Today, as usual, I had 30 minutes for lunch during work. 30 minutes doesn’t usually leave much room for annoying stoplights, running into people I know who want to chat, browsing at the library, or even putting gas in my car and running to the Post Office. When I leave the office for lunch, I usually either a) go to Target, which is right next door to my office, and just walk around; or b) run a quick errand such as picking up pants at the cleaner’s or dropping off a book at the library. On this particular day, I decided to dash over to our local Kohl’s department store. Kohl’s is 5 minutes from the office, so after (and before) car time, and after (and before) walking-t0-the-car-and-into-and-out-of-the-office-and-parking-lot time, I figured I had about 16 minutes to spend actually IN the store.
Bingo! I found a skirt to try on. Walked to the dressing room. There was a LINE! At this lame department store, on a Wednesday, in the middle of the day! (What, don’t these people work?!) One other woman, first in line in the dressing room, was standing about halfway down the hallway, waiting. Then there was me. Next, an older woman (about 75), with a really grumpy look on her face, walked into the hallway after me. The three of us stood and waited. The minutes ticked away. Tick, tock, tick, tock, I needed to get back to work but I really wanted to try on that stinking skirt.
A door in front of me opened up. Although I was closest to it, of course I told the woman who had been waiting longer than I had, to take the room. It was her turn. She smiled at me friendlily and said, thanks! Now there were only 2 of us waiting.
Then another door opened up.
You can see where this is going.
The door that opened up was in front of the woman who was behind me in line. However, she was physically much closer to that particular door than I was. I thought she’d wave me into it, just as I had waved the previous woman into the previous room.
But nope, the third woman just pretended I wasn’t there (distinctly different from ignoring me) and walked into the dressing room herself. She clearly did not have to get back to work in 11 minutes, nor did she care that she was being rude. I was left standing there, still waiting. I quietly fumed.
Don’t get me wrong; I am not afraid of confrontation in the least. I spend my days at work calling people asking them to spend their money with me. Many times I have been cheated in lines at stores, and I have almost always managed to say, “excuse me, I was next in line.” Often, in retail environments, people don’t even realize they have “budged” in the que and they even apologize when you point it out to them.
Today, the grumpy-looking woman who took “my” dressing room knew full well what she was going. So why did I let her do it today? It wasn’t because I am a nice person and I took sympathy on a poor old grumpy woman. I am not sure. But I still feel like I “won.” . . . . I sat here and pondered this for a few minutes just now. I guess I realized, some days we all need to be grumpy and selfish. And some days we all need someone to give us a break. See what a big person I am? I gave her a break.
I finally tried on the skirt. It looked hideous on me. I put it back on the rack, and got back to work 8 minutes late.
My boss gave me a break.