quarta-feira, 7 de outubro de 2015

An accident

When I told my friend Chris that I was moving to Texas, he raved about HEB: it was a chain of grocery stores with an extensive variety of great produce at very competitive prices. I was going to love it. Although there is one on my way home from work, very close to my house, I seldom go there, and prefer to shop at Randall's across the street. I can't pinpoint a reason for this, although I am not a big fan of the parking lot, which is not very large. The store itself is also small and old, and the company is considering building a bigger store in its place. The City of Bellaire and HEB have been negotiating the deal.

Today, I thought about baking a cake and realized that I had no sugar at home. Instead of going to Randall's, I turned into HEB on an impulse. I grabbed a basket and picked out a few things, then headed out to pay. My basket was heavy because I had bought two containers of Bulgarian-type yogurt, which come in 32 fl. oz. (0.946 liters) glass jars, plus a big jar of Texas honey. I counted my items and, since I only had nine things, I qualified for the express lane, so I quickly set my shopping basket down on the rolling pad, which was immediately pulled forward.

The woman checking out in front of me was shorter than I was, which is almost a statistical improbability--or maybe it was because I was wearing heels that it felt that way. She was near the bagging section, talking to the cashier and going frantically over her bags, which were full of things. In one of her hands, she held a roll of dollar bills tightly, and I noticed that another employee was taking some items from that cash register back to be reshelved.

After waiting for a little bit near the card scanning machine, I heard the cashier say $36-something. I was somewhat distracted and on auto-pilot; maybe she had scanned my things, I thought, so I paid. While doing so, I remember thinking that it was very cheap.

I entered the pin number in the card machine and then looked at the other woman behind me, which is when she and I realized that I had paid for the woman in front of me. That woman apologized for not having paid attention to warn me. I told the cashier "I think I paid for her things." The cashier looked at me and pointed at the woman in front of me, as if telling me to sort it out with her.

I thought about it and realized that the fuss was probably because the woman did not have enough money to pay for all her groceries, so she was removing things from the bag. I said "Don't worry about it. It's OK, I'll pay for it." The woman said "Thank you, God bless you." and I immediately felt ashamed because I did not do it on purpose. I told her: "It was an accident, I did not mean to do it." Inside me I felt an urge to apologize, but I am lousy at apologizing, especially on the fly.

The cashier scanned my items, and told me something to the effect that I should've paid more attention. I told her "I'm too short. I could not see that my items were still in the basket." My bill was $33.27, even less than the woman's, who, in the meantime, had quickly left.

I keep thinking about the whole incident as it replays in my head. I keep wondering whether I would have done it intentionally: if I had been paying attention, would I have offered to help her? It bothers me that I can't seem to find an answer, even though I know that the right answer should be a "yes".

4 comentários:

  1. Respostas
    1. E hoje acordei e até me pareceu mal se eu tivesse oferecido ajuda. Será que a senhora não sentiria vergonha? Eu também não quereria insultá-la em frente de um montão de gente. Esta coisa da moralidade é muito difícil. Tenho de pedir explicações à Vera...

  2. Não me parece um dilema irresolúvel. A Rita sabe a resposta, mas não quer admitir!

    1. Ah Paulinha, tens mais confiança em mim do que eu.


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