I worked at a bakery chain in college, which was super fun. Discounted food, no pressure job, plenty of entertainment… One day, this woman came in, wearing rumpled work clothes and a sour expression, and she put in a highly specific order. We’re talking multiple modifications to each item she requested. As it naturally happens, part of the order got lost in translation, and the lady got super mad once she double checked the bag. She requested to talk to the manager and started going on this whole rant about how she’s tired at the end of her workday and all she wants is her soup toppings separate from her soup, etc. Of course, she was so farcical, no one took her seriously.
I remember looking at her thinking that I would never let my long workdays get to me like that. I was full-on Peeta, wanting to still be me regardless… Which brings the story to present-day.
As you may have guessed, I have since become that person. Last week, I went to one of the same stores in that bakery chain (I am totally addicted to the food there), and ordered a bag of crisps along with my meal. When I got home and opened the bag and started munching on one, to my dismay, I found that the crisp was a little soft, like it had been sitting out for a few hours. It was edible but a waste of calories at this point.
In my mind, I was all like, I worked so hard this week, and all I wanted was a bag of crisps that were actually crispy. I just wanted ONE thing. Is that too much to ask? I was more deflated than upset.
So, like a typical Consumer, I called the bakery and spoke to the manager. I was rather apologetic, but I still wanted a replacement as the end result of the conversation. Of course, I got one, and a $5 coupon for the store. (They really shouldn’t reward demanding Consumers, in my opinion. It just incentivizes us).
Then I wondered… when did I become a Consumer? It is too much to ask after a long day of work, my crisps are actually crispy? When did my desire to be a pleasant human being change into my desire to have my needs met to my satisfaction? Is it really okay if I smile and apologize, even if I’m being demanding and even if I’m not getting anyone in trouble? (It was the manager who made up the bag of crisps for me).
I feel like there’s something bigger behind it. If all I want are my crisps to be crispy, and if I feel unfulfilled when they aren’t, I need to set my priorities straight. I need to want bigger things and to be less affected by the little things.
I still went ahead and picked up my goods (even though I felt guilty for being a total sell-out). It got me to thinking, though. We change so much as time goes on, in all these subtle ways. I think it’s never a bad idea to keep an eye on yourself and to remember where you came from and who you wanted to be.
Never be afraid to fall apart because it is an opportunity to rebuild yourself the way you wish you had been all along.