I work as a barista in a coffee shop. I see a lot of people come in daily to spend upwards of $4 for a cup full of fat, sugar, and a little bit of caffeine. As they get out their credit card, I notice their pristine manicure. I hear their keys as they set them down on the counter, because they need two hands to dig through their wallet. They’re looking for their customer loyalty card amongst dozens of credit cards, other loyalty cards, and receipts. Shudder.
“Maybe I put it in another side pocket,” they might say, unzipping a part of their handbag and revealing a second wallet.
“I remember you had it the other day,” I offer in support. I’m holding my latte art stamp at-the-ready.
More digging. Some exasperated sighs.
I watch and wait patiently, as this isn’t new for me. “Would you like to start a new card?” I suggest after a few moments, seeing a line form behind them.
“Yeah,” they say. “I swear I have like three other ones at home, I just can’t find them.”
“We can consolidate them if you find them,” I reassure them. And they seem to like that idea.
With a fluid motion I’ve done hundreds of times, I open the cash register, whip out a fresh loyalty card, stamp a leaf, and slide it over to them. “Thank you,” I smile, glad to get them and their stress-inducing handbag away from me.
Do you ever see someone rifling through a wallet, or drawer, or closet, and just feel like you’re in a bathtub of stress that you need to crawl your way out of?
The one thing I feel (aside from relief) as that customer walks away and the next one steps forward, is gratitude. Gratitude for the simplicity I have created in my life, and for the clarity of my mind and the orderliness of my possessions. I see these customers frazzled and can tell that their purses are a glimpse into their life. What chaos to be living with. What extra weight on their shoulders.
I feel sadness as I remember how stressed I was living in a cluttered space. I remember so clearly how it kept me up at night and gave me this sense of urgency even when I was just at home relaxing. I can’t imagine living that way now.
I sure hope those customers climb out of the bathtub and feel the relief soon. It’s so much better out here.