Vulnerability at the Cash Register

I’ve collected more significant moments at the cash register that involved how old a person was and the alcohol they were buying..

First, even though he was pretty close to my age, a man acted a little hurt that I approved his alcohol purchase without checking his ID.

“Don’t worry, sir,” I said. “After all, James Bond is over twenty-one, too.”

“Nice recovery,” he laughed.    

We can all use reassurance even in the lighthearted moments.

One lady knew how to give reassurance.  She grinned when she showed her ID, and she pointed at her birthday, showing that she was sixty. 

“Wow, that’s hard to believe,” I said.  “I mean I’m almost sixty.”  

She smiled and said, “And you still sexy.”  Then she high-fived me and be-bopped out of the store.

“You just made my day, ma’am.” I called out.

Another lady was buying a beer at the self- checkout when I approached to verify her age. She was middle-aged and I teased her, saying “I need to see that you’re at least twenty-one.”

She gave me a sly look and said, “I could be twenty-one for you, if you want me to be.”  It was part jest and part challenge. 

‘Um…” I said eloquently. 

She smiled. 

“I wonder if you’ve already had one or two of those,” I said, pointing at the beer, going for the laugh..

“Maybe you could get a beer and join me,” she pressed, eyebrows arched, smile bigger now. 

“I think you’re on vacation and trying to be just a little bit bad,” I smiled back.  “Hope you have a great time.”

I wiped the sweat off my forehead when she left. I was still processing that little encounter when she came back through the line.

“I just needed one more thing she said.”

I was out of clever retorts so I repeated my wish for her to have a nice vacation, looked around and said, “Who is next please?”

I’ll be honest. I was flustered and felt like an awkward teenager. I think she enjoyed that. But–and this is subjective on my part–I sensed loneliness behind her banter.    

Then there was the woman who was so tickled to be carded that she squealed that she was going to tell all her friends. She reached up and hugged me around the neck–something I think she does easily and often. I was moved as I often am when someone reaches out and touches me. I thanked her for it and so she gave me another. 

What’s my take away from these little encounters? 

I think we all show a little more vulnerability than we intend to and some of us are better than others at offering encouragement during those moments.    

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