Good Ears

Some who read this may be aware that I maintain a few other web pages/blogs devoted to other topics which I have linked here on occasion.  I have my daughter’s Words of Wisdom, my alter ego’s Rusty Letters, and a few other general and genealogy pages which are sometimes quite outdated and in need of attention. But I seldom, if ever, have the opportunity for a cross over link between No Coincidences and Get Paid! — another page I maintain dedicated to sharing ways to earn a few extra dollars online and/or using a smartphone.  (You may have seen the business card graphic that appears at the bottom of these blog pages that links to that site).

Apps That Pay is one page on that site devoted solely to smartphone apps which earn money.  One of the apps you will find there is called Gap n Snap.  You can read more about it on the Apps That Pay page if it interests you, but the nutshell explanation is that you can earn extra cash by documenting empty “gaps” on the store shelves at the local supermarket or pharmacy.  This helps product suppliers know whether their products are being kept in stock on shelves for customer purchases.

Although there is nothing illegal about taking photos for Gap n Snap, many stores frown on customers going up and down the aisles snapping photos in the store.  Some even have policies in place prohibiting in store photos and may ask a customer to stop or to leave the premises if discovered. For this reason, I try to remain discreet and avoid snapping gaps when other customers or employees are right next to me at the store.

Last night I went to a nearby WalMart store where the pharmacy is tucked away in the corner with aisles of vitamins and health/beauty products that are pretty well isolated from primary store traffic.  I often wear my ear buds and listen to music or a podcast while gap snapping as that helps me to blend in as I peruse the aisles.  It also helps to pass the time.  But last night I decided not to wear my ear buds — for whatever reason — I don’t know.

In the pharmacy area, I found quite a few snapping opportunities and was moving along at a pretty good pace, until a woman on her cell phone appeared asking someone on the other end of the line “Do you know where ‘it’ is at? I can’t find it anywhere.”  She was searching right in the area of the aisle I was trying to snap.  She walked away and came back past me at least five times!  Trying to remain covert, I kept thinking to myself: “They don’t have what you’re looking for! You might as well leave!”  — which she eventually did and I continued on with my task.

Two minutes later she came back with a store employee who was trying to help her find the missing item – again, RIGHT where I was trying to snap undetected!  I didn’t want to move away and mentally lose my ‘place’ as there were a lot of empty shelf spaces in that vicinity, but it was obvious that they were looking for a product that should be in that general area.  The employee told the woman that she knew it had been there, but it may have been moved because they have that sort of thing in a few different locations in the store.

Completely oblivious to what they were looking for, I was beginning to think that it was time for me to move on to another aisle, when they finally moved around the corner — out of sight, but still within earshot.  I  immediately got back to work and began scanning the shelf for empty spots.  Since I had chosen not to wear my ear buds, I was able to plainly hear the store employee get on her radio and ask another associate if he or she knew where the sweet oil ear drops were stocked.  At the EXACT moment she uttered that request, I found myself STARING DIRECTLY at sweet oil ear drops RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME at the very end of the aisle I was snapping.  Surely this was not mere coincidence! 😉

I grabbed a bottle of the sweet oil off the shelf and walked around the corner.  I apologized for eavesdropping, but asked if that was what the woman was looking for and added that I could not help overhearing and that they were right in front of me when I heard the associate ask about the sweet oil drops.  The shopper’s eyes opened wide and she thanked me about a dozen times and said that her granddaughter would be so thankful also.  For a minute, I thought she was going to give me a hug!  She and the employee then cleared out of the area and I was free to continue snapping away at a lightning pace!

Was it a coincidence that I decided to snap in that store at that hour of the evening?  Was it a coincidence that I chose to go to the pharmacy rather than the grocery aisles to begin snapping?  Was it a coincidence that I lingered in that particular aisle even after considering moving on?  Was it a coincidence that I wasn’t listening to music or talk radio as was my normal routine and could clearly hear the conversation in the next aisle?  Was it a coincidence that I was staring at the product which had previously evaded this worried grandmother at the exact moment the store clerk vocalized the need?  Reading this blog, you already know the answers to all of those questions.

One might argue that the woman would have eventually found the sweet oil drops had I not been there.  My response would be that is most likely true.  But she was clearly preoccupied and worried about her grandchild who must have been having a pretty bad earache. Neither she nor the store associate were able to find the drops in the five or ten minutes that they were wandering about.  Sometimes the harder you look for something or the more urgently you need something, the less likely you are to find it.  Yes, she probably would have eventually found it had I not been there, but the point is that God allowed me to find it for her more quickly.  If that helped to ease the pain of a little girl by just a few minutes sooner then I thank God for allowing me to help.

Praise God!!!

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