Monday, January 26, 2009

Putting the economic downturn in perspective

As I got to the front of the check out line at the grocery store, the lady behind the cash register greeted me.

After she rang up my two items, she asked, "Do you have your [discount] card?" I searched through my billfold to no avail.

"Is it going to affect the price," I asked.

"Probably," she answered.

I kept digging in my purse, then looked up to see what the potential savings might be. It was then that I noticed my total bill was $7.55 for the two, small items I had purchased.

"Oh no, I'm not paying that!" I exclaimed. I had only picked up those two items because they were supposedly on sale. I was about to walk out and leave the items in the store.

"I can look up your phone number," she offered. I took her up on the idea and it worked! My bill went down to $3.18.

"That's nearly five dollars! I can do a lot with five dollars," I chatted with her.

"Believe me, I know," she chatted back. "Five dollars is a lot. In my country, five dollars will feed someone for a week."

Whoa.

"Where are you from," I asked.

"Ghana."

I didn't know what else to say. Her thoughts and comment put things in a completely different perspective. Though I'm aware of the realities of third world countries, when she told me that, it stopped me in my tracks.

As our "economic downturn" continues to get worse, I hope we recognize how many others (here and thousands of miles away) are struggling in ways we can't imagine...and I hope we realize that their struggle should be ours as well.
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