t happen often, but I’ll try and be a bit more forgiving in future. #wotw

    Liked by 1 person

  34. By the look of the rest of the comments, a lot of us struggle with grocery shopping. It is definitely not my favorite chore either. Right now my 90-year-old mom lives with us. She seems to think shopping is a day at Disneyland. We have taken as long as 3 hours. You have no idea how many times I repent. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  35. I’m with you on how irritating shopping can be. But also agree that people’s behaviour can be erratic even if they don’t mean it to be. I will look harder for my inner peace too! Thanks for sharing with #PoCoLo

    Liked by 1 person

      • I hate it when I’m at the deli counter and they ask me if I want to try it. Buying cheese. Want to try it? No, thank you. Ham. Want to try it? No, thank you. Turkey? No! I will ask if there is something I want to try. I’m not starving and I know how the thing that I had a million times in my life tastes. It gets to me, but I breathe, because I know that there are some people who want to try.

        Liked by 1 person

  36. I’ve had the same question asked of me, too: do you want this in a bag too? Yes, why would I want some things in bags and some things not in bags? lol. Your attitude adjustment is one I need to make often myself. This is so true: “Most people do not irritate us on purpose.” If we can remember just that, we’ll be better off.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s