Day 73 was a tough day on the campaign trail with Campaign Smile. I’m not sure what was so different from yesterday but there was definitely not the same energy in the air as yesterday…
1. When I walked in there were 2 employees standing in the middle of the aisle, each with a large cart so they were nearly blocking the way. They were making what appeared to be a concerted effort to ignore everything and everyone around them. I don’t know what had them so engrossed but hopefully it was a positive topic that was raising their spirits.
2. I passed a tall woman wearing high heels to make her even taller. At first glance she seemed to be wearing a condescending look but as I watched with an open mind and an open eye I saw something else. She looked worn down, physically and, maybe, emotionally as well. Maybe my little smile will ease some of that burden for her.
3. Not long after, one of the employees from the front approached me, still pulling his cart. He saw my smiling expression this time, for sure, and then promptly looked away. There seemed to be a common sentiment among the employees that was rather negative toward the customers. That might have been true and it might have just been my perception. If they did feel that way there are any number of sources that could have caused it. Perhaps the feeling will pass on its own or, possibly, my campaign stop might have helped.
4. A young mother holding an infant and trying to soothe him or her was standing near my path. She had her jaw clenched as she tried what she could to calm the child and that did not change with our exchange. I wish her all the patience that a parent needs.
5. As I stood to the side writing my notes another employee came out of the back pushing a large flat cart. I looked up and, as he walked down the aisle and past me, tried to engage him with a smile. Unfortunately, he spent the entire time watching the floor, not his path. For a while now I have been hearing about surveys stating that a large percentage of those that are still employed want a different job and last month more people quit voluntarily than were fired. As the economy has pushed many companies to cut staff many of those remaining were asked to do a lot more for the same or less money. Now, as things improve, many companies may see a backlash when other opportunities arise. I can’t help but wonder if this is part of the reason for what I was seeing.
6. I had hoped that the cashier, at least, would hold a smile for me to end my campaign stop. Unfortunately, that was not to be either. I hope everyone feels better about their job tomorrow.
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