I ventured to the mall today with a dear friend of mine.
We stopped into Victoria’s Secret. I had received an e-mail advertising 3 for $5 thongs.
I searched the store and neither my friend nor I could find them.
We approached a saleswoman who was with another customer and one other person was in front of us waiting for help.
The saleswoman finished with the first lady and then turned to the next lady in line to help.
The woman asked the saleswoman about the 3 for $5 thongs.
The saleswoman apologized and said they were sold out, that they didn’t receive a whole lot of those.
We, naturally, we bummed when we heard this.
The first lady asked the saleswoman when they put them out on sale.
The saleswoman answered that they put them out last night.
My friend and I started to walk away, realizing that they had no thongs in stock and that the saleswoman had done all she could. There was nothing to be done.
The lady then took on a mild hostility and went off on the saleswoman saying that her husband had called and the store said that they have them in stock, and why didn’t they have any, and when would they get more.
The saleswoman tactfully answered the lady who was grilling her even though she didn’t have to. She could have snapped back. She could have been rude.
On the same side of the coin, the lady in line who was snapping at the sales clerk could have been more polite about the whole ordeal. Why did she snap on the clerk?
All for a thong.
I’m reminded that each of us have a choice of how to act and how to react to situations that come our way in life.
It wasn’t the saleswoman’s fault that the store didn’t receive more thongs in stock. It wasn’t her fault that the store sold out of them, or maybe it WAS! Good on her for doing her job and selling the product.
It was not necessary for the woman in line to attack the salesclerk and demand an explanation as to why they didn’t have the thongs in store. She didn’t need to act like she was victimized or lash out at the sales clerk.
We each have a choice.
Crappy things are going to happen in life.
Victoria’s secret will run out of thongs.
The movie theater will run out of popcorn.
Our cars will get flat tires.
Acts of God will wipe out part of a country.
You’ll step in dog poop.
How will you react?
Natural reactions to crappy situations are to be defensive, feel victimized or frustrated, and to fret and fixate upon the situation.
“Dang it, I needed new thongs and they had them advertised for a great price.”
“Gee golly shucks, I sure could go for some popcorn right now.”
“Aww man, I’m already running late and the flat tire isn’t helping.”
And so on.
I think it is important to look past the situation and see the bigger picture.
Lack of thongs in a store should not launch a person into a rampage of consumer tyranny.
I realize that the woman in line could have been having a really rough day or perhaps even experienced an emotional tragedy. Maybe she was tired.
Or maybe she just really wanted those thongs.
Even so, the woman had a choice on how to react to this crappy situation that came her way. She took it out on the saleswoman.
The saleswoman, alternately, could have been stressed with a dozen other women asking the exact same question from the moment she came to work two hours earlier. She could have just been told she has to work the next weekend which happens to fall on her fiance’s birthday.
We have a choice in our reactions to situations that happen in our life.
Another natural reaction to crappy situations is to push blame.
We each are in charge of our own reactions.
We are in charge of our own actions.
The big picture is this: My happiness as a person and my mood should not be defined by the stocking status of a thong.
A heart driven by patience and a mind by understanding is needed.
Change your perspective. Change how you see the situation. Look on the bright side.
“Victoria’s Secret doesn’t have the thong in stock. Okay. Maybe I can find an alternative. Maybe I should check out another store. Maybe I can go commando until Victoria’s Secret has another phenomenal sale on thongs.”
Examine the situation and decide to think and react in a positive manner.
I should acknowledge my frustration but not dump it on another person.
I should acknowledge that it’s a huge bummer that there’s no thongs at Victoria’s secret but that I should have came yesterday or earlier in the day today when there was a better chance of them being in stock. After all, it was a great deal and I couldn’t expect it to be there forever.
I should acknowledge that my hostile behavior and words towards a saleswoman are only causing the saleswoman’s headache to throb.
Taking out our personal frustrations on another person isn’t fair.
Taking out personal issues on strangers is absolutely unfair.
Showing cruelty and hostility to another person isn’t a good thing.
We may feel justified and feel like we deserve the better hand in the situation.
But we also should acknowledge that there is a chance that we are hurting another person in the process.
We don’t know what that other person is going through just as that other person doesn’t know what we are going through.
Show kindness and grace.
We should ask ourselves “In the big scheme of things, does it matter?”
“Is it worth it?”
We should also examine our own behavior before we start blaming others.
Ask yourself “Could this have been prevented?”
“Is my reaction justified or am I upset about something else?”
“How can I change my perspective to better understand what’s going on?”
We all have lives to live.
We all have frustrating moments.
We all have to figure out a way to live with hundreds and thousands of other people around us who have those same frustrating moments as we do.
Show kindness, understanding, and grace this upcoming week.
Show it even on an undeserving subject–it might just turn their attitude around.
Who knows– you may even like it.
I ventured to the mall today with a dear friend of mine.