An Experience at a Tokyo Supermarket
As reported by a colleague in Japan:
An experience at the supermarket
Yesterday, at the cash register of my local supermarket, I was asked by the cashier if I would purchase only one of the two packs of noodles I had intended to purchase. The unspoken implication was, in that way, someone else could have noodles too. Now, from the point-of-view of the supermarket’s profit, it makes no difference whether those two packs were sold to me as an individual, or sold separately. Yen is yen. But as an example of a society sharing its burden (even in this small way), it spoke volumes. I had my hand gently slapped, and was humbled.
I recall a story I heard on the radio, from I think it was Denmark, where a lady needed a medical procedure and was informed that there would be a two-month wait for the service. She explained this to her son, a Doctor, who offered to pull some strings to get her in sooner, and she shamed him because the right thing to do is follow the rules like everyone else: fairness before favoritism.
This sort of thinking in anathema in much of the world, but it is a way of thinking that I really like. I guess its because as a child I was indoctrinated with Socialist ideology at the water fountain, where we were taught to queue and each take an equal share.