I took time off from the store for a couple of weeks to work at the early voting polls.
On my first evening back, customers had a case of the dropsies at the self-checkout. One fellow dropped a single serving bag of cereal, and it burst open, spreading all over the floor. It’s amazing how much area sixteen ounces of Cheerios can cover. But it was a quick cleanup—no big deal.
The real mess happened when a family dropped a bottle of wine, spreading shattered glass and deep red libational liquid at their feet. They stood in the scarlet puddle and kept scanning the rest of their groceries while my colleagues scurried to clean up the mess.
Later, the lady of this family came back for one more purchase. She paid cash at the self-checkout, and the machine malfunctioned—her change got stuck somewhere in the bowels of that contraption. I needed help from a couple of my coworkers because machine repair is not my talent.
It took several minutes to resolve the problem, and she got impatient.
“I’ve been waiting here a long time,” she said, “and I’m tired…”
I sympathized because I was tired, too, from cleaning up her spilled wine.
Later, a middle-aged, balding man with a goatee came through the self-checkout. He was wearing… and I kid you not… a French maid’s uniform. You know what I’m talking about–the short frilly black dress with bare shoulders. He also wore knee-high hose that didn’t reach his hairy knees. And galoshes (yes, that’s what I said). Also, he was carrying a toilet scrubber.
I couldn’t resist asking, “Did you lose a bet, sir?”
“Nope,” he said cheerfully. “Just doing a favor for a friend.”
He strode proudly out of the store with his purchases. I didn’t have the nerve to ask about the details of this “favor.”
The evening wore on….
I was helping a gentleman process his purchase when he said, “I was watching the family you just helped. And every member thanked you as they left. It was amazing. And I see why… you’re very nice.”
“Thank you, sir.”
I appreciated his compliment because my good humor was actually waning by that time of the evening. He reminded me that most of our customers are very kind, even if some of them are messy. And a few are quite flamboyant.
It’s nice to be home.