Post Title: Legally Blind Cashier: L.I.F.E. Buoy


Sometimes, Retinitis Pigmentosa, my eye condition makes me think of a train. It keeps on going in starts and stops. So, I rest for a bit, stop, take a look out the window, notice the new scenery (I’m talking clarity, here!), take another rest, stop at another destination, and see that the scenery has subtly changed. Sometimes, the scenery is a little more vibrant, but usually it looks a bit more washed out. The intensity  doesn’t stop the train from blowing its whistle, chugging away and leaving for its next destination.

Take my hands, for example. I use them a lot at work so, I often use them as my focal point. Sometimes I can see my individual fingers. But mostly, my hands look as if they are surrounded by a mist.

And, as strange as it sounds, the clarity of my hands gives me an inkling of how my workday travel will flow. How many short stops will I have today? Any extended ones? Will I long for a break to rest my eyes and escape the current view? 

I tell myself, “I travel these tracks every day. I know the general route. But I never know where the stops will be. I say this to prepare for the unscheduled stops—the ones I seem to create.


When I start to make repeated mistakes, or really bad ones and cannot shrug them off,  I declare, “Time for a LIFE stop.” This means, “Remember you are Living in Faith Extraordinaire.”  Breathe in some fresh air, rest your eyes and refocus.

Encouragement sprints through me after my LIFE stops. I feel buoyed. Haha! As if I have just showered with LIFE Buoy soap! I lift up my hands, whether in clarity or blur, and close my eyes. I cry out (silently, of course), “Thank you, God, for this LIFE stop. I know I am REFRESHED. Besides that, I smell clean. I FEEL clean. Yes, FRESH.”


I am ready to get back on the train and move forward.

Just in time for my next customer.

My smile slips into place. My teeth gleam—at least I hope they do.

“How’s it goin’ Amy?”

He knows my name! This senior customer has become a friend. Yes! I have no idea who he is. But I can tell he really knows me—not from reading my name tag.

Joy surged through me.

“Hey, yeah, it’s going well. What about you?” I forgot all about the previous mistakes. While my view might not be clear, my duties were once again clear.

“Do you have bags, or do you need some? Do you have your perks card? Look it up? Sure, I can! Ok. Ready. What’s your phone number?”

The train moved forward again. The wheels rolled smoothly along to a new destination.

Control returned. I joked. Listened. Offered a few words of encouragement. Handled his groceries deftly. Gently placed his bags in the cart. Throught the transaction, I could feel the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

Happiness flooded me.

Life is good again.


Fast forward to this morning.

Our grocery chain has this wonderful new red t-shirt that promotes out loyalty perks (discounts).   On the back, it reads What’s your+ my Perksonality? in a white, explosive comic strip-like background.

It always makes me smile. In my head, I hear a tune from a long-ago hair coloring commercial “…per-son-al-i-ty!…” So when I wear this shirt, I feel like I have a fun-loving personality. Plus, I love word play.

As I reached up to my jacket into my locker, I made a face. What was that awful smell? I started lifting one shoulder, sniffing, lifting the other shoulder. Ooof! The smell was there pn my sleeve! What’s that from?  I tried to remember where that scent had accosted me before. Finally, it came to me.

It was when one of the cats had peed on an old cloth puprse and I suddently decided to use it.

Oh no! That meant …. Yes, oh yes. Today, my fun-loving personality had turned into a PEE-Perks-onality!

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Just before I punched in at the time clock, I whispered to the coordinator, “I think I have cat pee on my sleeve.  o we have an extra t-shirt?”

She seemed to understand my dilemma purr-fectly and didn’t ask a single question. Maybe she had a nose for noxious odors. She didn’t second guess my assumption.

“I’ll check,” she whispered back.

Oh, this train today! I already needed a LIFE stop and I had not even signed into my register yet!

On a side note, this horrid habit of at least one cat peeing on any soft material on the floor–including my bath ma–started when I was tending to my brother and not at the home very much. I had learned (so I thought) not to let my clothing fall onto the floor. I had thought this headache was mostly over. But every now and again, I’m caught off guard.

So, yes, my Perksonality tee was now sullied by pee!  I couldn’t blame that on what I could or couldn’t see. Or what I could hear or not hear. But as a cashier … my fear …  I would have a damp, mal-odorous PERK-sonality myself—and worse yet, I might have to wear my feelings on my SLEEVE.

Luckily for me, I received a new Perk-sonality in short order.

Faded image of a pond with fog and small trees with text that reads: ” But the Father will send the Holy Spirit to be with you. He will be your Helper. | Counselor. Advocate| The Holy Spirit will be with you forever.” John 14:16


As soon as I started working, both customers and colleagues commented, “Did you get a haircut?”

The first one to ask me was a co-worker. I replied that I had done nothing different except ‘wash my hair.’ As I said the words, I realized that made it sound like I never did so! This needed further explanation. “But I didn’t have time to blow dry it.” That seemed to satisfy her.

After some customers also noticed it, I began to feel like a kewpie doll or even Bettie Boop. They focused on ‘that cute curl’ in the middle of my forehead..  I became THE GIRL WITH A CURL.


The new way rotisserie chicken is packaged is not often a hurdle for me to bag. Since it’s hot and can be greasy, I place it in a smaller plastic bag and then in its own paper bag.

But something happened with one particular chicken I scanned. I don’t know if it slipped out of my fingers or what exactly happened. But I heard it scan again. As usual, I took the extra charge off. A simple void. Over and done with.

My customer said, “It looks like there are a bunch of rotisserie chickens there.”

I apologized and explained how it must have double scanned and pointed out where I took it off.

Equally insistent, he said, “No, there’s a bunch.”

I reiterated the measure I had taken to delete the extra cost.  I could see he was unconvinced. They never believe me.

“Would you like me to call the coordinator to come?”

“Yes, I would.”

Fuming inside, I paged the coordinator.

When she came, I stated confidently, “Can you please explain to this gentleman where I took off his extra rotisserie chicken?”  A BOLD statement on my part.

The coordinator found the void and scrolled down the screen. She bit her lip.

Always kind, she gently said, “Amy, there are like eight more rotisserie chickens on there.”

A doubletake on my end. “Huh? Really?”

“It’s okay. It happens.”

            I felt like a class-A chump after charging him for all those extra chickens!

She them voided them off, one after another.

I no longer worried about my pee perksonality or that silly curl.  I now wondered about my PEA brain.

After my coordinator dashed off, I finished my transaction, apologizing for my error and he left with the one true roasted chickn in tow.

 Shortly after the “chicken check,” I noticed someone had pleaced my Be Patient with your Low Vision Cashier sign in its familiar spot at the start of my conveyor belt.

Stop. Breathe. Putting the sign up so quickly doesn’t mean anyone is judging me. They know I can’t see the details on the screen very well. They are helping me communicate with the customers.

Oh Lord, I am trying to Live in Faith Extraordinaire today as I do every day. But it’s so challenging. Holy Spirit, help me!

You can do it. You ARE doing it. Trust me. Trust yourself.  

But God, I made so many big mistakes today. I threw on a foul t-shirt. I didn’t leave time to blow dry my hair. And just now a cheeky chicken did a jig on my scales. It’s not been a good day at all.

And that doesn’t even include the little errors. I recounted what they were and wanted to cry.

Because the Holy Spirit knows the girl with a curl has a sense of humor, he pointed out a funny thought.

Perhaps the FOUL shirt caused the FOWL to retaliate.

I giggled.

Shook my head in amusement.

My curl bounced.

A tiny snort emerged just as a guest pulled up to my belt and set her grocries down.

Once again, I felt buoyed by my LIFE stop.

Time to get back on the train.

You have just read “Legally Blind Cashier: L.I.F.E. Buoy” by Amy L. Bovaird. © April 19, 2024. All rights reserved.