The SamuraiMarine

Thoughts, Philosophy, Life and Love

Tag: Observations

The art of being nice.

Being nice.

It’s not as hard as it sounds, really.  But if you watch people today, many of them would seem like either they do not remember how to, or chose not to be nice to others.

Where I see the best examples of this is in the retail arena.  Working retail is hard enough, I know, I spent the about twelve years in retail and had the pleasure of seeing almost every type of personality.  The good, the bad and the ugly, they are all people that crossed my path through the course of my retail career, thus giving me a point of view that not everyone has.

I try to be nice to most people, even those that are rude to me.  Granted, I do have my breaking point where when a person is continuously rude or hateful to me, I will crack and return the feelings.  The problem with that, when you reach that point, you have lost.  You are no longer controlling the situation and there is no way to truly recover the control.

More often than not, anymore, I will try and counter the situation with humor or irony.  Most of the time those are invaluable weapons to use against a person that is obviously in a bad or bitter mood, but unlike anger, it will sometimes cause the other person to see their own problem as being a little less important or, maybe, cause them to laugh at themselves.

I like to talk to people that are having a bad day, it is almost as though I see them as a challenge that needs to be won.  A good example of this is a time I was going through drive through at a local Burger King.  When I got to the window, the lady was in a very sour mood.  After I got my food and change, I decided to try something, so I sat there.  She came back to the window and asked if there was something else that I needed.  I said “I know you are having a bad day, so if I give you a smile, will you share it with others?”  She looked at me funny, then I told her a joke… “A horse walks into a bar and up to the counter.  The Bar Tender look at him and asked ‘What’s with the long face?'”

She gave me a genuine laugh and thanked me.  This was the first time I tried something like that, and it worked.  I am not normally that outward, but I taught myself a lesson and I helped someones day get a little better.

To be fair, it is hard to be nice to people that are in a bad mood.  It is hard to be nice to people that are having a bad day or are in the funks.  I know this from personal experience.  That is why I think that the BEING nice part is an art.  You have to learn to be nice in situations that you normally would not be.

So… the next time you are out there, and someone has an attitude… try something new… try and make them laugh at themselves or at you.

Observations: In line at the Grocery Store

Have you ever really paid attention to the things people buy, and in what combination, when you are at a grocery store?

My first realization that this could have any entertainment value was several years ago when I suddenly realized that I was in line with a bag of water balloons, strawberry jello, whip cream and panty hose.  Wait… it gets worse… I was sixteen and when I got to the counter, the clerk made the comment, “Fun time planned for tonight?”  I laughed, having pretty much no clue what the meaning of his comment was until I got home that night and explained to my mother what was said.

OK… everything except the pantyhose were for my little brother’s birthday… the panty hose were because my mom tore the only pair that she had left and needed me to get her another pair for work.  I was the one that had to go to the store for her and buy them.  Not something that is fun for a teenager that is already having problems getting in with the girls at school.

Since that time, the process of watching what other purchase has been a hobby of mine.  Not something that I dedicate a lot of time to, but I do make it a point to pay attention to others in line when I am at the checkout counter.

There are varying classes of these buying mistakes that people make.  I am sure that 90% of them are purely coincidentally, but I am sure that there are those last 10% that are as the result of some sinister plan.  Some act of creative fetishism that springs beyond the scope of the normal.

I will cover some of the things that I recall seeing here.  I will also try to give one or two possible reasons for the purchases to be made in that combination.

  • The Nervous Vegan -   I recall a time when I was in line behind a woman who had a shopping cart full of fruits and vegetables.  She also had some other minor kitchen items as well, but towards the end of her unloading her cart and the only reason that I even took note of her in the first place was the event that raised my eyebrows.  She lifted a bag of cucumbers out of the cart and placed in on the belt.  A moment or two later, she placed a tube of KY Jelly on the belt and immediately covered it with a magazine.

OK… So maybe that one was a little too obvious.  Who knows, maybe there was a logical reason for the two items that had nothing to do with what I, and maybe you, were thinking.  Maybe she was going to make cucumber salad that night and also had plans with her beau.

  • The Heavy Metal romantic -  Sometimes what I see is a little less clandestine.  The person buying the items is pretty much telling the world what he or she has planned right of the mark.  Like the person I saw in a Super WalMart in Gilroy, once.  When I got to the counter, there was a gentlemen who was, based on the clothes and the piercings, obviously a little bit into the punk/rock/etc scene.  His selection for that days purchase was a pair of silk boxers, an AC/DC DC, bottle of cheap wine and a box of condoms.  There is little doubt was this guy had in mind.  Let’s just be glad he was playing safely.

I tend to find the most amusing things I see like this are in the mega stores.  The places like the Super WalMarts, Heartland Target Stores and the like.  You have so much selection in these places that it is just a matter of time before you see something that makes you laugh or just really wonder.

  • The Would Be Babysitter – Of the ones I have seen, this is my favorite, unfortunately while I can recall most of what this person bought, I cannot recall what store it was at.  The person in front of me had what looked like all the makings for a fun day at a children’s day care.  Lots of coloring books and crayolas.  A few toys and some balls.  Even a couple “whiffle balls and bats” so that we could tell that there was a “Whiffle Ball” game in the near future for someone.  Then, when I saw toward the bottom of the flatbed he was pushing, I noticed about 100 feet of nylon rope and at least two sets of the electronic dog collars.  You know, the ones that shock the dog if it gets too far from the house or to stop them from barking.  If you were to ask me… they are perfect items for a Daycare.
  • The Evil Bartender – Saw this in a Von’s grocery store a couple if years ago shortly before New Years Day.  A young lady had a cart full of liquor and mixers for what looked like it was going to be a great party.  Rum, Vodka, Tequila, then there was the fruits and other items.  At the end, when the cart was almost empty, she placed two bottles of Drano on the belt, some cat food and a bottle of bleach.   I am not sure that this is a party I would want to attend after all.
  • Dangerous Lonely Housewife – Again, at a Von’s.  Lady in front of me buys a Ladies Home Journal, Us, People and another rag, then puts a bottle of Vodka, lemons and beer on the belt.  Why is it that I had mental pictures of this lady sitting on toilet, doing shots and reading her magazines, all while crying about something that happened to her.
  • From the “Honorable Mention in Love” category – Saw a guy once with a frozen pizza, six pack of beer and a “I’m Sorry” card.
  • From the “How not to say I Love You” Category – Again in the grocery store… guy buys a butcher knife, box of plastic garbage bags and a dozen roses.  I read the news papers for about a week after that one, looking for something that might have fit the image I had in my head.

These are just a few items.  I am sure that, when you think about it, you will see these.  If you never did before, hopefully this article will fire up that funny little section of your brain that will now start making these associations when you see the person in front of you in line at the store.  Now you might take note and realize that there might be something more to THAT story!

If you happen to run into a situation like this or something that you would like to share, please do so.

Who are we becoming?

Recently there was an event in Hartford, Conn. that has me worried.

This is the news piece, please follow the link for the story.

A man is hit by a car while they are, by the sounds of it, playing a game of cat and mouse. Chasing each other through busy streets.

The fact that he was hit at all was bad enough, but what makes it worse is that while the man lay in the street, people just watched. No one lifted a finger to help, short of calling 911 to get emergency crews out. It was very likely that another car could have come along and hit this fellow. The video and the stills clearly show that people did see this man, and while taking the time to gawk, took no measures to stop traffic or make sure that nothing further happened to him.

Right here I would like to step out of the calm way I usually talk and just ask, what the HELL kind of society are we becoming? Is it more important for us to take pleasure in someone else’s agony than to lend a hand, or at the very least stop further injury or suffering? Even if someone had gone so far as to pull their car out into traffic to protect this guy, or as simple as kneeling next to him, holding his hand and telling him that help was on the way.

Now… of all those people on the side of the street, I wonder how many pulled out there camera phones and took pictures of this man laying there. How many of those same people stood there wondering if someone else was going to do something, or said to themselves that someone else would take care of this.

THAT is the problem. We have become a society that is waiting for others to do something, and not taking action ourselves. You will probably argue with me on this, but when you look at the stills and the video, how many people are standing there watching, and not doing a damned thing to help the man? How many people do you see go out and see if there is anything they can do?

Everything is an episode of Survivor or Real World to people these days. People are too busy watching and enjoying the pain and suffering of others to get involved in something as meaningless as, oh, I don’t know… SAVING A LIFE! They see it happen, think, “Man, I am glad that was not me!” then go home and sit in their chair and watch the news of the event, then see the person there. They might go so far as to say to someone, “Yeah, I saw that happen.”

There was a time when more people used to give a damn. When you saw something happen, and sprang into gear and tried to help. I know of one person, personally, that did this. He lived in central Utah, and was there when a child was hit backed over by a van. He did all he could, but was not able to save the child. THAT is the type of people that we should all be. Willing to help when the time calls for it. He may not have been able to save that child, but I have to think that there are two things that happened… First, he took a chance to save a life, and he did his best. Second, maybe somewhere in the little consciousness that ebbed from the child, she knew that there was someone there trying.

That man, Arce Torres, laid in that street and waited. He may or may not have known that there were people around him, treating him like the latest side show, or an errant cat that was hit by a passing car. He may or may not have felt that no one there cared enough to try and help him. But if there had been even ONE person that had been a stand up guy, like the one I spoke about with the child and the van, then Arce would have known someone was there who cared about him and wanted to see him safe.

It angers me that so many people out there no longer care about strangers the way we once did. That we have to fear getting involved in something just because we do not want to become inconvenienced by what might happen if you help a person in need.

If any of the people that stood there and watched this happen, and did nothing to help, happen upon my site, and read this. I do hope that I am wrong, and there is a hell… because there is a special place in it for you, I am sure. You should all just hope that if something like that happens to you, that the people who show up are kinder than you were.

That is all… At least all I have the stomach for at this time.

Random acts of kindness… at gunpoint.

There are two movements in this country that seem to be pushing the whole “Random act of kindness” philosophy, at least that I have had direct, personal experience with. Those that just go out and profess that we should occasionally do it and then do it themselves to lead by example, and if you follow suit, then great. Then there seem to be the ones that are militant about it.

Like any militant group, I see these people as bad examples of the parent group. There is nothing wrong with doing random acts of kindness, I think that it follows that whole “pay it forward” program, whereby helping one person, they will help another and another. I honestly believe that something a simple as smiling and saying hello to someone you do not know, might help their day. Unless you live in New York, then you will get mugged.

It amuses me when I hear people come out, and granted, they are not common, at tell others that they need to go out and practice random acts of kindness, and they should try and do “x” number a day or week.

If you set a goal, or quota, does that not make it so it is no longer random? Isn’t that like a loan officer taking up a policy of at least one loan a day, or a car sales person treating it as novel to make one deal a week?

The point of the whole random act thing is like what happened to me once. I was in the drive thru at a Starbucks. I had already placed my order and gotten to the window to pay, when the “Barista” advised me that the car ahead of me paid for mine and the person behind me. That did two things. First, it floored me, since it was my first time being a recipient of one of these acts, and second, it had me in the mode to do the same for another. Face it, when someone does something like that for you, it generally has a tendency to put you in a good mood, in some cases makes you want to return the favor.

Forcing or shaming a person into doing a good deed or act really accomplishes nothing. People are more apt to give generously if they are doing it anonymously or just because they see a sudden need, and have the means to do it. Personally I like to give “voyeuristically”. I like to see the reaction on the person’s face, but not let them know who it was that did it for them. I get to see the joy, and I get to know it was me that caused it, without the embarrassment of the person thanking me, or the awkwardness for them of thinking that they NEED to thank me.

So the title of this was a little misleading… no one has, to my knowledge as of this writing, been forced to preform a “RAoK” at gunpoint, but I do wonder if there will ever be a time when the whole Robin Hood mentality comes back around.

Imagine… you are standing in line at your favorite store, and you feel something in your back. A whisper comes to your ear… “See that woman at register 10, the one fumbling for exact change?

You nod your head.

“You are going to slip this here cashier a c-note and tell her to go over an pay for that woman’s groceries, right?” and he jabs the gun in your ribs.

“Sure…” You hand the woman the bill and give her the details, and she walks off. You turn around and your new friend is gone. About that time you hear the woman yell… “Hey Billy! Go get us another three twenty-four packs of Coors!!!”

Seriously though. If you have the means, sometime, pay for the guy or gal’s coffee in the car behind you, or something like that. I will not hold a gun to you, I will just make it a suggestion that you try. No pressure.

What people go through for a cigarette.

I have never really understood smoking.

I mean, I understand it from a physiological point of view in how it affects the body and the addiction it creates, that part is pretty easy to figure out. What I am talking about is the extremes that people will go through just so that they CAN smoke.

Before I go any further, this is not an article that condemns smoking. It is your body, do with it what you like. I think that you should be able to smoke, if you like, without having to worry about other people harassing you or otherwise giving you remorse. The only thing I will insert to that is to be respectful of those around you when you do smoke, that you are not violating THEIR airspace with your smoke.

That being said… let us proceed.

As I write this, I think about the time my mother came down to visit from Alaska. My mother started smoking when she was about 14, I think, but she was young when she first picked up her first smoke. Over the course of her life, there were only two times she stopped smoking. The first time was when she was pregnant with me, then the second was when she was pregnant with my brother. Both times, as she explains it, she suddenly could not stand the taste or smell of cigarettes, and even went so far as to scrub the house from stem to stern to get the smell out.

She was never what I would call a chain smoker, like my father could be occasionally. No… She would smoke her smoke, and then there would be a couple hours or so before she would light up again.

When She came down from Alaska, though, we let her know that she could not smoke in the house. We did not smoke, and we did not like the smell of smoke. So she agreed and would take her cigarettes outside and smoke. She would do this in the rain, in the freezing cold, in the fog… you name it.

It always struck me as funny that people would brave the elements to go out and have a smoke.

As time went on, this caused me to really pay attention to other people smoking. Once I noticed a cluster of people, maybe five or six, huddled under an awning smoking while it was pouring rain. there did not look to be enough room for them all, but they were managing it. I would be surprised if someone did not end up with a burn in their shirt or sweater, though.

Here are people, braving the weather and the chance of a cold, or worse, to smoke a cigarette. Like I said earlier, I do not know, first hand, the feeling of needing a cigarette, so I have to wonder if the need overrides common sense. Do people working in places like the south pole (McMurdo and the like) do when they get the urge, or do they just learn to not smoke while they are down there.

I sometime wonder if smoking is a sort of social sport, of sorts. Many times people go smoking together and talk while they are at it. At the place I work, I usually see the smokers all migrate to the smoking area at the same time, and you can tell when they are out there, because there is this odd gray cloud over the back of the building. What makes this even more amusing is that when non-smokers walk past, they all seem to get quiet. Like there is a plot afoot or something.

Like I said, I have nothing against smokers… it is their life and body to do with as they please.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

Bad Behavior has blocked 0 access attempts in the last 7 days.

WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com