Saturday, August 18, 2007

Hi, How you doin'?

Hi, how you doing? How are you today? Have a nice day. Hey, what's up? Hey, what's going down? Hey, is everything diagonal? I made that last one up, but then again, today, who knows. It's getting harder and harder to simply and anonymously walk into a store nowadays. My primary purpose for patronizing your establishment is not to exchange greetings with every doofus donned in a cheap blue polo shirt, or some hard of hearing octogenarians evoking memories of grandma and grandpa. I just wanted to pick up a package of AA batteries or some toothpaste.

I recently visited a Best Buy store to purchase a clock radio with alarm. The split second my ass hit the front door, a smiling "greeter" leaped out of nowhere to inquire as to how I was doing today. I assured the greeter I was just fine as I passed through the store threshold to purchase the clock radio near the Camera Department. I then began to wonder if someone had a camera, and a hidden camera at that, trained on me, because it seemed every store employee from every department in said store descended upon me in the same manner a vulture would on a dying animal carcass. Every single blue polo and khaki pants wearing clerk had the same pasted on smile and overriding concern of how I was doing today. I calmly assured everybody I was doing just fine and to relax. I felt their eyes on me as I calmly walked over to the where the clock radios were and picked one up. An associate asked me what else I would be needing, but I explained all I needed was the clock radio. He begrudgingly decided to accept my explanation that I just wanted the one item and needed NOTHING else today.

I was proud of myself, I made it to the checkout aisles alive and would soon be free. I then noticed, even though the store had approximately ten checkout lanes in which to pay for merchandise, only one lane was open. Four people were ahead of me in line. I don't consider myself to be the most patient soul in the world, but by the same token, I don't feel I'm the most impatient person either. I found myself beginning to wonder why all these many store employees were racing and falling all over themselves to greet the public as they entered but once the customer was ready to pay, he or she was treated like a highly contagious abuser of household pets. It kind of reminded me of the way good conservative Republicans spend all their free time worrying about the unborn child right up until conception, then they would refuse to walk five feet out of their way to spit on the unwanted street urchins even if their heads were on fire. But oh, I digress.

Couldn't one of these personable young men or women, who just moments earlier, were so interested in how I was doing, jump behind a cash register and bellow out, NEXT. Nope, it would seem not. I finally made it to the register. It's the happiest I've been since a moment before entering the store. I take out my wallet fully prepared to pay the $35 fee and be merrily on my way but first the check out associate specialist wants me to be aware of all the multi-year warranty plans available for my item. He keeps offering me more and more options faster than I can blurt out, NO, THANK YOU. I must repeat this to each and every one of his relentless offers. Finally, when the undaunted associate stopped talking long enough as to take a breath, I saw my opportunity to jump in myself and say "can I just pay for this now, I'm in kind of a hurry." Luck was finally on my side, my golden tongued orator of a check out clerk, er Payment Receiving Associate Specialist, allowed it. I paid and was thankful that any second I would be breathing fresh stagnant air again. As I was exiting the store, a handful of the greeting specialists thanked me for coming in their store and then proceeded to ask me if I found everything I needed and might I be in need of any further assistance. I panicked and just began to run, and I mean run like I never ran before, and I didn't stop until I reached my car.

Now, I need to get a few toiletries. Maybe I'll save a trip to Walmart for another day, when I feel my strength returning........

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