Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How a Walmart Clerk's Smile Changes the World

I was at Walmart recently.  I was rather lost in my own thoughts, shopping as fast as I could as my goal was to be anywhere but there.  I don't generally enjoy shopping; it is just another chore that needs to be accomplished.  Checking out at Walmart is not usually a joyful experience either.  This trip was to be different.

As the person in front of me was checking out I noticed that she really had her hands full.  She had several little people attached to her and she was trying to manage a lot of groceries.  The clerk was being so sweet and actually SMILED at this tired mother.

Wow!  That smile just seemed to ease the tension out of that young mom.  You should have seen the change in her! She smiled back, they chatted a little and then the mother and children left.  I imagined that the mother spoke a bit more kindly to her precious children.  The children would then be more kind to each other.  When they got home, I bet their dog even received a bit of the run-off happy feeling!

As I moved up to swipe my debit card, the clerk gave me a big smile as well.  Even though I'd seen her be so encouraging to the previous customer, I still felt as though I'd just received a special sweet gift by her smile and pleasant greeting.   I noticed I pretty much instantly felt lighter, happier.

As I left, I found myself wondering how many people passed through that clerk's aisle during the course of her shift.  Did she manage to stay upbeat and pleasant with all of them?  I'm wondering now if each of those  customers left feeling more kindly toward others?  Did that mean they were more likely to place their carts into the cart rack, rather than leaving them behind the car parked next to their's?  When they drove away, was there a reduction in road rage?  Were they more likely to smile and nod as they patiently waited for a pedestrian?  Did that pedestrian then help a lost dog find its owner?  Did the dog owner, happy to meet a kind neighbor, decide to bake cookies for her child's teacher?  Did the teacher, happy to feel appreciated, encourage each child with a little more enthusiasm?  Did those children, feeling their self-worth, realize their potential and feel more interested and eager to learn?  Perhaps some of those children will use what they learn to build on, eventually leading them to make great discoveries.

I'm sure you can clearly see where I am going with this.  That young clerk's happy smile more than likely will lead to more happy smiles that will likely lead to cancer cures, a drop in national levels of depression, scientific breakthroughs in sustainable forms of energy, poverty resistance, cleaner water, better care of animals, drop in crime, less bankruptcy, a balanced national budget, fresher air, improved international relations and so on and so on.

Don't you agree?  So go ahead, smile at a stranger!


Maria Rose said...

I couldn't agree more!

AKM said...

I definitely think that you're on to something, Sue. Smiles are contagious, and I have no doubt that they lead to more love and positive energy everywhere.

We're fans of Dollar General (smaller store, smaller parking lot, less hassle) and I swear that every one in my area has hired the NICEST people. I don't know if their customer training is super-stringent, or they're just hiring awesome people, but they're REALLY taking the friendly customer service thing to a new level. I should go write the company and let them know...

Michelle said...

Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. All it takes is one grumpy person to bring down a whole family's mood and pretty soon quarrels are breaking out. I've tried, not always successfully, to remember this!

BTW, I LOVE the photo of you and Cordelia. Beautiful!

Tina said...

When I was teaching, I challenged my students to do the same, and see what a difference it made.

Most of them thought I was just weird. But, a few tried it.

They weren't sure how it made the people they smiled at feel, but, by the end of the day, their smiles were easy and they felt much better.

Allen said...


Susan Struck said...

Tina, even if they acted like they thought you were weird, perhaps they carried that nugget in their brain for later use.

Michelle, thanks. That is one of my favorite photos because Mike said he liked my smile.

AKM... go write that letter! You know they will love it!

Allen, great smiles!

Annmarie Pipa said...

yes..a smile is contagious...pass it on!!

Janet, said...

Something as small as a smile can make a BIG difference. Someone once told me that she smiles at everyone she sees, she said it keeps them wondering what she's up to.

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