I know when I am starting to feel a little grumpy because I don’t feel that way very often these days. When I do, I take care to pay attention to my impact on others. I don’t want my grumpiness to leak out and affect someone else’s day.
By the time I got to the electronics store yesterday evening to pick up my order of a new monitor, I knew I was starting to get grumpy. I was tired, hungry and it had been a long but good day. I was just ready to relax and have some dinner by that time.
I went to the register where you go to pick up items ordered and paid for online. It seemed that the entire store was deserted and my grumpy meter went up another notch. “Breathe,”I told myself, “you can do this.” A very young, harried check out girl wearing a headset showed up.
I explained that I had an order for pick up and gave her my name and told her what it was. She looked on the shelves behind the counter and could not find it. My heart began to sinkand again one more notch up on the grumpy meter.
She wanted my customer order. I grabbed my iPhone and began to look frantically in my email as she began to talk to the invisible people on her headset, obviously she was the telephone operator also for the big electronics store. I showed her the order on my iPhone.
She wanted my telephone number on the order and the credit card used. I explained that my friend had ordered it and there was no telephone number on the order and that Paypal was used. So she then wanted my Paypal account number. My grumpy meter shot up 5 levels by then. As I began to explain that there is no account number on Paypal but an email address, I found her again talking to the invisible people on her headset. One more level on the grumpy meter.
I turned away taking a deep breath reminding myself that this poor girl was doing too many things at the same time all alone and with little training. I needed to get my grumpy meter under control. My friend walked up then. I passed him my iPhone and explained the situation. Clearly, I had to take a step back.
He found the number needed and gave it to the girl. The ordered monitor was nowhere to be found at this point. She enrolled another young man to help her look and it was still missing. He did find one identical monitor on the store floor and brought it. It seemed that we could not have that one though.
Just then, her headset rang again and she was on a call. I lowered my head in defeat. The plan to easily pick up the new monitor was indeed over. I was beaten, tired, hungry and done. In that moment, the girl took one look at us and our defeated faces and decided to give us the monitor found on the store floor. She called a manager and had it approved.
We thanked her and quickly walked out of the store. I told my friend that my grumpy meter had gotten very high and how bad I felt that it had. He went back over the events and said that it was perfectly understandable that it did.
I explained how hard I struggled to not let my grumpy meter leak on the poor girl. I explained that I should have showed that poor girl more love. She was so young, did not have the necessary training, and had too many jobs at the same time. She only did the best that she could do with the tools she had at the moment.
Despite my grumpy meter getting dangerously high, I made sure not to leak it out on the girl. The good news is that my friend took me out to dinner right after and I got to relax and feel better!
I believe it is important to know your effect on others. You are not walking in their shoes and have no idea the journey they have had.