I was recently in line at a grocery store with one person ahead of me. She was a woman in her late 30s who was toting around a 3-year-old (or so) little girl. She had a ton of groceries in her cart. When she went to pay she asked the cashier what would happen if there wasn’t enough in her account to cover it. She said she wanted to use another card for the rest of the transaction but couldn’t put it all on one card.
When I heard this I immediately turned my attention away so I didn’t appear to be eaves-dropping. There’s nothing like someone leering at you when you’re discussing your personal finances.
Then it happened. She got embarrassed and immediately started explaining why she didn’t have enough money in her account. That in turn made the cashier feel uncomfortable and then there was this awkward silence and pause. After the pause the woman decided to keep explaining why she had to use 2 cards, which made the cashier seem even more uncomfortable. The cashier smiled that kind of smile that means, “I’m trying to be nice here but I wish you would stop talking about it.”
After the transaction I got to wondering why we care so much what other people think. The cashier probably sees this type of thing everyday, multiple times a day. She didn’t care why this woman was paying with two different cards. The only thing that she cares about is the woman paying. At the same time, I didn’t care about how she was paying. In fact, it was a wonderful moment for me to stop and say “thank you”. I had enough in one account to cover my groceries.
Does that mean I wouldn’t have done the same thing in her position? Nope. I probably would have been explaining myself left and right trying to appear as though I wasn’t in need of money. God forbid anyone thinks we’re ‘struggling’.
Why do we care? On some level there is this little voice in our head telling us that we need to explain ourselves because we may be appearing ‘outside the norm’.
Can’t pay for groceries with 1 card? Better explain.
Can’t say ‘no’ with no regrets? Better explain.
Not looking up to par? Better explain.
I once heard a quote that sounded something like this, “If people cared half as much as you thought they did you would be amazed at how much people don’t really care.”
I wish I could stifle that little voice and say “I DON’T CARE WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK.” Since I’m still a ways off from that happening, I guess I’ll have to blog about other people making the same mistakes I do.