Friday, April 15, 2011

don't be sorry.

Twelve years here behind the register and I've seen personal checks fade away; they are now as much a novelty as the two dollar bill. The occasional public cell phone user has metastasized into a pulsing bluetooth cloud; the store is never without a few people wandering about, eyes drifting vacantly over book covers as they talk into the air. Many people don't realize they have to sign their credit card receipts. Everyone apologizes for everything. All the time. When they are at the register. (puts the books on the counter) "Sorry." (looks at some of the merchandise that has been masterfully situated so as to cause them to look at it right then. he/she is doing exactly what we want him/her to do. i finish ringing her up and tell her the total.) "Oh, sorry!" (looks through wallet for two seconds, no more. eyes dart to the left, sees that nobody is waiting behind him/her.) "Sorry! It's one of those days. Sorry!" (i can't help myself. i turn on the charm and ask playfully: what in the world are you sorry for?) "Oh, god, I'm just so slow." (no you're not, at all. it's literally been 15 seconds that we've been doing all of this.) "Oh, I guess you're right" (laughs) "Sorry." One thing that hasn't changed, and I sincerely hope it never will, is that people under the age of fifteen always pay in crumpled or excessively folded bills that they never flatten out before handing them over to me.

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