"The Muffled Cries For Help From a Daddy of Four Beautiful Little Girls"

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Observations While Bell Ringing

Tuesday was balmy. It was in the 60's, and I was about to go to work shirtless because it was so unseasonably mild...but I didn't want to make all my coworkers unseasonably sick.

Then today the weatherman caught wind that I was going to be outside ringing a bell for the Salvation Army at the local Kroger grocery store, so he decided it should be cold and bitter. He also decided not to tell me to take my gloves.

The nice thing, though, about the icy cold temperature was that it kept me awake. Thanks to this heightened state of alertness, I was able to make several observations about my fellow man, and about the automatic sliding entrance doors at Kroger.

* Nice people who have already given money to charities this season and therefore aren't going to today sometimes feel they need to tell you, just in case you thought they were selfish with their nickels. Really, folks, I'm not making eye contact unless you enter my space (for your sake, not mine). I'm not asking for your money and I'm not even thinking about your money when you walk by. I just ring the bell. I didn't even put money in myself today. *GASP*

* The young guy who was in there for about 30 minutes must not be familiar with this store, because after that long shopping trip, all he came out with was a couple bottles of something. The lady with the crying two year old got a whole cart load in less than 15 minutes.

* The sight of the nice lady with the two young children humored me (not because she had two children; I don't know why you'd think I thought that was the funny part). She had one of those fancy carts with the extra two seats in the front for the kids the sit in, in addition to the regular seat. And yet, none of the three seats was occupied. One child was standing in the front, as if recreating the the warning scene printed on the plastic flip-down seat--the one that's crossed off because it may result in death. The other child was being carried by the mom in much the same manner as you'd carry a greased pig across a grocery store parking lot while pushing an oversized cart with death-wish-child on the front. Not funny to her, but brought a smile to me.

* I almost made a smart alec comment to a lady coming IN carrying a bag of groceries. Because it's the opposite of what everyone else was doing, you know. But I maintained my philosophy of not making eye contact or speaking to anyone unless they approached me so as not to make them feel awkward about not giving. Turns out she WASN'T coming in to stock the shelves with homemade food as I originally thought. She was coming back in to DONATE food at a collection box inside the entrance. Good for her. I like nice people.

* I spent much of the time developing a number of ways to ring a bell with the least amount of effort possible. I finally settled into letting it hang loosely between by knuckles while I simply rocked back and forth a little on my feet. I didn't want my elbow cramping, you know.

* I also spent almost the entire time trying to keep from triggering the sensor on the automatic door every two seconds. I felt bad for the little old ladies with walkers waiting inside for their van from the retirement home. The door opened constantly and I know those ladies had to be almost as cold as I was. Hence, the minimal-movement bell-ringing method I developed by my last two minutes at my post. Of course, once they left, I figured out that it was the LADIES triggering the door, not me, but my experiments helped pass the time faster anyway.

It was a very cold 7 hours out in front of the Kroger. Actually, it was only one hour, but it sure felt like 7.

Oh, if you were one of the customers who saw me today and wondered why I was smiling the whole time, your guess is correct. I WAS imagining everyone in pajamas, picking out the right style for each personality. This was inspired by the college kid actually wearing pajamas.


Emily said...

Wow, I have tons of insight now into the mind of those men/women ringing those bells.

There are some lecherous bell ringers though...so glad you weren't one of them. The kind who try and hang you a candy cane in a WAY to friendly manner....


javamamma said...

OK. I got a kick out of the lady with the fancy-dancy cart, yet not one child seated correctly. That was sooo me, a couple years ago...only there were 3 children. And you're right, so not funny for her. Just us.

Robotface Shumway (Big Doofus) said...

I rarely carry cash. You guys should have a machine to take my debit card.

kari said...

Hey there! I had to delurk to say, what an entertaining post, it really made me laugh. I enjoy your blog.

David said...

Haha, I loved this. Very funny.

Kathleen Marie said...

This is so cute! I have rang the bell before as well when my kids were little. They were much bolder than I was? "Do you want to donate?" ... Cute, cute. I have blessed you with an award! Stop on over! Merry Christmas!

Mr. E said...

I also like watching my fellow man from time to time. I have never voluntered to be a bell ringer for the Salvation Army. Do you do that every year? It's amazing what you can learn about your fellow man when you have the time to watch them. Good post!