Overhearing a Conversation by Mother Hen

Introducing Mother Hen

“How are you, Sweetheart?” clucked my clerk, Mother Hen, to a young woman in the next grocery lane.

Sweet Young Thing and M. H. had a long and loud chat across two grocery lanes as they got “caught up” with each other. I wondered why S. Y. T. didn’t choose M. H.’s lane to check out.

When I chose Mother Hen’s checkout line, I had unknowingly walked into the middle of their conversation. As M. H. interrogated and advised S. Y. T., she finished checking out the woman ahead of me.

And Then… a Non-conversation with the Back-of-My-Head-Man

I waited as the conversation continued in front of me, then a voice came from behind me. “I’ll get in line behind this lady here.”

The man who got into line after me began to have a conversation with the back of my head! Apparently looking at the tabloids, he then said, “We’re all weird, so what’s up with that?” (I didn’t turn to talk to the Back-of-My-Head-Man. I felt in this situation I needed to be cautious about a stranger trying to talk to me when I would be walking home alone with my groceries.)

How Not to Talk to Someone

I had no connection with either conversation. These were classic examples of how not to talk with someone!

Usually, I try to engage a clerk in a little bit of conversation. I rarely ignore clerks any more when shopping. If I’m chatting with my family while checking out, it’s almost impossible to find a way to leave a tract with the clerk. When M.H. scanned my purchases, it was as if I did not exist. Just my bottled water and yogurt were all she was aware of me. At that moment, I realized how clerks must feel if I we ignore them when shopping. Just a little friendly conversation from us may be all the attention they get from their customers that day and may be a great door opener for the Gospel.


  • This post was originally published in March 2006.
  • The hen with chicks photo was awarded a quality and a valued award on Wikimedia Commons.

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