Self check-out counters – yay or nay

Our local grocery stores, most of them, are switching to self check-out counters. While they still have check-outs with cashiers, there are more of the self check-outs in the stores.

Of course, the giant conglomerate, Walmart, has more self check-outs than tellers. Which is to be expected. It’s a big chain all around the world, and there is the pressure for them to be the leaders in changes.

But recently, our local grocery stores have been renovating and adding the counters. At first, I was skeptical of them. I disliked the fact that I had to bag my own groceries (then realized that at most of the stores I shop at, I bag them myself anyway). And are they really faster than a cashier? I have debated back and forth about this.

Yesterday, I realized that in fact I LIKE them ! More than a cashier in fact. And I do not believe for a moment that so many people are losing their jobs because of them. I believe a few may have, but for the most part, I still see the same amount of cashiers and employees milling about the stores.

What changed my mind? Well, I had to make a quick stop in our local Food Basics store on my way to work. As I walked in, I noticed the “express lane – 10 items or less” had at least 8 people standing there. I went to get my items (I knew what I wanted to get and knew exactly where the items were). As I approached the cashiers, some 5 minutes later, the SAME PEOPLE were still standing in line with their items, and no one was using the self check-out lanes. There are 6 self check-out counters. Every one was available. So my thought was – well I could stand in line, and possibly be late for work, or I could zip on through the self check-out and be on my way with lots of time to get to work. Off I went. In a matter of 3 minutes, I had checked them out, bagged and was back in my car ready to go. I spent a total of 8 minutes in the store getting my stuff and paying and heading out. The same people were still standing in the express lane.

So my thinking is – if I only have a few items, YES I am going to use the self check-out. If I have a buggy full of groceries, then I will most likely use a cashier. But for those people making a stand and refusing to use them, who are you helping? You are all standing there, holding each other up, paying for your 10 items or less, and wasting valuable time – time is not forever. I choose to use mine carefully.

Okay, I know not everyone will agree with my thinking, and that’s okay. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, or to perhaps “see the light” that it makes sense (at least to me) to be quick picking up a few things. But maybe, if you think of it as – how much time do I really have in this world to waste it protesting over something that will not change, no matter how much you protest – is it really worth it?

Thoughts to ponder…

Staying positive in a negative world

I believe myself to be a very positive person. I try not to let people or things bring me down. Of course, there are some days that this is not possible, but for the most part, I tend to stay pretty positive things.

That’s not to say that I don’t have bad days. I’ve had a few of those lately, but when I’m feeling down, I look at the 10 habits of positive people, and re-set my mind.

1. Positive people expect their plans to work out

Sometimes our plans don’t work out like we want them to, but I try to make sure mine do. I usually have a Plan B ready just in case Plan A doesn’t work out, and that’s okay too. Having a back up is never a bad thing!

2. Positive people don’t dwell on failure

I used to dwell on my failures a lot – my parenting skills, my financial situation – but I have learned through reading and counselling that it’s not healthy to dwell on it. Learn from the mistakes and don’t make them again!

3. They are always busy doing something useful

Okay so maybe I don’t do this all the time. Surfing the internet doesn’t seem overly useful but then, it is my way of relaxing so perhaps it’s not that bad after all.

4. They don’t wait for change, they create it

Absolutely this is me! I have never been afraid of change, and actually thrive on it. When creating my changes, it makes me happy and even more positive.

5. Positive people learn to let go

This is the hardest one for me. I have learned to let a lot go, but there are still twangs of guilt that come up every now and then that bring me down, sometimes for days. But eventually I do let it go and I realize that other people’s opinions are just that – their opinions. It should not reflect on me. I am still learning this one.

6. They don’t wait for happiness, they create it

This is the same as change – you just need to do what makes you happy. Happiness won’t come to you, you need to make your happiness.

7. Positive people live in the present moment

Definitely do this all the time!! No sense living in the past, it’s done and can’t be fixed. The future is not here yet. Today is. Live for today.

8. They search for solutions

Again, I try to do this as much as I can. As long as I am trying to find that solution, I will be positive because I’m working on it. I am not sitting back and saying oh well it is what it is.

9. Positive people never consider themselves as victims of circumstances

I used to consider myself a victim. Sometimes the best thing to do is talk to someone – a friend, a therapist – it’s not a bad thing to do. And it will make things clearer for you. Taking charge of your life is the best way to become more positive.

10. Positive people take responsibility for their actions and for their life

Don’t play the blame game. It is your life. Take responsibility. Own it. Make it your life. Not someone else’s. Don’t imitate others, thinking that oh well they are happy so I should do that too. If it’s not something YOU really want, then it won’t ever make you happy.

So these are the things that I do, sometimes not every day. I have had a few days lately that I have not been my positive self, but I woke up this morning and thought – what is wrong with me? NOTHING! Nothing is wrong with me. I am allowed to have a bad day every now and then. It’s part of life. Nothing is perfect, but that doesn’t mean I stop being the positive person I am.

I wish you all a very happy and POSITIVE day!

Adventures and long drives!

Today was a good day that started with breakfast with a good friend, and some shopping with her.  It was a lovely way to start the day.

I arrived home to have my parents ask me if I wanted to go to Fort Erie this afternoon for some more shopping and an early dinner. They suggested one of my favourite restaurants to go to, so I said SURE! 

As is usual these days, I got behind the wheel.  My parents got themselves situated and off we went. As we were driving, some regular chatter went on about what we were driving by, I had some back seat driving directed at me (which I politely ignored), and overall a nice drive to the stores we were heading to. 

My mum and I went into the store while my dad stayed in the car.  We went to a few stores, purchased some things (clothing and baking stuff were on my agenda today), and came back to the car.  We got in, headed to the restaurant and enjoyed a lovely dinner of fish and chips.  So far so good!  As I was getting my dad’s walker in the car, I had an inspiration to take them for a drive by the old campground that we camped at for many years.  After a quick discussion, it was decided that yes we would do that.

After about 20 minutes, we came to the road where the campground was. I was immediately asked where I was going. I replied, again politely, that this was the road we camped on.  We drove past it, to see that it was not the same as when we camped.  In fact, it does not resemble the campground at all. Rather disappointing but we had many fond memories there and we regaled them.

I decided I would continue on with the drive – I love driving so any excuse to drive is a good one for me!  We drove along the lake, they told me stories of different places we were passing, and as the time was passing, I realized I had travelled much further than I had planned, and in an area I really wasn’t familiar with.  So my thought was to start heading back towards our town, without really saying anything about not knowing where I was.  But – a ha!! – my father caught on and asked me if I knew where I was.  Good heartedly, I laughed and said of course!

He did not fall for it, and I could see him looking out the window being a bit confused.  He commented that he had no idea where we were and if I knew where I was going. My mother caught my look, and started laughing – with me? At me?  I like to think she was laughing with me – again good heartedly I said sure I do. I am not driving into the lake so I know I’m going in the right direction!   Laughter filled the car.

I got a bit concerned as I continued on, as I honestly had no idea where I was. Not a clue.  There was a sign at one corner and I didn’t recognize the name at all. Except that I had managed to drive into another county – which was not close to home.  So, in my mind, I told myself  – self, turn right at the next big road and hope for the best. So I did.  Another comment was made, asking me what the name of the road was that we were on, I waited for a highway sign, and said the highway number.  Well, Dad wanted to know more about the road, and I said I don’t know but I am pretty sure I’m going in the right direction. My mum looked over and smirked – I swear she was laughing with me but I was beginning to think she was laughing at me.  Ah well, it was okay. I continued driving for what seemed a longer time than it took to get to where we we had been – and then I saw it. A corner I recognized!  I triumphantly said see I knew where I was going all the time!  But they were on to my game – and both laughed.  And I knew then that they were both laughing at me. 

Sometimes you just need to take a guess, pick a road and GO!  You never know where it will take you. Sometimes it will take you exactly where you want to be!

The demise of downtowns

I grew up in the small city of Welland Ontario, a city situated between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. When I was growing up, it was a steel town – our main business was Atlas Steel, but there were other industrial companies located here. Our downtown was booming with business – lots of little mom and pop shops, bakeries, shoe stores, and a movie theatre where I saw many movies, including one of my favourites – Grease. I can still narrate this movie word for word…. but I digress.

Welland was a wonderful place to grow up. It was big enough to have fast food places and fun places to go shopping, lots of green space and beautiful parks to play in. Best friends were made at the local schools, and I am lucky that some of those friends are still friends to this day.

But then the industrial companies started to move out and our beautiful downtown changed with it. A big shopping mall opened in the late 70s in the north end, and that also affected our downtown. Many stores closed down because of the mall. And then Walmart moved in. Change is good, I believe that, but sometimes this kind of change is not always good.

Downtown Welland, like so many other downtowns in Canada (and I am sure in other countries as well), has become a destination for homeless, for addicts, and there is an increasing amount of crime happening in our downtown area.

I was witness to a sad event today on my way home from a nice day out. I arrived at our downtown bus terminal (never a place where good things happen…) and I was witness to a woman, who I believe looked close to my age, completely strung out. The police had to be called and, as she was in possession of drugs, she was handcuffed and taken away – presumably first to the hospital since she couldn’t stand up on her own. This saddened me to see, in my hometown, the place where I grew up and have such wonderful memories.

What happens to people that they turn to a life of drugs? I have no idea, but at one point in this woman’s life, she was a child, presumably had some good memories from her childhood, and perhaps she even had a career at one point. I don’t believe that people are born this way – something happens that makes them believe this is the best they can do. I wish I could help them all, but that is just too big of a job for one person.

I hope one day to help in some way to make my downtown a better place to be, to thrive in, and for newcomers to feel welcome and safe. For now, I will keep thinking positive and hope that this does not stay the norm and that it is only a phase our city is going through. My optimism is strong, and one day, it will be the place I remember.

As we age…

Have you ever thought about aging? I mean, really thought about it? What are you going to do when you reach the age of retirement? What about your health? Are you concerned about what is happening with your body as you get older? Are there more aches and pains then you thought you’d have, even if you are in shape?

I think about all of this more and more. I wake up almost every morning with a new ache or pain. I know I need to exercise more but I seem to have no motivation at all in my head to get out there and move. A simple daily walk would be good for me but I cannot seem to make myself get out there and do that. And I have no excuse – I am off every morning (I work 2 pm to 10 pm 5 days a week – so I COULD be out walking every single morning!). I try to convince myself of reasons not to be out but they are all lame excuses. No one to blame for this but myself!

I have come to the conclusion the only way for me to beat this no motivation thing is to schedule my walks in my phone and when the alarm goes off – I need to get out and walk. Problem is there is always a snooze button to press haha!

As for retirement – well that’s a tricky one. I will probably end up in the category of working till I die. The thing is I want to work at something I love doing until I die – and there are three things I love. Teaching, baking and writing. I have in my mind many ideas of what I can accomplish with these things, but again the motivation is needed to actually set my mind into doing something about it!

So how does one get motivated to succeed at what they know they can succeed at ? That is the big question looming in my mind. I will figure it out and I will overcome this! Stay tuned to see if it works out…