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An open apology to a Tucson grocery store clerk
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An open apology to a Tucson grocery store clerk

From the May's Tucson-area coronavirus coverage: Cases rise, judge rules that state can keep nursing home data from public series
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Open Apology to the Vegetable Guy at the Grant/Swan Fry’s:

Confusion and maybe even a bit of shock. That’s the look I saw in the eyes of the young man who was unloading a box of limes in the produce department at the Fry’s at Grant and Swan roads. He wasn’t confused or shocked about the limes.

Rather, he was reacting to the way I marched right up to him and demanded in my I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening-to-me voice: “Why are there, like, NO vegetables?”

I was teed off by the lack of broccoli, eggplant, sweet pepper bags, zucchini and a host of other veggies that were missing from the display. So I acted like a jerk to the nearest employee I could find. It happened to be the vegetable guy.

To the vegetable guy: I am sorry. I was wrong to take out my exasperation on you. You didn’t deserve it; nobody does. Thank you, too, for being gracious enough to respond to my question by noting the delivery truck had just come in and you were doing the best you could.

We’re all in that stage right about now, doing the best we can in the midst of a frustrating situation. And that frustration may be going much deeper than a lack of broccoli and eggplant. Those of us who turn cranky on a dime or are otherwise feeling fed-up may not be getting our human needs met.

We’re not talking about the physical needs of food, water and air to breathe.

We’re talking about 10 different needs that help us thrive. They are: acceptance, affection, appreciation, approval, attention, comfort, encouragement, respect, security and support. Many of those needs rely on other people to be fulfilled, making it a challenge when we’re supposed to stay back 6 feet. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Despite the pandemic, we still have ways to reach out online, on the phone or even with that archaic thing called a handwritten letter.

Getting those 10 needs met in your own life can always start by filling those needs for someone else. What goes around tends to come around, especially when it comes to sharing happiness.

Helping others is also a fantastic way to get out of your woe-is-me head and into compassion for your fellows. Just something to think about the next time crankiness starts to bubble to the surface. And something I now plan to practice during every single grocery trip.

Tucsonan Ryn Gargulinski is a writer, artist, Reiki master and dog lover who helps people get their dazzle back. Contact her at

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