Practice Empathy

Have you ever gone to the grocery store knowing exactly how much you could spend without overdrafting? I have. Sometimes I fantasize about going grocery shopping without knowing the last penny I can spend. As fantasies go, it’s pretty tame, I guess.

There’s a quiet desperation going on all around you at every store. People may clutch a list like a lifeline, fuss at their children for adding to the cart, block part of an aisle to calculate how much they have left to spend. People may put things back wherever they are or at the cash register. A mother may have a cartload of processed foods, box meals. She may get noticeably agitated when the meat counter measures imprecisely.

Not to mention, she (or he) might be hungry. The kids might be, too.

We, for I am one of these people, fully appreciate the impact of organic, grass-fed, pasture-roaming, responsibly cultivated, locally sourced foods. We get that 95/5 is ‘healthier’ than 85/15. We read, we watch, we know. We wish convenience foods had less bad stuff and more nutritional value.

We know that kids operate best when nutritiously filled. We know that we do, too.

We also know that full-fat dairy will fill tummies better and longer than low-fat. We know that grains are cheaper per serving than meat or vegetables, so that’s a core of most meals. We know that serving sizes are largely out of reach, especially in larger families.

This post isn’t about education or food industry practices. It’s not about working more or harder. No, this post is just a standard Monday reminder to practice empathy.

Whether at the grocery store or in the pharmacy line or wherever, we all have no idea what the people around us are enduring – financially, physically, emotionally. We have no idea how much stress a seemingly simple sales transaction creates for anyone else.

Cut some slack. Overlook food choices with which you disagree. Have patience with shoppers who seem fickle. Nearly everyone’s day is hard enough without anyone else pressing with anger, disgust, judgement, and the like. Practicing empathy costs us nothing but a momentary sneer at others.

What say you?

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