To answer your question, yes, I’ve been gone for a while. No, I won’t be answering any of your questions about that. But I do have a pleasant little holiday story you can tell your kids. Complete with a moral!
In my years of shopping, being the good little consumer American jerk that I am, I had never met a shopkeep who was just downright hateful. But I guess today was my lucky day, because as I walked in, I felt the stare of 180 pounds of hate.
I’ll preface the rest of this story by letting the reader know that I’m very familiar with rude people. My job involves me having to put up with people who just wish I would fuck off. And you know, I’m okay with that. Rudeness is so familiar to me that I’m not even shocked anymore; it’s more of an amusement. Did that person really just say that? Why yes, yes, they did. Lovely! Good day to you, sir!
Okay, back to the story…
The cashier glared at me when I walked into the Dollar General in the dead shopping center at the corner of North Lamar and Airport (yeah, that place sucks). Whatever, I thought. It was Black Friday. People act like asses on Black Friday, lining up outside of the big box stores to purchase junk at sharply discounted prices. And the stores are more than happy to cater to this behavior. I had a friend point out how absurd it was to her, as she compared the tents of people outside of a Best Buy to those of the people in the Occupy movement. It’s considered normal and almost patriotic to camp out for shopping, however, camping out in protest is looked upon as terrorism. Although long ago I had been burned out by the futility of the Occupy movement, I definitely saw her point. So, a shopkeep’s irritability on Black Friday seemed understandable.
I went on my way, holding my canvas grocery bag and listening to my headphones. I could not subject myself to the jazzy Christmas music on the store’s PA. I picked up stuff I needed: kitty litter, peanut butter, paper towels. I also picked up some stuff I did not need: 100 count strand of Christmas lights, stuffing mix, mayonnaise. I put all this in my bag and waited in line.
“Can one of you smile?” the hateful looking cashier said. “You aren’t lining up for your funeral. And it takes more muscles to frown than smile.”
No, we won’t smile, because we are all waiting in line at a Dollar General buying our smattering of shit that we may need for the week. And Dollar General is a long way of saying “hell.” At that point, yes, I was mildly annoyed. Then I remembered that I had wanted some Nutella, so I got out of line and rushed over to get a jar.
When I got back in line, there was no one there. So I emptied my canvas bag on the counter in front of the cheery-hateful cashier. She started ringing my items up and I noticed that she was putting them in a plastic bag.
“Oh no! I’m sorry. I forgot to tell you that I brought my own bag,” I said, embarrassed.
She threw an annoyed look my way, but did not take the baloney and cheese out of the plastic bag, and kept ringing items up, this time placing them in the canvas bag.
“Your phone is going off,” she said.
I looked confused and then saw that my headphones were on the counter and they were blasting Mastodon.
“Oh I’m sorry. That’s not my phone…” I mumbled and quickly turned my iPod off.
“Well, whatever it is, you were going off.”
One more item to scan—the mayonnaise. Only it wasn’t scanning. By this time, a man that the woman was friends with came up and was chatting with her. She kept trying to scan the mayonnaise, but I had cleverly chosen the only jar left that came with a free package of dried vegetable soup. Yeah, veggie dip sounded kind of good, but I always thought one used sour cream to make that and not mayo. Whatever. Free stuff is always good. However, this free package of soup was wrapped in a way where it would not scan when ran over the scanner.
“Heh. Of course I would get the one thing in the store that doesn’t scan,” I joked, nervously. That was my standard joke whenever something did not scan, and usually cashiers would kind of laugh with me.
But this woman just gave me a dirty look. “Of course you would,” she said. “Why you gotta get this one?”
I recoiled a little. “Well, it comes with free soup.”
“Well, it comes with free soup,” she repeated, mocking me.
Shocked, I offered to get another one that would scan.
“Yeah, why don’t you do that.”
I went over to the condiment aisle and spotted a mayonnaise jar the same size and brought it up. It scanned without issue.
“That will be twenty-seven dollars,” she said, not looking at me. “Will that be debit?”
I had already placed my cash on the counter. I knew I had been overcharged. The cranberry sauce rang up twice and the mayonnaise was a dollar and twenty-five cents more expensive than the shelf said. But I was done with this woman.
“No, I’m paying by cash, the best payment method there is.”
She gave me one last dirty look, and then exchanged my cash with a receipt. Then she paid attention to my bag again, making sure everything was in there, and taking special care to place the can of cranberry sauce in a position that would smash part of my loaf of bread.
I grabbed my bag and left. Yeah, maybe I felt like I might have known where her irritation was coming from, but you know what? That bitch works at fucking DOLLAR GENERAL. I can guarantee you that no one went there for Black Friday. The worst thing that happened to her all day is that she went to a torn up Walmart and couldn’t find pants that fit. Rude people; they’re amusing.
“Happy holidays,” I yelled behind me. Because despite my father’s absence in my life, he did have a little wisdom. Always be as sweet as honey to the people who are complete assholes, because it makes them feel shitty.
I replaced my headphones on my head and listened to Mastodon on my way home, on that bleak, overcast Friday evening, annoyed with such rudeness, but thankful that I still had three dollars for the bus until it was time for my vacation.
Moral to the story? Happy holidays. Don’t be a cunt.