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Making Assumptions

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Sometimes we make assumptions or judgments about people or situations before we have all the information or facts.

Some years ago I worked as a cashier in a large department fashion store, and many of the customers that came in were tourists from all over the world, and spoke many different languages too.

On this particular day and time a Chinese family came to my till to pay for their shopping. There was a woman and man, who I assumed to be the mother and father, and an older teenage girl, who I also assumed was the daughter. As usual most of the shopping in the basket was for her: skirts, dresses T-shirts, and shoes. Anyway, when they approached my till, it ran through my head, “Oh God, I don’ t speak any Chinese languages, and how am I going to communicate with them,” so I thought that I should smile even broader than I usually do at them, and nod my head as I have seen Chinese people do on TV and in films that I had watched. The usual “Hello” was said to them as I commenced taking the items out of the basket and scanning them, then bagging them in a large paper two-handled bag. When I got to the first pair of shoes, it was usual for us as staff to ask the customer if it was the correct size that they wanted, so I leaned towards the mother and asked her if the shoes were the correct size that they wanted, pointing at the number inside of the shoe. She took the shoes from me and showed them to the older teenage girl with them and said in a perfect French accent “est ce tu vais taille trent neuf?” “Qui, c’ est bon,” the girl said. I took the shoes back, said” Merci Madame,” scanned them, and completed the transaction, continuing to speak in French to them. It turned out that they were from Paris, France on a trip to shop here in London. I was smiling outside, but laughing inside, at myself and my assumption about them. In this particular case, this was a harmless assumption of some people and the situation. It could have been worse if I had not held my tongue and observed the situation further before speaking. We can even take actions when we assume that things are a particular way and make some wrong and harsh judgments on people and situations. We must practice observation and open mindedness, and like Peter, be careful not to open our mouths and put our big foot in it, as the English say.

I wrote this down a few days ago after something brought it to my memory. I thought that maybe I could share it at some point in time, then today on Facebook, someone had posted three short videos where it showed simple little scenarios, where the words came up at the end “Don’t judge too quickly.” They were funny clips too, because I found myself laughing out loud and then watching them again. I will post them on my Facebook page and also add my little scenario to it. I hope that it will make someone smile and also be a lesson learned as it has been to me. God Bless you for reading.

Carol Noel


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