“You’re fine.” – the reassuring response to someone who has just apologized for bumping into you or for getting in your way. Or – in the grocery store line – for entering their frequent shopper number incorrectly, for not noticing if their cucumber was organic or conventional, for forgetting their bags in the car, for running out of money and needing to take a couple items out of their order.
“You’re fine.” I’m not sure it’s a southern expression, but I sure don’t remember it from up north. I love it. Not just “Never mind” or “Forget about it”, but “You’re fine”. It’s a real affirmation. And at a perfect moment: the person is feeling apologetic – they could use some affirmation. Our last post dealt with mistakes we ourselves make – here we deal with the other person’s “mistake”.
We cashiers often have the opportunity to make a difference in our customer’s day – by providing a genuine moment of contact, an acknowledgement of that person’s uniqueness. But there is no more juicy moment than when the customer presents some apology.
We won’t, in one exchange, heal a customer from the tendency to apologize for themselves, but a well-timed “You’re fine” can help.
- for entering their frequent shopper number wrong, maybe “That machine is very confusing”
- for not noticing the cucumber, “It’s our job to get labels on them”
- forgetting their bags in the car, “100 people a day do that”
- for running out of money, “I imagine this is very stressful, but trust me it happens to a lot of people.”
This person has just made themselves very vulnerable. Let’s put all our personal energy into the words we say, the eye contact we offer, and the feelings we put behind the words. Let’s wish for that person’s total healing. It’s maybe a little encounter – but if it can make even a little bit of difference in how much a person apologizes for themselves, how awesome is that?