Thursday, July 10, 2014

Today, July 10, 2014

Today, everyone wanted to buy cherries because they saw the big sale price of $1.99/lb. What they didn't see was that the sale was one day only, tomorrow, on Friday, the 11th. I know this very well, not just because I work there, but because July 11th is my birthday. 7/11, just like the convenience store; easy to remember, which is good, since I haven't a head for dates or numbers, so the coincidence helped me a lot while growing up.

So we intercepted people in the checkout lines, to prevent people buying the cherries and seeing the price and complaining to the cashiers and to customer service and thus making a lot of returns and headaches for us on the Customer Service team. Just before ringing up the cherries, we explained that the sale was tomorrow, not today; that the store was only trying to make people aware of the sale today for tomorrow. In most cases, people thanked us, but also told us to skip the cherries. Many said that they'd return tomorrow for the sale( and probably they'd buy other items while they were in there[, a practice, I overheard one customer say, that was "sneaky"]).

So, while returning four weighty bags of deep red Bing Cherries to their table, I see an elderly woman standing there, examining the cherries. As I approach, she picks up a bag as I set one down and, rather gently, say, "Now just so you know, the sale is tomorrow. They'll be $1.99/lb. tomorrow." She looks directly at me and says, "So they're $1.99/lb.?" "They will be tomorrow," I explain; "The sale is tomorrow, so they're $4.99/lb. right now." Still holding that big bag of cherries, she says, "I want half a pound." "Well there's a whole box right here," I say, indicating two large boxes of loose cherries; "you can pick out however much you want and we have a scale over here so you can weigh them," I say, indicating the direction in which the scale is.

Still looking directly at me, and with no discernible change in expression, she sternly says, "Thanks for the non-help." She drops the bag of cherries roughly into her basket and begins walking diagonally to my right, around me. "Would it kill you to help me?"

I was, quite literally, taken aback. I had been in a really good mood up to that point and, for that reason, had been very nice and helpful to most of my customers since I returned from lunch. I was, in fact, now on my 15min. And I had, I thought, very nicely pointed out to her the correct date of the sale, so as to avoid disappointment on her part when she went through the checkout line, since that had been happening all day. And then I explained to her how she would be able, if she still wanted while the cherries were not on sale, to obtain half a pound of cherries. So I thought I had done a good job, had provided decent customer service.

But she evidently just wanted to be taken care of, to be handled with care, to be babied. Well, if that's what you want, you should explain that to me. Do you want me to assume you are enfeebled because you are elderly and/or a woman, or/and because you're an Evanston resident, i.e., rich, white, bougie? No, I will not assume, based upon that criteria, that you need additional help. If you do, in fact, need extra assistance (due to physical inabilities), such as me picking out ~0.5lb. for you, then I would be very happy to help you. But how am I to know the extent of your needs unless you explain to me what they are?

I mumbled a feeble statement about being able to do that for her if that's what she wanted, but she just continued to walk away, muttering to herself about me. The occurrence really shook me and threw a sword in my good mood for a little bit. I just didn't know how to react. I could literally experience myself shifting in and out of happy-go-lucky-Gay Boy and total-Bitchy Queen. My mentality oscillated between {positive stuff} and {negative stuff} and I could feel it, see it, notice it, know it. I couldn’t seem to get a hold of my emotional state. (It strikes me[, now, hours later as I write this piece], that this may be the best evidence yet of an actual mental health issue. But of course everyone has issues when it comes to mental health, so why bother seeking help?)

Ultimately, the work day ended well. I did two cart runs, which got my blood pumping and gave me a chance to vent out some of the muscle-tightness caused by the stress and anger I experienced when that old bitch threw salt in my face. After my shift, I bought a six pack, because the next day, July 11th, 7/11, would be my birthday so, you know: party. Then I biked home to do things, one among them being the writing of this piece, so thank you for reading.( Happy Birthday to me, I suppose I'll add.)

–dom.

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