Embarrassment: One Tough Opponent

I am pulling into the supermarket parking lot dreading the impending shopping experience and wishing it was over now so I can move on to my next stop, the library. There I will be surrounded by some of my closest friends – books.

I park, climb out of the car, look at the crumbled shopping list in my hand, and cringe. I don’t know if I’m going to be brave enough to so this. Do what, you ask? Buy food and dry goods at one time. And what might be the problem with this? I used a food stamps which means I need to pay for my dry goods with my bank card and my food with another card. To me, this means I’ll hold up the line and everyone on planet earth will know I am on food stamps and I will be made fun of and want to melt into a state of invisibility and maybe I should just buy my food here and drive to another market and buy my dry goods there. I’ve been splitting my shopping exactly like this up to know yet, while terribly embarrassed, I sense I am ready to take a real run at the embarrassment challenge.

I shop at a Hannaford market that is rarely crowded and today, thank God, is no exception. There’s no run on dried kidney beans or free custard, nothing like that. Just a sprinkling of shoppers, me and, of course, the cashiers, who suddenly look ominous.

As I move through the aisles I load my cart with food items along with the dried goods: razor blades, sponges, toilet paper, toothpaste and so forth. Soon I have everything I need on the food and dried good fronts and I know the moment of truth has arrived. But, I am not ready. I keep pushing the cart through the aisles pretending I am shopping. And it is now I find my courage source. It comes from all the people I know living with brain injuries and other disabilities across the state and beyond. I think of the challenges they face on a daily basis, knowing this shopping challenge is one of them, and soon I am at the cashier checking out. When I tell the cashier I have to put the dried goods on one card and food on another, he says, “No problem,” and in that moment I realize I’m going to make it. In fact, I have made it.

With the bags packed in the car I pull out of the parking lot and head to the library. Having learned long ago that one is wise to reward oneself for a challenge faced, I reached into one bag  and extract a cinnamon roll.

As I chow down with a huge grin on my face I suddenly realize I didn’t give damn anymore which card the cinnamon roll was on and given the speed with which the cinnamon roll is disappearing from planet earth, I doubt it cares either.

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3 thoughts on “Embarrassment: One Tough Opponent

  1. Peter…As always, thanks for the sharing of something of your own challenges, in life's experiences! It is through the sharing of a person's personal testimony about what one might encounter in trying to accomplish a basic 'activity of daily living', that I have been able to guide others to gain an understanding of what the person they are giving support to might be experiencing. It is from the perspective of true experience, that we all learn. But often the person who is experiencing fear, challenge, and 'embarrassment', is not able to express what they are feeling. So once again, my friend, I would like to ask if I can print up, and make copies of this blog, to use when conducting staff trainings? It is of course your skill for saying something in writing with humor, that I know to be so very helpful and effective!! Hoping you are well…so happy that you are happy in love these days…and wishing you always, all the best! ~Donna K

  2. Peter, there are so many people in this world now that use food stamp cards. I get so many customers that pay with food stamps then cash/atm cards. Everyone in the grocery stores are extremely familiar with them. Some situations, people behind the people with food stamps evny them because they are low with money and are working 2 jobs with 5 kids, they realize they need them too. Food stamps are nothing to be ashamed of. The economy now is tough to get through, and people with food stamp cards have that advantage. It's nothing to be embarassed about. It doesn't mean your poor, it doesn't mean anything. It just means that you get some free food :)Also, about holding up the line; everyone does. There is always a problem, not only with paying for the food, but with ringing up the wrong price, or a coupon that had expired, or a coupon that is not ringing up, or an item that cannot be taken by WIC. So many more problems happen in the everyday shopping order it's not even funny. Food stamps is the least of a cashiers problems haha. I hope my cashier expertise has brightened your knowledge/day. Miss you! ❤

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