Commendables: ‘Just part of the job,’ patient grocery clerk says

My Edmonds News is pleased to introduce a new column, “Commendables,” aimed at documenting acts worth celebrating.

By Jeanne Gerhard

I glanced at the clock on the wall, aware that my time was short. My husband needed our one car to get to a lunch appointment. I steered my cart to the check-out station with the shortest line, grateful that the one person ahead of me was almost finished. As I unloaded my basket onto the conveyor belt I was only vaguely aware of the interaction between the man and the woman ringing up his order. Once I’d finished, I glanced at the two of them, and it was then it hit me: this was going to take far longer than I’d first imagined.

Knowing my empty cart meant I wouldn’t be changing stations, I took a deep breath and began taking a closer look at the interaction between the cashier and the somewhat befuddled elderly man whose order she was ringing up. He scrutinized each item and plied her with questions: “Are you sure that’s the price? I thought it was on sale.” “Is this coupon good for two or just one?” When the clerk announced the total, the man pulled his wallet out of his back pocket and asked, “What was the total again? Let me see if I have enough to pay in cash.”

The cashier never rolled her eyes at me when the man wasn’t looking, nor did her body language ever communicate impatience. Quite the contrary. She courteously answered each of his questions and took the time to explain things until sure he understood. When his change rattled into the round change holder, she gently reminded him not to forget it. And she smiled and wished him a pleasant day as he slowly pushed his cart out of her station.

I was deeply impressed with this woman’s behavior. There wasn’t the least hint of impatience or hurry. As she rang up my items, I commended her and was rewarded by another smile. “Just part of the job,” she replied. Maybe, but rare nonetheless. In my estimation, she went far beyond “just her job.” Bravo!

Jeanne Head Shot 3Jeanne Gerhard, a member of the Edmonds-based EPIC writing group, grew up, went to college and taught school in Southern California. In 2000, she and her family moved from California to Washington. She would welcome hearing about any “Commendables” you notice. Email them to

  1. What a great idea for a new column! I love the idea of acts of kindness being celebrated in our community. Taking time to notice the good things is time well spent.

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