Have you ever stood in line at the grocery store, waiting for your turn to check out, and you find yourself looking at the purchases of the people in front of you, as well as behind you?
Over the years, I’ve done this countless times. And subconsciously I wonder to myself, what might be going on in their lives based on what they’ve placed on the conveyor belt.
I’ve placed pasta, with hamburger and tomato sauce and had the cashier comment that I must be cooking spaghetti. Of course, they were right. But I mean, going one step further. When you watch the person in front of you placed five 24 packs of beer in the conveyor belt; one can assume that they are about to throw a helluva a party. Well, you hope they are anyway.
Or if you see someone place a package of arugula with bean sprouts and olive oil with balsamic vinegar on the belt; and one may think, “Damn, they’re really healthy.” Then you start examining your own purchases attempting to gauge what’s wrong with you, and why you aren’t buying healthy, organic food?
Now. Let’s flip the script. You’re standing in line behind a husband and wife with a family of four children and one and half carts full of food. Ranging from cereal to fruit to potato chips to meat; everything one might need to feed a growing family of four. When it’s time for them to pay, the wife pulls out an EBT card (food stamps is the more widely recognized name). What do some of us do? You blow out of your nose and fold your arms; and think back on Bill Clinton and his welfare queen references or how everyone is living off your dime; and you attempt to ignore them until they are fully checked out and gone.
Or you look behind you and see a guy buying a forty ounce of Old English in the middle of the day; and you think, “Damn you gettin’ started early?”
My point is that most of us fall into one of these categories. I think its human nature to be curious and judgmental; very quick to compare someone else’s life or someone else’s plight to our own. But… we need to stop it. Me included. Looking at a few items on a conveyor belt is not the gateway into someone’s soul. And if you’re really mad about a large family using food stamps, their $500 to $700 a month is nothing compared to what the tax payer’s gift over to companies like Exxon and BP, in corporate welfare. At least for the family, you know the children are eating. Hell, all we get from Exxon is an increase in gas price.
Just don’t judge. Don’t judge the EBT family, the healthy buyer, the forty ounce purchaser or yourself. We are all just people, doing the best we can in this tumultuous, painful and rewarding journey that is life. So have some arugula and a forty and relax. We’re only on this planet for just a moment. Enjoy it.