I was invited to a dinner party this coming weekend and as I happened to be nearby and like to group my shopping trips to maximize fuel efficiency, I decided to stop by Total Wine & More, a large local retailer here of alcoholic beverages, to pick up a bottle of wine as a hostess gift.
After foraging through their extensive collection, (which goes on for about two football fields) I picked something that sounded (and I hope) will taste good to the palate of those who are more connoisseurs of the fermented grape than I am.
I was delighted that there were two check out lines open and went to the one without any customers ahead of me. The cashier, who had her back to me, was busy restacking boxes for orders larger than mine and after three “ahems” she noticed that there was a customer waiting to pay for a purchase.
She came over to her register and politely greeted me with the standard question that Total Wine cashiers are taught, “Did you find everything you were looking for?”
In my somewhat whimsical way I responded, “Well, I was looking for world peace – but apparently you’re out of stock.”
She responded, “When we get rid of all organized religion in whatever form, then we’ll have it.”
I am seldom at a loss for words but this response really set me back. It was all I could do to reply, “Yes, I’m sure that’s the answer.” And so I took my receipt and my bottle of wine and left the store.
The more I thought about this remark on my way home the more irritated I became. I doubt that the management of the store would have approved of this young woman’s comment. And I debated what I should do about it.
But today, I made a decision. I went back to the store (using gas I had not intended) because I thought it was important that they should know my feelings – as unimportant a person as I am.
I spoke with the store manager and related the incident. He, of course, said that it was not the store policy for their employees to make that kind of statement and asked if I remembered the name of the individual who had done so. I didn’t see a name tag on her so I couldn’t respond to him other than with a very complete description of her physical appearance, the time I made my purchase and the number of the cash register to which she had been assigned. I presume that was sufficient to identify her.
Now castigating religion has become a very politically correct activity. If you choose not to subscribe to one, I consider that your business – as much as I consider whether or not I do as being mine. I do not need “in your face” comments like that coming from the help at any of the stores at which I shop. And if those become the norm rather than the exception, I simply will not shop at those stores any longer.
Whether or not there is any action (which I hope would take the form of a counseling session), a reprimand or termination of this employee will be dependent on whether this retail chain considers this sufficiently important to address. I hope that they do.
We all have feelings and we all have beliefs. I consider those matters of personal choice and respect those of others which might differ from mine. In return I expect the same sort of respect. I think that’s fair and equitable.
If it should happen that this woman persists in inflicting her opinions on the unwitting public and should lose her job, I’m sure she will chalk that up to evil religionists.
Others might think that it is Divine Retribution.