Be Well Be Happy

I was in Brown’s on 116th (oh, I mean Ace Hardware) and at checkout unknowingly gave a new person there $50.36 for a $4.36 sale. When she gave me back $46, I gave it back and told her she gave me too much, that I had given her $20.36 (thinking it was a $20 bill and not a $50 bill). I knew she was not long there because I was doing an exchange and she had to call someone over to help with that…she was clearly trying to maintain her cool, be pleasant - yet, frustrated. She thanked me profusely for being honest.

A few days later she called me to tell me that they had counted up the receipts/$ for the day and it was over by the amount she tried to give me, and they narrowed it down to that sale.  When I went in, they all knew about it and the familiars “that was you?” I apologized to the kind, warm person for giving her grief as I knew she probably got s**t from her manager. 

It got me thinking how great and comfortable I feel when I shop in our local places.  Recognition. Connection. Kindness. All about Community. Good feelings come from these types of connections.  I thought about how I feel when I enter a small local place vs a large chain store. People in the chain stores are trained in customer service and are kind and all that, but the connection is not there. They haven’t seen you before and chances are they’re not going to see you again. 

I understand that sometimes prices could be higher - of course locals can’t compete with big supply chains - and when there is a large family or project, it makes monetary sense to shop elsewhere. But in order to foster this sense of community, it’s important to shop locally whenever we can. Community is what brings us together in times of need, tragedy, sadness, in times of happiness.

Our locals are here to serve us and to provide what we need and want. They all spend a lot of time and effort every day. I do not underestimate the importance and impact in our community, and I am grateful. Every time I go into Ace, somebody will probably say something about the incident, and we’ll laugh– because they all know it and they all know me. Ongoing connection - not just the instant one that happens in an “anonymous” shopping environment - is fun; shopping in our local establishments creates local economic stability and community well-being. 

So, thank you Rockaway business owners, workers, delivery people, drivers, for keeping our community vibrant and thriving and for serving us day in and day out, rain, snow or shine. We appreciate you!

May you be happy. May you be free. May you be grateful. May you be compassionate. May you let go of things that do not serve you. May you have inner peace. 

By Paulette Mancuso

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