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Writer-s-Bloc

Shopping cart mayhem

By Doreen Zyderveld-Hagel

"Get out of the way before I hit you,” bellowed the woman in front of me.

I glanced at her out of the corner of my eye, but then ignored her and continued bagging my groceries. I was strangely calm while I gave her one of my infamous Hagel Hate Stares, which our family is known for. 

However, the woman was unfazed and incidentally, was built like a brick, you know what kind of house, short and stout. 

Her cold, dead eyes bored into me, while her thin mop of fuzzy, ratty, long, grey hair swirled wildly around her head, like Medusa’s. Her Popeye sized arms with big and calloused hairy hands, gripped the shopping cart. 

She looked as though she had done time in the Big House, or Bug House, maybe both.

I quickly considered my options of what to say and do, but there was a steaming locomotive standing menacingly behind that cart, and I did not feel like being mowed over and ending up as road kill.

 In the good old, younger days, I would have told her to make me move, and remarked about her being an older member of the bovine family, but I bit my tongue. 

The date was June 27, 2015, when I was trying to mind my own business, and just seconds earlier, a friendly, senior woman, standing next to me, had just remarked that there was not any counter area for customers to stand beside any more, to pack their groceries. 

She was on my left, and on the end of the counter, and I was on the right, but standing in the next isle. There was nowhere else to stand and bag my stuff, hence the reason I stood where I did. I remarked that indeed there was not enough room any more. 

Even though I felt an impending sense of doom, I calmly continued packing my groceries and had just finished when the Brick House said in a deep sinister tone, “You better move your butt NOW, cuz I’m coming through." 

I moseyed to the other side, to let her majesty go by, and then told her that she was Ignorant, as she rammed her cart past me, into the oncoming, foot powered, cart traffic.   

She said nothing and kept going.

It was then that I heard a sigh of relief, and realized I had an audience, and dead silence followed. There was a man behind me to the right, the same kindly faced woman to my left, and two cashiers, and numerous other customers, all within earshot.  

They were now standing perfectly still; frozen with fear, with their mouths gaping open.

I don't know if I have become more Christian like, more of a chicken, or more mature, but there was a time when all hell would have broken loose.

There is an old proverb that says, "A man who holds his tongue saves his life." Proverbs 13:3. 

I do believe I saved my hide that day, now over five years ago. It truly is better to be safe than sorry, alive than dead, and now am able to tell the tale without fear of retribution from the Popeye/Medusa, wielding a shopping cart.  

Nonetheless, there are many times in life where someone is being a bully like in the shopping cart tyrant incident, which usually starts in childhood and carries on into adulthood; which then spills into the work place, at home and even within one’s church. 

When the bully has influence, he/she then enlists their cohorts to join in on the bullying, snubbing, haughty looks, evil eye, or silent treatment, something like the Scribes and Pharisees, more than 2,000 years ago. 

Instead of reasoning with the person they have a problem with, they maliciously malign instead. Or in Jesus’s case, and in modern times, there are extreme cases, where the bullies plotted and succeeded in having their “so called” problem killed.  

Notwithstanding, there are other times when a victim reacts with counter violence, physically or otherwise, while at their breaking point, in a moment of weakness, despair and anger at the ongoing ill treatment. 

It is shocking to find out that Canada has the ninth highest bullying record globally, according to media sources. It is supposedly due to the students not being educated in socially acceptable ways of treating others. 

So where does this education begin and end?  Does it start in the home and continue in the school curriculum and beyond? 

Surely something is amiss as children sometimes learn these abusive behaviours from their parents and or/other people of influence, or have also been bullied themselves. 

Being that the human character is flawed on its own, most of us probably at one time or another have been both victim and bully. 

The important thing is to recognize it and consciously chose to take the higher road, not partake in pack mentality; neither listens to, nor engages in gossip, and shuts it down at the source.   

Advocating for the marginalized is the way to go, and instead of judging and condemning, finding out their side of the story and seeking solutions.

The Golden Rule of doing onto others as you would have done onto you oftentimes may only be lip service, and how seriously is that really being taken, as actions speak louder than words.

Those actions are screaming, and sometimes make the evening news, but more often than not do not, the victim suffers in silence, despair, depression and in some cases ending in suicide. 

Doreen Zyderveld-Hagel is a Kelowna writer.

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