Lessons from the Produce Section
Most students have an identity, an interest, or a talent that defines them in an essential way. Tell us about yourself.
Monsoon season began the day after I arrived at Jeongok, a small town where the rushed lifestyle found in most Korean cities was in abundance. My grandmother, who owned a grocery store in the town, asked me to take over during a particularly rainy morning. Mrs. Baek, a long-time customer, was the first to arrive at the store, and she had difficulties stuffing her umbrella into her handbag. I opened the door for her and invited her in with a welcoming gesture. Expecting her to give a warm smile and return the greeting, I was instead met with a confused face as she cautiously slid past. Every customer I opened the doors for maintained the same uneasy gratefulness as Mrs. Baek that day, as if meaning to ask, “You’re doing this for me? Why?”
People I knew back home appreciated extra efforts to show friendliness, unlike the suspicion or indifference these customers had shown. But I began to learn later on that what I had done was appreciated, albeit unheard-of in Korean society. My efforts at extending a hand of kindness helped me recognize a key value of my own, and helped me—at least within the store—begin to break a tradition of social silence.
Taking a walk around the main street after that morning, I discovered that this rushed...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 1026 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 7911 literature essays, 2225 sample college application essays, 341 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in