TRAVEL & ADVENTURES: Compare & Contrast
Sometimes, pleasing things happen - other times not. It's the way you look at it and if figure out how much control over the situation you have.
Such a thing happened to me. And it has been the dreaded virus that has brought it to light.
I'll give you the two scenarios:
Morrisons vs Waitrose Supermarkets
I have shopped occasionally at Morrisons and have found their staff to be cordial and lighthearted, although a little unhappy. During the height of the pandemic, I visited their store to stock up on essentials - water in particular.
Upon entering, I was greeted by a sea of confusion, warning tape separating pathways, stickers on the floor telling you where to walk and staff on hand to direct you should you wander off of the beaten track.
I had done most of my shopping and had yet to get the water - that aisle was in the corner, and I was at the end of the aisle nearest to it. It was separated by a plastic stand and a bit of tape. There were about 10 shoppers in the store and 20 staff. There was no one near the water.
"Should I make a run for it?"
I decided to act with common sense. I moved the barrier and pushed my trolly through.
Immediately, two members of staff pounced on me "You can't go through that way!"
"But I only want a pack of water bottles, can't I just get them? They're there." I pointed to them, not 20 feet away from me.
No. I had to walk back down the aisle and up again.
The kindly staff member replaced the barrier and tried to apologise to me. "It's cos of this Corona thing." She said with a smile
"I know," I agreed with a sigh. "But don't you think it's getting more and more like a Nazi state?"
I thought I had a 'friend' in her. But...
She immediately took offence to that and followed me along the aisle towards the water, to the till, where she had already given prior information to the till staff that I was probably a trouble maker.
I unpacked my trolley in the most jovial of natures, trying to engage with the staff member on the till. But she was having none of it.
Upon payment of my items, my friendly (not) escort, escorted me out through the exit door. the 2 Security Guards almost stood to attention. So, I smiled at them and asked where the cash point was, then asked them how to navigate the taped off areas.
Not a pleasant experience. And they will never have the pleasure of my shopping experience again.
Waitrose, on the other hand, were filled with polite staff who waved me through, trusting that I would make my own clever decisions on social distancing. They smiled at me, encouraged me to be at ease and even asked me to enjoy my customer experience.
I will buy from them again.
Camping & Motorhome Club vs Camping & Caravan Club
After many attempts to secure a spot on a camping site in Malvern (after my ultra stressful day attempting to fix my campervan.
The Camping & Motorhome Club (CAMC) answered my prayer and booked me in. It felt, very much, as though I was being 'rushed' through the system.
I arrived. The office had two doors. One you entered, one you exited. Having not shopped for a long time, I wasn't used to this. So, I had to follow instructions. Not delivered pleasantly, I might add.
As soon as I entered, a woman stated in a firm tone "You're supposed to be wearing a mask!"
Oh, ok. I returned to my van and retrieved my exemption card.
They gave thin smiles, but accepted my hidden disabilities.
From that moment on, she stared at me as though I was some kind of leech, not deserving of being on the planet, let alone paying £18.46 for the pleasure of parking my van and using about a £0.05ps worth of electricity.
After much trouble with the payment card, I was handed a sheet of paper that gave me directions to my parking place and instructions on how to handle the virus.
I drove round the park. It was packed to the brim. So many people. So many vans. It was a confusion of roads that lead to nowhere. Eventually, I found the spot I wanted.
As I backed into the parking space, people stared at me - as though I was some kind of alien in their midst. Well, with my big blue campervan, compared to their pristine white caravans, I guess I was.
I parked. Turned off the engine. And I sat there.
I stared at the people sat in their chairs having a cup of tea.
This wasn't for me. I felt uncomfortable. I felt uneasy. I felt unsafe.
Nevertheless, I had paid for my parking place. So I walked back to the office to retrieve my key. The lady stared at me again.
I trembled. I asked for a couple of icecreams from the freezer. The credit card system wouldn't work, so I put them back and trundled off back the safe confines of my campervan.
Sitting in the back, I looked at my phone. The Caravan and Camping Club (CACC) had returned my call. So I returned their call.
"We've just had a cancellation!" came back the friendly voice.
It brought music to my ears. I did say "Please, I'd like to have that spot. I asked how much it would be and was tol the price (less than the CAMC, but... I'd just paid £18 for the CACC. She searched for a discount and got me one.
I was on my way. I released the brake, pushed down on my accelerator and drove away from the prison (type) camp and into an oasis of happiness.
As I entered the CACC, the staff waved me through, cycled in front of me to an allocated spot and smiled cheerily.
At last, I felt at ease. I felt comfortable. I felt - ok.
The Moral of the Lesson
Always remember, you cannot control another's way of being. You can only control your own.
My message to you is focused on action.
Your action and manner of dealing with challenges, other people and situations, matters.
Even if it makes you feel frightened, nervous, scared - and you have that familiar trembling come over you when you're standing in the face of uncertainty. You must have the courage to stand firm in your beliefs.
Think back to those brave soldiers during World Wars 1 and 2. They bravely faced bullets. Some wet their pants from fear, but they still went ahead with what they had to do.
Your courage may only be from being denied entry in shops or have been pressured by your doctor or employer to endure unlawful protocols.
Keep your wits about you and your hope up.
Remember, you can only control what you do - you cannot control others reactions, actions and ways of being.
Don't lose hope. There are plenty of people who may not say anythign, but agree wholeheartedly with you. Don't despair.
It's crucial to keep thinking good things, and not to focus on the bad that is happening around us.
All the best,
Please note, if you buy anything from the links provided, I will earn a smidgen of a commission - and I mean a smidgen (like 0.0001p for any product that takes your fancy enough for you to press the buy button). But at least it's something. And, please know that none of those funds are paid by you, the buyer.
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Kaye is a freelance publisher, author and certified psychotherapist with over three decades of experience. She is also a writer for various blogs about writing, publishing, travelling and health care.
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