’tis the season

I’ve often had random strangers spill their life stories to me, whether they were next to me on airplanes, or were hotel staff while I was on a trip, or seated beside me at a table during an event, or walking through the same aisle in the grocery store.  I’m a writer so am fascinated by real-people stories, and I’m a good listener.

Now that I’m a participant behind the scenes of this wacky world of retail and on the other side of the counter during the consumer chaos of the holiday season, the stories I’m hearing are numerous!  Humanity is a bubbling cauldron of contradictions and passions, expectations and needs.  It’s fascinating that as people talk to me they are totally confident that I agree with whatever it is they are saying.  🙂

The truth is, I do agree and I do listen to what they say, and what they share is great in my opinion because my opinion isn’t what others seek.   Even when they want my help deciding which purse or coat to buy, or which coupon will get the best deal, it’s not me they see.  I’m not the authority of their choice but only the reflection of a choice they’ve already made as being the right one.

Being a reflection for others is an intriguing concept I’ve contemplated many times in my life.  It fascinates me to be a mirror because I’m neither smooth and shiny, nor reside quietly in the background.  The most important lesson I’ve learned in the past decade of my life is that it can take a decade to learn an important lesson.

The best stories mirror life in moments so we can enjoy decades experiencing life.  And it was my privilege to be the cashier for two women brimming with holiday generosity as they carefully checked their lists twice;  for names, sizes, and colors.  Then they counted the cash remaining in the purse and I got to share the happy dance.

They’d ticked off every item on their “Wish-Lists” and still had four hundred dollars left over for the families they were sponsoring this holiday season.  They were brimming with anticipation for the gift wrapping party as they selected the size and quantity of boxes.

Those two ladies gabbed about how they can look glamorous, instead of being tired and frazzled from hours of shopping.  They also glowed in delight that their Wish-Lists were complete and – they’d got great deals – so what remained of donation dollars was now available so these sponsored families utility bills could also be paid.

Maybe it’s me, but for every gripe I’ve met so far in retail world there are triple the stories of glee at the delight the gift will bring.

The Santa concept is good.

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