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Shopping in the Supermarket of Life

Updated on December 6, 2009

Traffic was slow on the way to the supermarket. I had plenty of time to think about my breathing and clear my mind, and when I arrived, I felt refreshed and happy. There was a shopping cart waiting just for me, the last one! One of the wheels would not turn, so using it was a challenge. I laughed as I wrestled it through the automatic doors. The thing was crazy. It was like resistance training, but funner!

One woman argued with a store clerk about environmentally friendly cleaning agents in the detergent aisle as I jockeyed my wayward cart around them to pick up some dishwashing detergent. The woman’s jaw was set in anger, yet I could see beyond the anger there was an attractive person. The store clerk had erected a wall to keep her out, but it was ineffective. Perhaps he will learn that being understanding is much more effective than being disinterested, I thought as I continued my shopping.

At the end of the aisle, two men postured for fisticuffs over the last can of propane. So silly to be greedy, I thought. Can’t one of them wait to have propane? I would wait to have propane. What is so bad about having to make other plans?

There was a spill in Aisle 12, I noticed as I searched for a can of black beans. It looked like it had been a jar of pickles. A store clerk angrily wheeled a squeaky-wheeled mop bucket to the scene and splashed my brand new shoes as she slapped the floor with the mop. I guess I’ll find out now if these shoes are really waterproof, I thought.

“Thanks for cleaning that up,” I said.

“Did you make this mess?” she demanded.

“No,” I said, gently. “But I’m glad you’re here to make sure I don’t slip on it and hurt myself.”

I saw the tension fall out of her shoulders. “Oh, yeah,” she said. “No problem, sir.”

“Thanks again,” I said, smiled and turned to negotiate my semi-functional shopping cart back into reluctant motion.

They were out of my favorite cheese, Jarlsberg light. I thought, well, what a great opportunity to try something different! I had a wonderful time discovering all the different kinds of cheeses there are. Cheese is like a world unto itself. I actually found a light Brie cheese that contained only slightly more fat than the Jarlsberg. I probably need a little more fat in my diet, I thought.

In line at the checkout counter, just as it was my turn, the cashiers executed a change of shift. The woman behind me became impatient and nudged me with her cart.

“Hi,” I said, smiling.

“Oh, excuse me,” she said.

“Are you in a hurry?” I asked. “Do you want to go ahead of me?”

“Oh, no,” she said. “I’m really in no rush. I just thought I got such a good line and now this.”

“It’s my fault,” I said. “They do this every time I get in a checkout line.”

She smiled. “Me, too,” she said.

“Well, it’s good that that cashier is done for the day, isn’t it?” I said. “He’s all done with his work. Now he can go home.”

“Yes,” she said, thoughtfully. “They should be able to go home right away when they’re done.”

“Not that it’s such a bad place,” I said. “But it’s nice to go home.”

Once the change of cashiers was complete – just a minute or two - I paid for my groceries and took the bag to my car.

It is nice to go home, I thought, as I started the engine. I smiled as I thought of my wife and daughter and the things they say, and the places I like to sit and the things I love to do in my home. How wonderful life is!

Putting the car in gear, I proceeded in a new direction.


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    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom rubenoff 

      9 years ago from United States

      Love that screen name, Steve! Thank you

    • profile image

      Affirmation Man 

      9 years ago

      Hey Tom, I enjoyed this. Positive vibrations make all the difference.


    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom rubenoff 

      9 years ago from United States

      Thank you, Shalini. Absolutely.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 

      9 years ago from India

      '...a soft answer turneth away wrath' - how much nicer to be nice. What a wonderful, uplifting hub, Tom - thanks!

    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom rubenoff 

      9 years ago from United States

      Much more pleasant to be upbeat. Thank you, Amanda!

    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 

      9 years ago from UK

      Tom, this is brilliant! I like the upbeat mood very much.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom rubenoff 

      9 years ago from United States

      Thanks. I like your initials. :)

    • Unbroken Stone profile image

      Unbroken Stone 

      9 years ago

      Patience in training, I love it. Thanks

    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom rubenoff 

      9 years ago from United States

      I like your thinking, Juneaukid!

    • juneaukid profile image

      Richard Francis Fleck 

      9 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      Food for thought as well as the cart. Nice writing.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom rubenoff 

      9 years ago from United States

      It is about perspective, Rebekah. I always thought so, but lately I've come to realize what a tremendous difference it can make in a person's life.

      Poet, I know that I am equally responsible for my good times and my bad times. When I am negative, I know I have the choice to be positive. Being positive is so much more pleasant.

      Thank you

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      yeah that is true actually, we can have a good time all the time, is that what you do.....

    • rebekahELLE profile image


      9 years ago from Tampa Bay

      what a refreshing bit of reading on a sunday afternoon. I wish there were more people in the world like you. kudos to you for helping to make this crazy world a better place.

      it's about perspective, isn't it? a great life lesson your hub provides. :)

    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom rubenoff 

      9 years ago from United States

      Thanks so much, Iorwen! It's really our choice whether we want to have a bad time or a good time. :)

    • Ivorwen profile image


      9 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      This was really enjoyable to read, Tom. It never ceases to amaze me how attitude can make such a difference, and how a little kindness can go soooo far, in making someone else day better.

      Thanks for sharing this.


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