Do This Next Time at the Grocery Store

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I was standing in line at the Safeway, waiting for my turn to interact with the woman at the cash register. Anticipating the dreaded task of exiting the store and loading the bags into my car in the hot Phoenix air. When I realized: I don’t have to.

The Concept of Accepting Help

I received the beautiful book The Magic of Motherhood from a friend during my pregnancy. One of the moms in the book describes her epiphany moment of accepting help at the grocery store when asked if she would like help out.

I am a person who generally rejects help from others. I don’t want to inconvenience anyone or put anyone out. I don’t want anyone to trouble themselves for my needs or wants. I would much rather go to extensive expense and perhaps inconvenience than accept, or God forbid, ask, for help from someone else.

I also don’t mind doing things for myself and being independent. I like being alone and having me-time, and sometimes prefer the solitude to the requisite interaction with others that comes with accepting help.

The grocery store grocery bag walk out has a similar feel for me. The last time I remember accepting this luxury was about 10 years ago, and it was from an elderly man who practically begged me to let him take my groceries out to the car. So I let him. I still remember our conversation about my college major and his approval of the direction of my life.

Saying Yes

I haven’t even entertained the idea of letting someone carry out my groceries since then. I don’t love the awkward small talk, and I don’t feel like I am an accepted candidate for having my groceries delivered to my car by anyone other than me.

Until now. Standing in line, I eagerly anticipated the question as the transaction was being finalized. This time, I thought, I will say yes.

Then it happened. Would you like help out? asked the elderly woman cashier. Sure, I squeaked in my highest-pitched tone. Displaying my only minor embarrassment that I, a perfectly capable person, would stand there awkwardly and wait five seconds for a teenage bag boy to whisk my cart away and push it for me to my car.

I rationalized to myself that I just had a baby and I could use the break. True. But she wasn’t with me, and no one there knew that about me. They offer this service to anyone and everyone. You don’t have to be elderly, crippled, or caring for a screaming baby to accept the grocery store walk out service.

The Benefits of Accepting Help

I spared us both the small talk and walked a few steps ahead of the high schooler who was assigned the task of carryout. I didn’t even feel snobby about it. I opened the trunk for him, said thank you, and got in the car while he easily loaded my groceries for me.

I turned on the ac and enjoyed situating myself in the driver’s seat as it got cool. I called out thank you to my helper as he was saying have a nice day and shutting the trunk for me. Bonus: he dealt with taking the cart back to the store.

I would have taken it a step further and let my husband carry in all the groceries from the car, but I knew he was taking care of Claire. Another time.

These days, there are even more amazing services like home grocery delivery and online grocery shopping and pick up, as my friend sweetly reminded me when I bragged about my personal leap in help acceptance. But for those times when we don’t have it together enough to think through things ahead of time, the grocery store walk out service is a nice way to lift some of the burden.

The biggest bonus to this whole thing was how happy I felt in the hours after I accepted help. I was so proud of myself. I conserved some energy that could be better spent on other things that night, like spending time with the people I love rather than being completely exhausted from trying to do every last thing myself.

How do you answer the question would you like help out with that?

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