... in Paperchase

Published on 08 Jan 2020
Coloured paper

My new year's resolution this year was a private one: I wanted to focus on listening better, and not just in scenarios where people 'bend my ear' (I'm not so bad when that switch is flicked!) but rather in more everyday encounters. I wanted to allow more space for others in my head as well. I didn't tell anyone else this resolution because I don't think I want it to come up and bite me when I do get it wrong! 

I needed to buy some stationery this week so went to Paperchase. When I got to the till, the assistant started to put through the purchases, but suddenly stopped mid-action when she heard a piece of music on the store speakers. Rather than remarking and then moving on, she explained that music was her 'thing' and went on to tell me about a competition she'd won, and various other things to do with music. I didn't entirely understand what she was saying (I didn't recognise the names of the bands she referred to) but I embraced this opportunity to let this person tell me about something important to them, quite regardless of the fact it was completely irrelevant to me. 

I worked in retail for a long time and I know this much: if the shop assistant feels like chatting then it will be good for them to do so and be listened to, other wise the job can seem very robotic and boring. We can't always engage everyone we meet in conversation as there is often not time in their day, let alone ours - but if a person wants to chat, and we have the time, then those few minutes might make a positive impact on them. I walked away with a smile, so it made a positive impact on me, too. 

I am grateful for this and other everyday opportunities to listen and feel enriched by the treasures others bring to tell me about.