Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Opportunities to be UnChristian

Moving always brings with it its challenges. There are extra bills to pay, changing addresses with creditors, getting utilities turned on, getting settled in a new community, adjusting to a new lifestyle, and taking advantage of opportunities to be UnChristian.

I have had a couple of those since my family and I have made the move to Waynesville, NC. The transition time always takes your character into question for some reason and when those clerks take your money and discover you are "from out of town" (though you just moved here) there always seems to be that cross-ways glance of affirmation with the manager. We stopped at K-Mart to pick up some necessities. My wife desired to patronize K-Mart because we literally had not shopped at K-Mart for nearly ten years. (I'm not intimating that this is her fault, by the way.)

We had just recently received our new checks from the new bank and the clerk, a very young lady, nearly beamed as she welcomed us to Waynesville. She ran the check through the verifier and to our chagrin, it was rejected for some reason. "That typically happens to out of town folks."

Wait a minute. We aren't from out of town. We live here now. I have a local bank account.

To our chagrin the check had been rejected and she pointed us to an 800 number that we could call and see why the check was rejected. We had already written several checks since our transition and I knew we had ample funds in the checking account. Needless to say I was upset. So was my wife, who does not handle these things well.

We began scrounging for cash and could only come up with about three-quarters of the amount of the bill. "Is there something you don't need that you can take off the bill?" The intonation of her voice placed the emphasis on "don't need."

We need all these things or else we would not be here buying them. What is wrong with you?

My wife chimed in, "Put this back." The toilet paper? Are you out of your mind? I curled an eyebrow in response; "It's OK," she nodded back. I sure hoped she knew what she was doing (my wife, that is).

As we were going through a couple of other items we potentially "didn't need", the manager joined us and with all the tenacity of Barney Fife, "What seems to be the problem here?"

Oh, no problem sir, just the riff-raff trying to rip off your store. The clerk explained the dilemma and I felt like Chevy Chase in a National Lampoon's movie.

"Oh, this happens all the time to out of town (there's that phrase again) folk." Just call that 800 number and they will work it out. Thank you for shopping K-Mart." Did he just say that? He literally said that.

Nevertheless, we got what few items our meager amount of cash-on-hand would allow, sans toilet paper, and headed out the store with our tails tucked between our legs. When we arrived home and tucked the kiddos in bed, I promptly called the infernal 800 number that had been thrust in my face. After pressing one for English (Arrrghhhh!), I answered all the automated questions and finally got to talk to a real, live, human person.

"Ahh! I see the problem. The clerk misentered your driver's license number. She duplicated the first two."

So it was neither my fault nor my wife's, nor Barney's, nor the kids who were obviously agitated because we had been standing in line so long next to all the impulse buy items that they so desperately wanted to touch and had been told no about a hundred times already yet the temptations still remained and they were tired and ready to go to bed and had drawn enough attention to warrant a police investigation; IT WAS THE CLERK'S FAULT.

Later that night I thought of the myriad of ways I might have handled that situation and I breathed a prayer before going to bed, thanking the Lord for helping me to hold my tongue and not telling Barney to put his bullet back in his pocket. Being prepared for those kinds of incidents is not easy, but thankfully, I was. Though I was greatly irritated at the situation, it turned out to be a simple mistake, one I have been known to do. And I didn't shame my Lord in the process.


Evangelism Coach said...

That's funny!

I'm guessing now that its over it might seem a little silly.

Blessings anyway


Tony said...

Very much so. I don't know why little things like that aggravate us so much (or at least me) and then we ruin our credibility over them. BTW, I have an article coming up Friday at the Impact site you might be interested in. Its on evangelism. :)

selahV said...

Oh Tony, that is so funny! Last nite I made arrangements with my daughter-in-law to have my granddaughters for the weekend. She was hoping to have the day off from her nursing job and told me she would bring them from Texas to Oklahoma (about an hour away) right after school. She also said if for some reason she got called into work she would call me and I agreed to drive to Texas and pick them up.

When I didn't receive a call, I went about cleaning house, preparing for the girls and took the opportunity to dye my hair before they arrived. I had 5 more minutes for the dye to stay in my hair when I got a call from my daughter-in-law saying she had totally forgotten to call me. (The girls would be getting out of school in ten minutes.)

She called the school and told them to put the girls on the schoolbus and they were dropped off at the daycare. I hopped into the shower, rinsed that goop off my head, wrapped my head in a towel and took off for Texas.

People make mistakes. I've made a few myself. It's so much easier on our hearts to have compassion than to have anger, don't ya think? Love ya...selahV

Tony said...

That is a great story, Selah! Compassion does follow a lot easier than anger, but it is something I have had to intently train myself to do.