This morning, a man walked up to the counter and asked for the price of our cheapest pack of cigarettes.
“The Fortunas,” I told him, indicating our handy easy to read price chart posted for the customers’ convenience, “are the cheapest we have. They’re $5.50 plus tax.”
“You’re [excrement-synonym]-ing me!” he shouted, going from passive to postal with impressive speed. Clearly a kustomer without mental middle gears. “You have got to be [copulating-synonym]-[excrement-synomyn]-ing me!”
“No sir,” I wiped a fleck of spittle (not mine) away. “Wisconsin puts a really heavy tax on tobacco these days.”
“I can’t afford that!” he told me.
I waited politely. I’m not sure what he expected me to do. Offering freebies is not in the employee handbook, y’know? Nor was I particularly enchanted with him. Rabid foaming and obscenities are really not sympathy triggers in my world.
“How much are Marlboros?” he demanded.
I told him.
I told him.
I told him.
“You don’t have anything cheaper?”
“I don’t have anything cheaper.”
“You can’t help me out?”
“I can’t help you out.” Usually I’ll add a personal apology to a statement like this. For some reason, I didn’t feel inclined to in this case. Maybe it was the spittle. I don’t like spittle.
“You’re serious? You’re [copulating-synonym] serious?”
“Yes, I am.”
He glared at me for an uncomfortably protracted period and finally said, “Give me a pack of Mavericks then. Full flavor, one hundreds.”
Luckily, I had those in stock, so I put them on the counter and rang up the sale.
He paid me with a fifty dollar bill.
So, a girl (late teens/early twenties) puts four candy bars, a bottle of juice and a bag of chips on the counter. I ring up the bottle of juice and the chips first and only then does she stop me.
“Wait,” she says, and pushes forward a single candy bar, neatly cut from the herd. “Ring this up first. By itself.”
“I already started on the other things,” I say. “Do you want to pay for them first and then we can do that one as a separate transaction?”
“No,” she says. “I told you to ring this up first.”
With a mental shrug, I void the transaction, wait until the cash register spits out the receipt of rejection, and start over, ringing up the single candy bar as directed. She pays me with a twenty dollar bill from her right front pocket. I give her the change. She puts it in her right front pocket.
“Now the rest.” She taps her fingers impatiently on the counter.
I ring up the rest.
She reaches into her left front pocket and, you guessed it, pays me with a twenty dollar bill.
And I really, really, really want to say something.
But I don’t.
On Friday evening, I participated in my area’s Relay For Life cancer walk. It was very cool. I raised some money for the American Cancer Society and scored a free keychain, a purple water bottle and a yummy ham sammich too! (Granted, I’d rather have skipped the cancer part of it, but the water bottle is nice and the sandwich came with a packet of mayo and everything! Very swanky.)
Anyway, this morning I was chatting about my Relay For Life experience with a member of the law enforcement community. (I really have to figure out how to include them in our kast of kharacters since they have the BEST krazy kommuter stories!) Mid-discussion, lo and behold, a car pulled up outside and a guy got out wearing a Relay For Life t-shirt! The back of it said:
Sort of inspirational, yes? I think so anyway. Fighting the good fight. Facing down a really nasty disease. And take this to the bank, folks. Every day a cancer patient (past or present) opens their eyes to a new morning, that’s a bigger win than that whiny little putz Charlie Sheen ever dreamed of.
I definitely had a welcoming smile on my face when The Man in the T-Shirt walked up to the counter. Well met, brother! I wanted to say.
He bought a pack of cigarettes.
From the Facebook Archives:
A regular customer (who until now is a customer and not a kustomer) is buying his usual two packs of cigars.
As we’re casually chatting during the transaction, he mentions that he spends part of his time working in Milwaukee. I ask what he does for a living.
He laughs. “I’m a Respiratory Therapist.”