Monday, March 31, 2014

A Suit by Any Other Name

They say to "dress for success", and "you can tell a man by the cut of his suit." We know from experience that we are more than what meets the eye. This particular woman, was an eyeful.

Looking fresh from an important business meeting, she marched through the door in her tailored, grey suit; her pointed heels tapping on the floor, she walked with purpose. She was a go getter. Apparently, this was a very important phone call she was taking because she ignored everyone around her.

Abruptly, she changed direction and came through the checkout lines. Still on the phone, she couldn't be bothered with asking a simple question, so she did what every "important" white woman does when she needs someone's attention: she started snapping her fingers.

That's right snapped her fingers.

My coworker and I turned to see who was beckoning to us like misbehaving house-pets and saw the most unexpected performance. She snapped her fingers, pointed directly to her crotch, and wiggled her hips.

Just to be sure you caught the full scene, let me recap it for you: tailored suit, snapping fingers, pointing at crotch, wiggling hips.

I was not about to say a word to her. My coworker looked at her in surprise, but asked "Are you looking for the restroom? It's in the back of the store."

The woman nodded without saying a word, spun around and tick-tocked off in powerful strides as though nothing out of the ordinary had taken place.

Just one more time for good measure: tailored suit, snapping fingers, crotch point, hip-wiggle.

You are welcome.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Power Play

She wasn't one to simply meander through life. She radiated power, leadership and purpose from her pointed pumps all the way to the top of her tailored business suit. She didn't even casually walk in the store in an unhurried manner like most of our customers. She charged through the automated doors as though she were entering the bridge of her own, personal starship.

In a matter of minutes, she was already at my register with her purchase. "Young man, I will apply the coupon on this item."

"That's fine, can I see the coupon?"

"I don't have one."

"I'm sorry, I actually need a coupon to apply it."

"You don't have any on you?"

"No Ma'am, we don't stock coupons here."

"Well, where can I get one? I want my discount!" Her voice was firm, as though she had just given me an order.

"You can pull one up from the company on your phone—"

"My phone isn't working right now. Let me use yours."

"Um...I am sorry, I don't have my phone on me."

"Of course you do! Everyone has a phone on them now-a-days!"

"It's against company rules for me to have it on the sale floor."

"Well who has a coupon I can use?" She said loudly, turning to face the other shoppers. Nobody said anything.

"Seriously. Who has one? SOMEBODY has one. I am not leaving this line until somebody gives me a coupon. I want my discount." Suddenly the others in the line had very important things to look at other than her.

"Ma'am?" I was loosing my patience. "Do you want to make this purchase or not? I can't hold up the line."

"Yes I want this! But I want my discount too. I am not moving until I get that coupon. SOMEBODY NEEDS TO SHARE THEIR COUPON!"

Thus the Stand Off at Register 2 began. Frigidly, I stared at her; Indignity, she did her best CEO stance and stared back at me. I am happy to report that after only 3 minutes of this, she left the store with her purchase, having paid the full price. It seems time is money and I was getting too expensive.

Monday, March 17, 2014

You Ain't My Momma!

She was really chatty, and friendly—the way that makes you put up your guard and think "This middle-aged woman lives alone with lots and lots of cats." We both smiled and chatted as I rang up the few, large items that she had placed on my counter.

"Your total is $24.95 Ma'am"

"Oh honey I have more than that. It's down here in my shopping cart. Unless of course, you just want me to have it for free?"

"Yeah, I probably can't help you there," I said smiling "but nice try."

"Oh Honey, Sweety, can do it... We won't tell anyone" as she spoke she moved closer and closer to me. I had a wall to my back; I wasn't going anywhere. "You can help me out right baby?" She reached out—AND CUPPED MY FACE IN HER HANDS!

I kid you not, she nearly ate my fist.

I pulled my head away."I think I would prefer to keep my job."
I was borderline hostel at that point. Nobody has cupped my face in their hands since I was a boy, and I didn't even like my Momma doing it! Is personal space dead to some people?

"Well, then if you really think so," she said smiling, completely obliviously to my discomfort."Do you have children?" Not are you married? Or seeing someone? Or, do you like older women?


"Aaaah, well then..." She sounded disappointed. She paid for her purchase, took her things and wished me a good day. Well—as a matter of fact it had been a good one. Let's just pretend this never happened shall we?

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Weakest Link

"Oh wait, I think I hit the wrong button." She mashed the stylus against the card reader touch-pad. "There...wait that ain't right. Let me just clear it out." Immediately, she hammered an imaginary nail through the screen with her jabs. Forceful lady.

"Wait, why is this screen here? I don't want to sign for this, I want to run it as a debit."

"I'm sorry Ma'am, you have opted to run it as a credit card, I can't change it at this point." My coworker told her.

"Yes you can, you can change it. I know, I work in retail too." She pointed to her polo shirt with a major grocery logo on it. "You can change it."

"I'm sorry Ma'am I can't. The transaction has already been run as a credit in our system. If you want, we can do a return and then you can repurchase as a debit..."

"No! That will take up to ten days for me to get my money back! You don't know what you are doing, I want to speak to a manager!"

The assistant manager listened to the complaint, looked at the screen showing a credit transaction for $10, and informed the lady the credit had already been processed. Would she like to do a return?

"Your machine is broken! I should be able to cancel this!"

"No Ma'am, it isn't broken, it's just that in our system—"

"This is unbelievable. There are some dumb-@$$'s working in this state!"

In my mind, a British voice suddenly spoke from the card reader announcing "You ARE the weakest link! Goodbye." Then it spontaneously combusted in front of the indignant woman. My day was suddenly better. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

A Shopping Emergency

"Thank you for calling," my coworker answered the phone, "How can I help you?"

"Yes honey, I am looking for a particular item in your store, I just need to see if you carry it and see how many you have."

"Okay Ma'am, what is this item?"

"It's a—oh, hold on a second will ya? 9-1-1 what's your emergency? Uh-huh..."

Because, you know, it's totally acceptable to call a place of business and put them on hold while you sort through your own work of saving people's lives.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Aromatic Behavior

Carefully, she placed one item on the counter. I rang it up, and she checked the price. Then she placed a second item on the counter, and watched as I rang it up. Apparently, she wasn't in a hurry, I thought as I glanced at her full shopping cart. Either this woman was very VERY concerned with her balance, or she felt the need to move at a snail's pace.

"Will you need a hand getting some of these larger items into your car?" I asked her.

"Oh. Ummm...well...that might actually be nice." She slowly replied.

Of course, I suddenly realized I didn't have a stockman available to assist her, so I lugged her items out to her shiny SUV myself. I am glad I did. When she opened the back door I discovered why she was three steps behind the world.

As the door opened the unmistakeable smell of pungent weed came rolling out of her vehicle. That was a freshly smoked party right there. I half expected to see Willie Nelson curled up in her trunk. As she left, I wondered how long it would take for her to drive home at a crawl. "Why no officer! I am just enjoying this beautiful weather! It's the perfect day to be out driving...and buying...stuff..."