Thursday, 26 April 2012
Facing rejection at Morrisons
I went bag-packing at Morrisons in Horsforth with some students who are going to Lourdes in July. The supermarket kindly gave us a slot to raise funds. "May I pack your bags?" I said to a well-dressed man, considerably younger than myself. "No, I'm fine" he said rather sternly, clearly discomfited by this intervention of a clergyman in his evening routine. So I stood by his side as he packed his own bags, feeling superfluous. distinctly dispirited and rather absurd. I'm not used to such raw rejection. Only five minutes previously I had been the "in control" cleric whom people greeted and smiled at; suddenly I had become this embarrassing, middle-aged bloke in a collar to be avoided. Fortunately, other shoppers were a little more forthcoming; indeed many were very generous. At the end of the evening I took the five students who had worked with me for a drink. One recounted how he had mistakenly reached for a purchase on the conveyor belt only for the shopper to thunder: "I said leave it!" "There's 50p" the same shopper said as he departed. "You'd have got a quid if you hadn't interfered." Another said "Why should I give money to Catholics?" He had a point I suppose. I've not counted our takings yet but I estimate we made about £100. We all lingered in the pub, even after our glasses were empty. The experience had united us, which is always a sure sign that God's kingdom has been built up. Here are two of the students with a kind and friendly shopper.