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Ganigohiyo

For every day that passes by, from about mid-July to the end of August, my twelve year old daughter gives me detailed lists about what she requires for back to school. She is one of those young people who loves to be prepared. I, on the other hand, am a radical believer in Indian Time.

For every day that passes by, from about mid-July to the end of August, my twelve year old daughter gives me detailed lists about what she requires for back to school.

She is one of those young people who loves to be prepared.
I, on the other hand, am a radical believer in Indian Time. Which means I usually shop for supplies the day before school starts.

In spite of myself, we agreed on an early trip to a certain‘big-box-stationary-store-that-shall-remain-nameless’ to get back to school supplies.

Myself, with my two daughters, my niece and nephew happily did our shopping and went to the till to pay.

That is when it happened. The dreaded tax exemption confrontation. I won’t get into the details of this particular event. In short, teen cashier looks me square in the eyeballs and lies to me about removing the HST from my order.

To correct the mistake, the customer service clerk had to manually refund each item on my list, and then manually re-calculate my order. Forty minutes and two hundred dollars later, my kids and I left ‘nameless store’. Our happy trip for back to school supplies had become a terrible outing we all wanted to forget. Sadly, this is not the first time I’ve had issues presenting my status card for a purchase.

Sadder still, is that nearly every consumer in our region who bears a status card has a similar story.
A few years ago, a woman had the audacity to declare my husband’s Indian Status had “expired”. Standing there I started to reflect on the other status card dramas I’ve faced.

Once a man told me that he refused to accept status cards simply because he couldn’t be bothered with all the paper work.

When you’re too slow bringing out the card at some big box retailers the cashiers take all their frustrations out on the keyboard…punching away at the poor register, slinking down on one hip and sighing loudly, maybe even shaking their head and looking at everyone in line standing behind you in an attempt to discipline you and your Indian Status with a good old dose of shame.

These are classic “insult to injury” situations, which bringout the classic “fight or flight” response in the offended party.

This time I wanted to fight. My blood was boiling and I had a choice; snap…or wait.

This time, I waited. I watched the customer service clerk ring every one of my sixty-eight items out.

Then I noticed something different. She wasn’t irritated, she didn’t sigh or shake her head or grumble under her breath about the young cashier.

She just did her job patiently. She was exercising using a Good Mind. I, in turn, approached the young cashier and instead of giving her a piece of my mind, sternly told her that she owed her co-workers an apology. We all make mistakes.

And I forgive the young cashier now. But it seems to me the responsibility that the Creator has dropped down to us is to use our own minds to challenge fight or flight, and maintain this constant sense of hope – that the Good Mind operating in us can inspire the Good Mind in others.

What began as a frustrating time, became a lesson to me.

And this week as we listen to those Good Words that the Creator gave to us, consider that we have been given a mighty gift…the human potential that sometimes, good begets good.

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