Monday, December 11, 2006

Are You Gonna Need A Bag For Your Bubble Wrap?

"Oh look, yet another Christmas TV special! How touching to have the meaning of Christmas brought to us by cola, fast food, and beer... Who'd have ever guessed that product consumption , popular entertainment, and spirituality would mix so harmoniously?

-Bill Watterson, "Calvin & Hobbes"

Do you ever encounter someone so completely grouchy, so completely rude and disagreeable that they actually amused you with their stick-up-the-buttness? LOL. It must be because I am thoroughly in the holiday spirit this year, but for a change, it is other folks who seem to be grouchy... not me! There also seem to be less holiday decorations in the stores out here, then in previous years, but that's a different story. For this entry, I will share a true story of holiday hilarity and histrionics, that I am sure will become a beloved holiday classic... and may in fact be made into a TV movie produced by Irwin Allen. :) Is he still alive?

It all started on a cool December 10th afternoon, when I paid a visit to a national chain office supply store. Yes, there might be one in your neck of the woods... so pay attention. The nerves you save may be your own. Ok, see, I have these two boxes that I need to put into the mail tomorrow, so that they will get to their two destinations in time for Christmas. I needed a medium sized brown box, and some other assorted office supplies, so off I went. When I first walked into the store, I was greeted with a smile from a nice lady, who wished me a good day. I smiled and returned the sentiment, and went about my shopping.

About 20 minutes later, I got in line behind a very tall, bald, man who was dressed as a elf. Complete with assorted bells about his clothing. Jingle, jingle. jingle. All the way! I couldn't help but smile, but I noticed that the young lady who was working the register was NOT smiling. 'Poor thing, she must be tired, ' I thought to myself. When it came my turn to approach the check-out, the lady turned to the man four aisles to my right... "Sir, I can help you over here." What? It was my turn... had she not seen me? "Yes, ummm... there is a lady right there who is next in line." Said the nice consumer 4 aisles over. "Sir! I can HELP you OVER HERE!" The checkout artist barked at the now surprised man 4 aisles to my right. This time, the man pointed to me, and said, "THAT lady was here first." And with that he turned away to let we two ladies work it out. LOL. Good idea! :)

"SIGH.... Ma'am... come here... I will help you!" Jeepers, what did I do? Was it my mere presence? Did I remind her of someone she hated? Who knows. Anyway, I decided to make the best of it, after all, we wouldn't have to see each other ever again, so why sweat her poor mood? Right? In my cart was 6 items, one of which needed to be price checked before I could purchase it. That did not help the young ladies mood. "Excuse me miss, could you tell me the price of this item? There was no tag on it? "SIGH," said the employee of the month, "I suppossssse I can do that for you... sinnnnncccce you didn't see it yourrrrrrrrrself!!!" LOL. Oh my, I think she likes me! :)

So she scanned the product, and the price was acceptable, so it was a go! Good, that was easy, but then things in general began to fall apart. With each item came a snippy comment from the check-out girl. "Card stock huh? I suppose you make your own greeting cards!" "Yes, actually I do," I responded. "Well, are you sure you don't need ink?" LOL. I think I would know if I needed ink...but I answered her inquiry anyway, "No, I have enough ink." SIIIIIIIIGGHHHHHHH," said the clerk. There was a really long silence, and I didn't know what to say next, if indeed if I should say anything at all. The next item she scanned was a roll of bubble wrap, and with that item she said, "Are you gonna need a bag for your bubble wrap?" "Well, yes," I said, "I think that would be most helpful." With my reply she stopped cold, and stared at me for what felt like an hour. LOL. In actuality, it was probably only about 10 seconds. That is when I took out my Mastercard to run through the little slide machine.

"DON'T SCAN IT NOW... WAIT FOR ME TO TELL YOU WHEN!" LOL. Ok, it was just getting funny now. What could I have possibly done? This lady was getting dangerously close to fulfilling my Christmas Eve tradition of being called a "Bitch" by a total stranger. Do you suppose it was the curse of December 10th kicking in? What could it possibly be? I stood patiently as the lady finished up totaling my merchandise, and then I scanned my card, and exited the store. I had been polite, and like I said, I was a little amused that she was so rude to me. After all, what could I do realistically? Tell her boss? Maybe, but somehow it didn't feel like it would have been the right thing to do. If this young lady lives her life as a grumpy, grouchy, grinch, then she has her own troubles. She will figure it all out on her own, and besides, isn't that the best way to learn a lesson?

Gentle readers, have patience with those you encounter for the next couple weeks. It is a tough time of year for a lot of folks. The world is a scary place. Wars, rumors of wars, high prices for everything, and such sadness in the news. We humans must remember that we are human first, and we should give ourselves a break, but we should also try to pass that break along, to those we meet along the way, because you never know who you will meet on your way from here to there. That girl I met was clearly hurting, but it isn't always someone crying, who might be calling out for our compassion. Tis the season you know.

"Jack, The Pumpkin King"
Berkeley, California
December 10th, 2006
Late Evening


Gayla said...

OMGosh, too funny!!! I'm still giggling as I type this comment. I'm also in the full holiday spirit, despite the many "grouchies" in the world including my husband...whateva!

Charley said...

Tis the season.

Hang in there Carly and don't let the devils get you down :).

P.S. Do you need a bag with this entry?

Charley :)

Karen Funk Blocher said...

Wow, Carly. What a loving take on the situation! Good for you! That cashier has no idea how lucky she was to have been the re3cipient of your patience and good humor.