Friday, November 28, 2008

Holiday Spirit

Yesterday I was thankful that I actually cursed-out a customer. It has been a dream of mine since high school, and it was finally realized in a nearly justified manner.

I worked as a cashier yesterday, instead of at the Service Desk, because no other cashiers wanted to work on a major US holiday that a grocery store has no business being open on anyway. About half-way through the day, I began scanning one guy's groceries and asked him, as I am required to do of every customer, if he had a Piggly Wiggly Preferred Club Card. He responded, "Not with me."

This is a typical response, to which I usually and did reply, "Would you like me to look it up for you?" (We have a subprogram on our registers that allow us to look up customers' Preferred Card information if they forget to bring it with them.)

He said, "If you want to."

This is an atypical response; "Yes" or "No" (or something similar) is what I usually get. It is never left up to me to decide such things. Why would it be? It's not my food; it's not my money. So, I replied in my usual deadpan snarkiness, "Well, I don't want to, but I will if you want me to." I expected a chuckle or smile and a real answer to my question. I received none of these these.

At the end of his order I asked again, "So, do you want me to look up your card for you?"

"Don't put yourself out," he said with a roll of his eyes.

Okay, I thought, so, we're being pricks about this.

"Look," I said, "I've already asked you twice if you want me to look it up for you. So, do you?" Sometimes it's hard for me to understand why these little things are such a big deal to people.

"And I said, 'If you want to.'"

"And then I said that I didn't want to but I would if you said so," I said with an implied "So what?" at the end.

"Well, that's some great attitude."

"Sorry for being honest." I waited, hoping he would just say "Yes, fine, just look it up already!" and we could finish the transaction. We looked at each other. He wasn't budging. Seconds swam by. I finally called it. "Okay, so that's a 'No.'" I told him his total.

As he swiped his credit card, "You're the worst one here," he said in regards to the renown the store has for hiring cranky help.

By this point I was done. "Okay," I said, knowing this to, in fact, be false, but not wanting to encourage him. He had all the courage he needed.

"I'm going to call your manager tomorrow."

I nodded and raised my eyebrows, as if to say, "Neat, I love threats." If you've got nothing better to do on your holiday weekend than tattle on the mean kid at the checkout counter, then, bud, you've got to find a hobby.

He continued, "That's just fucking laziness is what it is."

My finger hovered over the last button on the register for a second before pressing it. Did he just call me "fucking lazy?" Should I curse him back? The receipt printer hummed under my hand. No, I know you really want to, but just let him have his last word. I tugged the receipt loose from the printer and turned to the angry man. But he said "fuck." Why can't I say "fuck," too? His eyes glared at me, dared me, taunted me. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. "Well..." I said. Part of me sighed and hung it's head at another part that was beaming like an overjoyed child. You've already started; you might as well finish. I handed him his receipt. "... fuck you, too."

He walked away muttering more curses under his breath. Are you happy?

Yes. Yes, I am.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Coming Out

So, some of you have known this for some time now, and the rest of you may have already guessed. But I think it's time I finally came out of the closet. I can't hide the truth anymore: I have a beard.

I know some of you may disapprove of my beard; you may find my "alternative lifestyle choice" to be "unnatural" or "against God's plan." But why would God make hair grow on our faces if he did not want us to have beards? Others of you may think that my beard goes against traditional American values. However, just look to the past for numerous examples of great Americans who wore beards and wore them with pride.

I know some of you may be afraid of me now, but you have nothing to be frightened of. I don't want to "corrupt" your children and convince them to grow beards. I don't want to push some bearded agenda on you. I am not a pervert or a freak. I am a person -- the same person I have always been -- just with facial.

I want the same rights and privileges you enjoy: freedom from harassment, equal opportunity for employment, and the right to marry whomever I choose. I know this last one may be a offensive to some. Some people believe that this would destroy the traditional definition of marriage -- that it is a contract between a clean-shaven man and a clean-shaven woman. To you I say, Perhaps it is time to change this tradition (if it indeed exists at all) and progress into the future, when everyone will be free to love anyone he or she chooses, regardless of facial hair.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Something New Under the Sun

I thought I'd seen every mullet there was to see, but, thanks to the National Geographic Channel, I've now seen a Sumatran Mullet -- a dark, curly, business-in-front-party-in-back hairdo gracing the head of a farmer on the island of Sumatra.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Army Recruitment Video

Why is it that Army recruitment commercials only depict black, urban families or white, rural families? There's never a white, suburban kid trying to convince his parents to let him go into the Army, which you'd think would be the largest untapped market.

I think such a video could go something like this:

Middle-class, white family standing in the driveway.

KID: Thanks, Mom and Dad! This Scion xB is the perfect graduation present. But you know what I really want? To join the Army!

FATHER: I don't know, son. Your mother and I were all ready to pay for your college education in full; we just don't know about you earning money for college for yourself.

MOTHER: Well now, Father, let's just listen to our son for a minute. After all, the Johnsons next door let their son join the Army. Maybe we ought to think about this.

KID: Yeah, Dad. Plus, I've done a lot of research and found that I might get woefully inadequate compensation and horrible health care benefits, and I'll get to be a pawn for large corporate interests ... just like you!

MOTHER: He might even learn such things as Respect and Honor; things us parents or teevee can't possibly teach a child.

KID: Well, that is, if I don't die first.

They all laugh.

FATHER: Well, OK. I'm convinced.

VOICE OVER: If your son or daughter asks about the Army, listen.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Don't Take the Rice So Literally

This story comes straight from the What The Fuck files: A man came into the store yesterday and approached the service counter. He had the shifting eyes and huffiness of a person that cannot believe they must suffer the great indignity of making a formal complaint. I waited with annoyed anticipation to discover what inexcusable tragedy had no doubt befallen this poor soul. "What can I do for you?"

He set a box of instant rice on the counter and flicked a receipt at me. "I want a refund for this."

I grabbed a pen and began to fill the Returned Merchandise form.

Date: 11/2/08
Item: Minute Rice
Reason for Return:

"And what's the reason you want to return this?" I asked with faux interest.

"It doesn't cook in a minute." I stopped writing and hoped, just hoped, that he was joking. I looked up and saw on his face that he was not joking in the slightest. I sighed the deepest sigh and trudged forth through the mire of mind-numbing ignorance.

The story ends with him walking away in a huff, leaving his half-used box of Minute Rice behind because it was "worthless." I can't help but wonder how many cups of rice he could have cooked in the time it took him to drive to the store, make an utter ass out of himself, refuse to file a complaint with the manufacturer, waste my time, and then drive back home.

Circa Now