Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Have yourself a spiteful little christmas...

I’m flying out to Iowa this weekend to see some family for Christmas, so I had to do some early shopping. Luckily, we only have to buy for the kids, but when the “kids” are three teenagers with the false impression that you’re cool, the pressure is on.

I went to H&M, which has two very attractive qualities; it’s cheap, and they don’t have one in Iowa, so the kids think it’s exotic. Beautiful. So, after about a million laps around the accessories department, I came up with what I hoped was a combination of trinkets that are both fun and work for all the age levels. Now came the hard part: checking out.

If you’ve ever been to the H&M in downtown Boston, you know there’s ALWAYS a long wait for the registers. It doesn’t matter how many customers there are, or how many cashiers they have. You. Will. Wait. This happened to be a case where there were few customers (many of whom were trying to return 87 items without a receipt) and one painfully slow cashier who didn’t look a day over 15.

So there I was, in line, staring off into space, when some earth shatteringly loud high-heeled boots came stomping over to the line. In them was a very tense looking chick who, immediately upon her arrival, barked a question at the hapless clerk, who was trying to decipher the broken English of the patron in front of me.

“Are you the only register in the store? I’m in a hurry!” Teen Clerk blinked and looked towards the other end of the store (which was roughly 6.3 miles away) and gave the standard reply: “Uh, I’m not sure.” To this she gave an exasperated “I-can’t-believe-everyone’s-an-asshole-but-me” sigh and clomped off to make the 6.3-mile journey to the other side. No big loss.

Meanwhile, Broken English was trying to buy something without a price tag, so Teen Clerk had to run off (it was actually more like a disinterested saunter) to the area where the garment may have originated, which was roughly 4 miles away. I stared blankly at a thoroughly uninteresting music video for some song by some band displayed on LCDs over the registers. Many moons passed, but Teen Clerk made a triumphant return, priced garment in hand. Shortly thereafter, Bitch ‘n Boots came clomping back and almost went nuclear at the lack of progress made in her absence. She loudly shifted her weight, stamping every time she did so, and let loose a periodic “Oh my God!”. Now, I wasn’t exactly in love with the lackadaisical stylings of Teen Clerk, but I don’t think working at H&M is terribly rewarding (retail in general pretty much sucks), so Bitch ‘n Boots getting all huffy wasn’t terribly useful. In fact, it was interfering with my zoning out.

So when it was my turn up at the register, I dumped all of the accessories (in triplicate) onto the counter in a messy pile, instead of going with my original plan of sorting them into categories. This earned a sigh and two boot stomps. Sweet. I was also super-polite to Teen Clerk, who seemed relieved that I a) spoke English and b) wasn’t scowling. I made polite chitchat, hoping to distract him from the task of ringing up my million items, thereby ensuring a mistake would be made.

I was not disappointed.

Teen Clerk looked woefully at the receipt, counting the items listed on the paper and comparing it with the mess on the counter. “Oh, no, I think I missed two items.”

This elicited an “Oh-My-God!” and more weight shifting from BnB. I smiled. “That’s okay, I’m sure we can sort it out.” More stomping. She was going to have kittens at any minute. Teen Clerk smiled back, “Eh, don’t worry about it, I’ll just ring it up.”

Nice. Not only did I get to piss off an annoying stranger, but some free stuff as well. Patience is definitely a virtue.

Even when brought on by spite.


Blogger Duane said...

Well done.

In my short life as a register jockey at Tower Records/Video, I found that customers were most anxious to leave when buying porn. I had one fellow buy over $100 of gay mags with pre-pubescent looking boys on the cover, and the soccer moms behind him, who were in a rush to get the latest celine dion, all seemed a bit horrified.

I once had a guy rent 6 porno tapes at once:

Him: uh, you probably wondering why i have so many tapes.
Me: uh, not really.
Him: heh heh...probably doesn't happen a lot.
Me: actually, it does...
Him: I'm a video editor, so this is for my job. I'm not some pervert or something

Yeah right.

10:29 AM  

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