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Sharing Smiles in the Grocery Aisles

Sharing Smiles in the Grocery Aisles

The other day as I was wandering around the grocery store I noticed how everyone seemed to have a scowl on their face.   I was at the store towards the end of the day and I saw the fatigue on their faces as they marched through the aisles just wanting to finish their shopping and get on their way home.  As I watched all these people shuffle along, I started to think about the value of a smile and thought I would try a little experiment.  I would try the random act of smiling.

When I smiled at the first person I saw in the produce section, they looked back at me quite suspiciously.  I could tell that they felt very awkward and possibly thought that I was smiling at them because they had done something strange.  They quickly grabbed their apples from the pile and moved on their way to the next produce section.

The next person I met was in the meat section.  As we stood beside each other, it was a little difficult for us to connect face to face so I decided to shift my experiment on to the aisles of the store.

In the aisles it really got interesting. 

As I passed people walking down the aisles it became a little more difficult for people to escape my gaze.  I smiled at them and even on the odd occasion added in the word hello.  Their reactions were quite interesting.  One person asked, ‘Do I know you?” while others gave me back what I would call a half smile.  There were some people who gave a full smile back and also said hello and a couple of people who even asked how I was doing.  As I continued through the store, it felt like I could actually feel the stress level of people begin to ease after we had connected.

There is a quote by Stanley Gordon West, “Smile and the world smiles with you, cry and you cry alone.” 

I would say that in my little experiment, this was for the most part true.  I found that I was successful in engaging with about 85% of the people I tried to connect with.   What I also found interesting was that each person who did actively engage in smiling back at me, it seemed like I could visibly see the stress on their face ease and their shoulders relax as we engaged in a smile. 

Maybe there really is something behind the power of a smile.  Next time maybe I’ll try my random act of smiling at a government service centre and see what happens!

What do you think?  Have you ever tried this?  I would love to hear about your experience….

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Susan Williams is the Founder of Booming Encore. Being a Boomer herself, Susan loves to discover and share ways to live life to the fullest. She shares her experiences, observations and opinions on living life after 50 and tries to embrace Booming Encore's philosophy of making sure every day matters.