Can we try a little kindness, please? (updated*)


OK, peeps, we can do better than this. This goes out to all the shopkeepers out there.

In this economy, do you want my business? Because, honestly, I am a kind person and I empathize with all sorts of people, but I don’t understand snooty preoccupied or can’t-be-bothered shopkeepers.

Sunny day, gorgeous day. I’m out walking, shopping bag slung over my shoulder. Granted, I’m wearing t-shirt and jeans, but you know, I have money to spend on those I love, and also I love supporting my local merchants. Some know me by name and I’ve only lived here several months.

I’m looking for a wedding present. I go into a local upscale housewear-type shoppe. The door is open, the air is fresh, I’m feeling fine and happy. I love walking, and I like shopping too, though I am a careful shopper.

I walk in, spot all sorts of things that are sweet, cool, fine. The shopkeeper says hello, then answers a phone call. I wait. I am patient. I look around, find things I am interested in. The shopkeeper –the owner, I would guess –talks to a friend, or maybe her sister.  She forgets I am there. I wait at the counter. She talks.  I walk around some more, am interested in several things. I wait. I stand. Finally I leave, kindly saying good-bye, wondering if I didn’t look important enough or monied enough, or maybe her chat was more important than my business or her business?

Ah well.

Now, for contrast:

Where I live, there are a lot of beggars. On my jaunts I often encounter, “Lady can you spare a dime five dollars?” Many people have told me to ignore “panhandlers”, but I usually keep a few one-dollar bills in my pocket and often I hand them over,  if the situation seems safe. Am I supporting someone’s drug habit, or giving them a meal? I dunno.

Anyway, I was walking home, in a hurry, and a familiar –entrepreneur–approached me. I say entrepreneur because this guy sells stuff. I’ve always had a soft spot for him because he doesn’t beg, he sells his wares. You know, he’s got pride.  I see him often, pass him by often, because his stuff is not cheap and I just don’t carry much cash nor do I need to buy things all of the time. But I am familiar to him just as he is familiar to me.

Years ago, when my kids were little, we were at an outdoor concert and The Entrepreneur approached us. Everyone around us seemed to be ignoring him. My kids were a bit apprehensive. “Mo-om!”  But I bought a necklace, and he was elated. So grateful, so polite, so happy.

I doubled the necklace and wore it as a bracelet. The black cord is a bit faded now, but it is beautiful, a raw gemstone. I called it then, and refer to it now as, my “kindness bracelet”.  So, imagine my surprise when I moved to a new place and now run into The Entrepreneur on a regular basis.

This evening, I have somewhere I have to be. I am hurrying by, and I am with someone else. The Entrepreneur approaches me. I say, “I know, I have to buy something from you one of these days, but not now. I don’t have cash and I have to go…”

“Do you like this?” he asks.

Wow. Yes, I do. I like the bracelet he shows me.

“You got five bucks?” he asks me.

“Well I can’t stop now. But I will, I …”

“It’s yours” he says. “Take it. I want you to have it.”

I am hurrying by, I can’t shop right now, I…

“Here.” He gives it to me.

I thank him. He knows I will get back to him. He knows.

So I am wearing this beautiful, delicate bracelet that he made. It’s black with three oblong white beads etched in black. I love it. It’s not too big or too much for my skinny little wrist, and I wear a lot of black especially as an accent colour, so it is perfect, in its unassuming artsy little way.

What is the moral of this story? Don’t know, really, but… be kind, be open to people, accept gifts. Live happily!

Enjoy your walks in this beautiful world. Enjoy the spring, and walk with a spring in your lovely step.


*For More, taste this post from DM (who contributes in Comments, below).                       It is truly delicious and will make you smile!


28 Comments on “Can we try a little kindness, please? (updated*)”

  1. This sounds silly, but the only way the shopkeeper is going to change her ways (maybe) is if you tell her how her ignoring her not only cost her a sale, but more importantly, cost her the invaluable goodwill of a local shopper. I’d write a polite but firm note and mail it to her, You may not want to waste your time but she *is* in retail and it was her job to make you feel welcome and to help you spend your money there!

    I worked 27 months PT in retail and I tried to make our customers glad they had walked into the store, even when they didn’t buy anything. People only shop (short of buying gas) where they really feel valued.

    • lily2u1 says:

      So nice to see you here. Thank you for stopping by and for your thoughtful comment.

      I have considered going back to talk with the shopkeeper, or to talk with her on the phone. I have friends who have shopped there, too, and have talked with a couple of them about it.

      We have things in common, Caitlin; I’ve worked in retail, too. I managed a beautiful shop, in one of my many past lives. I developed a clientele, helped the owner move to a larger and better location, and when I left, the business was sold at a huge profit (which I did not see, but did feel good about, at least).

      So yes, this is a sensitive issue for me! I treat people the way I wish to be treated. “Do unto others” works for me, and good for you for being kind to your customers, too.

      Oh and also– I need to read your book! It is up my alley!

      ~ Lily

  2. I have had similiar experiences to yours with the shop keeper and I have actually returned and tried to explain and it went nowhere, total waste of time. But your theory on kindness, I absolutely believe in that and it pays dividends. I had a retail experience where a young sales assistant who went out of her way to help me ended up undercharging me, which I didn’t notice for 2 days.

    She had been so helpful that I went back to correct the undercharge. She was gobsmacked, went and got the owner because she didn’t know what to do. The owner came out and was totally stunned that I had returned to pay more money for goods I already had. She said I had totally renewed her faith in people and that she was going to tell everyone about the ‘last honest person’. She would not take the additional money, said it was her gift to me as a ‘special person’.

    Best part was that my daughter came home school a few days later and repeated the story about the crazy lady who went back to the shop to pay full price, she had no idea it was me!. The school picked up the theme and they did a whole module on honesty and integrity.

    Kindess, definitely something we should practice more.

    • lily2u1 says:

      Wow, good for you, and you’re right: kindness pays dividends. What a perfect way to put it, lipstickrhetoric!

      I’ve been thinking about it and I think C. from broadsideblog is right that I should Write a Note. If I stop in or call, it may be too much “in her face”, but if I write to her, she can think about it without having to respond to me immediately, or at all.

      What a wonderful example you were for your daughter, too! And not only her, but her whole school. Talk about dividends.

      Thank you for passing that along. Makes me feel great to hear of it, so even more dividends! Gotta love it!

      ~ Lily

  3. DM says:

    great story. love the way you extend grace to merchant #2….like they say, sometimes we entertain angels unaware…;-) you never know…. We have a “self serve” apple stand in the fall. I love the energy and good will that it generates… I occasionally get to meet some of the people who stop by when I’m restocking the apples…I have a blog post about it on my other blog..let me know and I can give you the link. love your attitudes about life! DM

    • lily2u1 says:

      Thank you so much, DM. How kind of you to say.

      l love self-serve fruit and vegetable stands! They make me feel so trusted, and as if we haven’t all become cynics. Do people often leave you more than necessary? Maybe they are tipping for the honour of being trusted?

      Sure, tell me your other blog if you’re allowed and want to post it here, or my email address is on the “About” page. Anyone can reach me there.

      If anyone wants to see beautiful bucolic photos, go to DM’s wordpress place. Oh my goodness, that first photo in the country-mist series alone is worth a visit.

      Are you up with the roosters? I am up with the birds, here. They are so noisy this morning, for some reason. Spring, I guess! That is worth crowing about, now that I think of it.

      Have a happy day, DM!

      ~ Lily

      • DM says:

        I’ll trot right over and leave that link on your about page 🙂

        • lily2u1 says:

          DM, I also added a link at the end of my post. (Hope that is OK. Let me know if not!)

          What a truly uplifting and lovely account! So appropriate, too, on so many levels, this tale of another admirable entrepreneur and his venture. You can’t help but read this and feel some joyful reassurance that humanity is alive and well.
          (I feel really happy to have been on your wavelength with this, and speaking of roosters, even. Bit of serendipity, there.)

          Thank you so much, DM. I hope everyone hops on over and reads your post.

  4. love212 says:

    This is a lovely story. Random acts of kindness really do matter.

    Elena x

    • lily2u1 says:

      Thank you, so much Elena! So sweet of you to say. Thank you for visiting and reading.

      I took a quick peek at your wordpress place and I agree: small acts of kindness, and love, do make the world go round. We are on the same page, there.

      Also, your post about the shampoo reminds me of the cow balm for hands and rough skin. Do people still use that, I wonder?

      Have a beautiful day!

      ~ Lily

  5. Hate the cliche of saying it’s Karma, but if you give you will absolutely receive. Enjoyed reading about your experience. And thanks for checking out my blog 🙂

    • lily2u1 says:

      Thank you and you’re welcome, Russell!

      Karma, kindness, giving– all good. I’ll take them. Or I should say: give and take them!

      Hope your photo-shooting/Photography goes happily today!

      ~ Lily

  6. Lily, what a great story…thank you so much. I know you follow my blog, so you realize how much our thoughts parallel one another.

    Your random acts of kindness are essential to this world. Look at the effect it has had on the Entrpreneur. Look at the effect it is having when you write about it. That is what is so AWESOME about doing good stuff…you just have no idea how far it is going to go.

    Keep your voice pure, it is perfect…we need you.

    Be encouraged!

  7. Malou says:

    What a nice story, Lily! In the world we live in where there is just too much violence, hatred, anger, mistrust, etc., it is heartwarming to hear stories of kindness. Strangely enough, a lot of people are not used to that anymore. Our society has become too self-involved and has forgotten to care for the least privileged. When I would bring cakes (I love to bake) to the office, there are those who wonder what’s the occasion. Should there be an occasion (such as a birthday) to share a simple thing such as food?

    Kindness though, when practiced more often enough starts to kick-off as a norm. Some people at work now also brings food to share with the others following my example. 😉

    • lily2u1 says:

      How wonderful of you to bring sweets and sweetness, kindness, and generosity to your co-workers, Malou!

      I agree with you, kindness does seem contagious. We can hope for, or work towards, a kindness epidemic.

      Happy travels! I love my vicarious vacations over in your little corner of wordpress!

      ~ Lily

  8. It takes great love to be kind to a stranger when we are unsure of their motive and purpose. But perhaps the why are they asking is not nearly as important as the why I am giving. You are setting a great example to all of us who are less filled with courage and love. Thanks for dropping by my post. You have blessed my heart today.

    • lily2u1 says:

      What a very lovely comment, and how appropriate your name is!

      I have been blessed with so many wonderful visitors here, and certainly count you among my blessings. Thank you, Joy, and you are certainly welcome. I look forward to seeing you here and at your place!

      ~ Lily

  9. Yamyah says:

    i really enjoyed reading this post, thank you :]

  10. lily2u1 says:

    You are welcome, Yamyah. I’m glad that you liked this post.
    Thank you so much for visiting and for taking the time to comment!

    ~ Lily

  11. What a lovely story! Thank you for sharing it with us.

  12. You were gifted simply for the joy you have in your heart. Great story!

    • lily2u1 says:

      oh Thank you, Beth, that is so wonderful for you to say.
      I am glad that you liked this story.
      Wishing you peace and joy, and the Love you seek,
      ~ Lily

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