Strive to be Kind

Most of you will not be aware of this but today is world “Strive to be Kind Day”, so my wife informed me. So I enquired what it entailed, my curiosity was aroused by her mumbled comment that I should subscribe or something like that. Normally I stay well away from these ‘Be Kind to Cats’ days or their equivalent. Clearly the big problem for me is would how to be more kind than I am normally. Yesterday was a good example, I went to the Shopping Centre, something I do not do. I left early and excited in expectation of my outing, today was the big day. I had many items to collect, ordered from fools on Ebay who had obviously made mistakes with their prices. These treasures had been sent by various means to various locations.

The first stop was the local Post Office, where, an email from the Sender had informed me, there was a parcel waiting. I went in and asked him for the parcel and after a brief search he produced it.

Have you got any identification? he said.

No - I replied - how many parcels were you expecting from Fiji labelled ‘Object d’art’?

I cannot release it without identification he replied.

I have been coming to this Post office for 40 years and recently renewed my Passport here, surely you remember me?

Carnt say I do
- he said – come back with some photo ID.

Oh well plenty of other treasures to collect so I suggested to him that he had a big future at Centre Link if he was looking for a career change and left for the Shopping Centre. My second stop was also to be a Post Office but a real one this time, a Distribution Centre. This time I had an email from THAT Post Office advising me that my parcel was there and to bring the email with me for collection. This real Post Office was in the Shopping Centre. In fact it was Shop 32, Centro Centre so should be easy to get my parcel. I arrived at the front, breathless, after a brisk 10 minute walk across a car park that seemed completely full. Now for Shop 32. I had expected there to be a Map at the entrance marked with an arrow “You are here”. I could then look at the alphabetical list of shops with their locations, then find that Shop 32 was at W-7 or some such reference. No Map in sight, so I asked a passer-by;‘where was the Map’. She looked at me without a flicker of intelligence, or indeed life in her eyes, shrugged and walked on.

I was in no hurry and still feeling pretty satisfied with life, so I decided to start at the end nearest me and work my way down to the other end. That turned out to be a mistake because the Post Office was almost at the other end. Never mind I was here and could get my first treasure (second actually I had been denied the first). I presented myself at the counter and offered up my email with the collection details. Off he went down the back somewhere and after 20 minutes or so reappeared.

Are you sure you haven’t collected it? He enquired.

Quite sure I said. He looked at me as if I was a congenital liar and said,

Well it has arrived but does not seem to be here.

He then went into a huddle with a fellow employee interrupted by numerous consultations with the computer screen. By now the queue behind me stretched out into the Mall, but I held my ground despite the rumblings behind me. They finally came back.

The parcel is addressed to Big W for collection, it was here but Big W have to collect it we cannot give it to you.

You are kidding!
I replied.

No he said, Big W is nearby why not go and ask them?

I would if I knew where it was
- I answered – there are no maps so I cannot find anything.

Clearly puzzled by this response he said,

 What maps?

The ones at the front of the Centre to show me where your Post Office was.

But I know where the Post office is, he said.

I gave up and headed off for Big W. Their response was predictable – Where is the email we sent you? I show them the email from the Post Office. They consult their computer and return to tell me:

We have not picked it up yet, it is at the Post Office. When we pick it up we will send you an email.

You do not have to send me an email, I am right here.

But you need the email to collect the parcel.

Well just show me the email and I will take your word for it that the parcel is here, then I can collect it.

We still have to collect it from the Post Office.

– I say – how about this, you go three shops down and collect the parcel and then send me an email. Show me the email when you get back and I will then tell you the Tracking number and collect the parcel.

They go into a huddle, why is it that when I am trying to be kind to people they get their managers and go into a huddle? The queue behind me now stretches out almost to the Checkouts. These are not pensioners, as at the Post office, mumbling their dissatisfaction at the delay; these are young matrons with tatoos and screaming kids. Not for them passive complaining, they are about to take Big W apart and tear the staff limb from limb. They are my secret weapon, I will not budge from my position at the head of the queue and the Manager plus two underlings know that the situation is turning ugly. Desperately she says:

Look I will go down to the Post Office myself and pick up your parcel (Ah acknowledgement that at least the parcel is mine) and bring it back. It will take about 10 minutes and then, if you sign for it, you can have it.

 Fair enough,  
I say, I have another errand to attend to anyway, I will be back in ten.

There is muted clapping behind me as I leave and head for the Centre Managers office. My earlier stroll has acquainted me with ALL the stores in the Centre, so I know exactly where it is. When I enter I am asked by yet another girl who I wanted to see. The Centre manager I replied. The Manager duly appeared and asked if she could help. I explained that I could not find my way around the Centre because there was no directions or map. She showed concern and said:

I will get you a Brochure which has a map of the Centre.

No thanks
, I said. Just out of interest how do people find their way to your office to get a map when they arrive at the Centre?

This comment obviously puzzled her as she realised there was no easy way out of that conundrum.

Why didn’t you use the map, she said.

What map, I replied.

The one at the entrance.

There is no map at the entrance.

Are you sure?
she said.

Now I must admit that at this stage I simply glared at her, my Be Kind Day was slipping a little. Another huddle as she calls up reinforcements. She emerges from their heads together and says:

Maintenance have taken it down, I will make sure it is up by tomorrow. If it isn’t come and tell me and I will deal with it.

Sounds good,
I say, the only problem is that I expect this is my last visit. I really cannot afford the time to come back here again.

With this problem sorted I head back to Big W. I am greeted by no less than three staff who have my parcel and a bit of paper to sign. I do not even have to wait in the queue, they call me off to one side for VIP treatment. They are definitely Striving to be Kind.

Well I have finally got one parcel of the four I set out to get but it is now lunch time so I go home. I think I will ask my wife to pick up the others. My well of kindness has run dry.