One Sunday afternoon I was standing in the checkout lane of a department store. The man ahead of me pointed out to the cashier that she had overcharged him. Reviewing the transaction, she agreed. She informed him he would have to go to the customer service for a refund. The man said that was unfair. Why should he waste his time for an error she made?
“I’m sorry, company policy; I can’t make refunds out of the cash register,” she said. The man then squared his stance, folded his arms and said, “I’m not budging until I get my money!!!” With that statement, a loud moan went up from the others in line.
Sensing that she had the makings of a shoppers’ revolt on her hands, she called her supervisor and the man was given back his money. While the money was being counted out in his hand, he began to use some rather abrasive language directed at the cashier. He then slowly walked to the door and with a loud voice told everyone in hearing range what he thought of this store and its policy and how he would never shop there again!
The cashier, noticeably upset, rang up my order. As she was bagging it she said to me, “You can tell he didn’t go to church this morning!” As I walked from the store, the incident still firm in my mind, I got to thinking about the comment of the cashier, which reflected her understanding of the church.
To her, the church changes the behavior of people. In her way of thinking if this man had gone to church that day he would have acted differently. Everyone knew, the cashier included, that this “company policy” was a bad one but she doesn’t determine policy. And his behavior at that point was not in question.
Everyone in that line, myself included, was saying “right on” to the stance he was making. The behavior which bothered her and which lost for him the support of us other shoppers was the way he reduced the cashier to an object with the abrasive language.
CONSIDER how, to her, the church stands for people and teaches that regardless of the company policy or how much we are overcharged people are never to be reduced to objects. And if this is what she thinks the church is, a person who appears to be a non-church-goer, then I say, “Right on” and for once the church is perceived correctly by the world!
Rev. Wendell Mettey