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.


  1. yeah, i honestly don't know what they expect you to do. being a grocery clerk is not supposed to involve so much empathy and intuition as, say, a doctor or a psychiatrist. it's not the kind of service. i believe you went beyond your duty by asking the guy twice. he had "some great attitude," and he exhibited "fucking laziness" by not even being able to answer your clearly closed question. all that 'pick your battles' crap that your conscience pressures you with is pretty damn easy to toss out the window when you are abused in this manner, compounded with having the abuse projected on to you.

    please tell me that this is the sort of fellow who likely went home to his empty apartment and masturbated between consuming his Thanksgiving hotpocket and mountain dew and taking a massive diarrhea for having consumed said miserable goods.

  2. I am drinking Old Style and it's after midnight. All intelligent thought is long lost.

    Just want to say, rock on dude! Especially in the burbs, there's a lot of nut kicking that needs to be done in jobs like yours.

    Keep fighting the good fight.


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