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On Tuesday morning while my Mother and I did errands, I ran into a chain building supply store to buy a ceiling fan and received good service from a female employee. After she carried it to the check-out, she handed me a little slip of green paper with her name and the company’s customer appreciation 1-800 number. She asked if I would let the company know if she had served me well.

She had done a good job and I wanted to help her, so I called the number right away. First I got a recorded voice with a variety of extensions from which to choose. I had to listen carefully to see which extension I needed. Finally I got a real human being. She listened to my compliment, but also wanted to know several bits of information about me. By the time we finished, the call had taken much longer than I expected. I didn’t think it should be so much trouble to compliment someone.

Mother and I then went to a restaurant/gift shop to use the “facilities” (is that a euphemism for restroom all over the country?). I walked over to the take-out spot to order some hot chocolate. The cashier told me she would get a waitress. I thought, “Waitress? For two cups of hot chocolate?” I waited for my waitress. When she came, I told her that I wanted two cups of hot chocolate. She gave me an “Is that all?” look and asked if I wanted whipped cream.

Since I am a health enthusiast, I asked, “Is it real?”

She said, “I think so; it comes out of a can. We keep it in the refrigerator.”

I said, “No,” and asked, “Are there different sizes?”

She said, “No. It comes out of a packet. We have to make it.”

She left. I went to the restroom. When I came out, I saw two to-go cups sitting on a shelf near the cashier. I asked if they were mine. She said, “Did you give her your name?”

I said, “She didn’t ask me” and paid my $4.25 for our two cups of hot water and two hot chocolate packets that they had to pour in for me.

My experiences of complimenting an employee and ordering hot chocolate weren’t bad, but they weren’t exactly satisfying either. I compared them with the service at my grandfather’s store many years ago.

“Sack boys,” as we called them, bagged groceries neatly in tall brown paper bags that stood up in the car. They carried them to the car. If a patron couldn’t come to the store herself, she simply called, told what she groceries she wanted, and waited for my daddy to deliver them.

When Daddy Leland died, the mother of a friend of mine related a story from when she was a young married woman. She said that she was in my grandfather’s store one day, very carefully figuring out just what she could get. My grandfather came to her and told her not to worry and to get whatever she needed.

At Daddy Leland’s store, people didn’t have to pay for their whole bill the day they bought their groceries. They could pay nothing or pay what they could that day, while Daddy Leland held the rest on account until they paid at the end of the month.

Boyd's for blog 004
Daddy Leland is in the center picture. The top one is Daddy home from the Army. He is standing in front of Daddy Leland’s country store. In the lower photo Daddy
is standing beside a stack of boxes that he is about
to empty onto the grocery shelves.

Daddy Leland was the heart of Boyd’s Market. He got up about 4:00 a.m. Sometimes he went to Nashville to buy fresh produce before the store opened at 7:00 a.m. Other times he worked on paperwork in his office, which was like a little box sitting near the check-out stands. When he stood up, he could look out over his office walls and see what was happening all over the store.

To get to his office, Daddy Leland climbed up two steps and went through a short swinging door. One of my special childhood treats was playing with the adding machine he kept on the desk that almost filled the room.

Antique adding machine flickr image by quinet
Flickr Image by Quinet

Teaching your children to work heartily and to serve others are two of the most important lessons you will ever teach them. I’m thankful that Daddy and Daddy Leland were examples of that to me.

Whatever you do, do your work heartily,
as for the Lord rather than for men,
knowing that from the Lord you will receive
the reward of the inheritance.
It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.
Colossians 3:23-24

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One comment

  1. I have so enjoyed your “Grocery Store Tales”. I looked forward with anticipation each day’s story but even more how you intertwined a lesson for us to ponder. I live in a small town and we have a locally owned grocery store that still provides personal service. We have young fellows who pack our groceries and carry them out to the vehicle, with a smile I might add! You are right…one of the most valuable lessons we can teach our children, and is the first verse on our “school rules” chart in our homeschooling, is working heartily unto the Lord. I look around and see many children and teens that have not been taught that….that is sad. I’m thankful that homeschooling has provided us the opportunity to teach our children this lesson and have them work and serve others diligently and with care. Thank you, Charlene, for you GSTales this week!

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