Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Please wait . . . help is on the way.

Please wait. . . Help is on the way.

We normally go through the standard check out lane at Safeway. Today Ron thought it would be fun to try out the “do it yourself” check out stands. Increasingly retail stores like Home Depot and grocery chains are trying out these cashier-less stations. Each stand has a scanner, computer read-out and place to land the grocery items for bagging.  Once all of the items have been scanned successfully and paid for you are given permission to bag. Seems straightforward enough . . . if it weren’t for produce. 

Produce needs to be identified and then weighed of course. You’re out of luck if you don’t know the name of the vegetable or if the item is being sold by unit instead of weight. We got stuck on a single cucumber.  I remembered that they were on sale at 3 for $5.  But the computer system needs to grok all of that. We had a total of about 30 items, half of them produce.  Each time we did something wrong or didn’t know how to proceed, the computer program would stop everything, and a soothing voice recording would chime out: “Please wait . . .  Help is on the way.”  It repeated: “Please wait . . .  Help is on the way.” And, sure enough a helpful clerk would sidle up to our station and assist in correcting whatever was wrong.  She would show us how to type in the vegetable name, then put it on the scale to be weighed and then notice how it had processed.  Finally we could put it on the shelf for later bagging.  

For weeks after this adventure the calming voice over: “Please wait, help is on the way . . .” has been playing in my brain.  During the Safeway checkout I noticed that this reassuring message really did help to ally anxiety over being stuck unable to leave the supermarket.  In just the time it took to hear these words I noticed that my reaction was to take a long, deep breath and look around.  And sure enough, within seconds usually, a kindly clerk would appear and provide a solution to our conundrum.  

Isn’t life just like this? Usually. If we can develop the habit of taking a breath and simply waiting help has the space to find us. Our world is inhabited by helpers all around. We have policemen, firemen, medical professionals whose sole job is to provide “help on the way.”  And, then don’t forget the friends and family who at the drop of a text or call will show up to help.  Humans are helpers by nature. It’s quite likely that you have been one of these helpers when a call came your way.  So, when we find ourselves in a moment of despair, it’s good to remember the Safeway message: “Please wait, help is on the way.” You betcha.