Friday, May 15, 2009

In Which I Get The Short Straw

Dear Local Convenience Store Clerk,

You probably don't remember me, but that's okay. I was just one of a thousand faces you see every day, and I wouldn't expect you to remember any specific one. Not that you could anyways, what with your head so far up your ass, and all. 

See, I stopped into your gas station to pick up a half gallon of milk after I had finished pumping my gas. We've been going through cereal like crazy at my house, and since we don't own our own Holstein, store-bought moo-juice will have to suffice. I waited in line to make my purchase, behind the guy who smelled like a yard of fresh mulch and the woman who looked like she got kicked out of the year 1987. I maintained a safe distance behind them, holding my wallet in one hand and the jug of milk in the other. There were two cashiers working, but I drew the short straw and got you.

When it was finally my turn, I approached the counter and set the milk down on it. I rummaged through my wallet for my debit card, and you scanned the bar code on the milk. Then, in your peculiar dry-yet-wet-like-the-slime-residue-left-behind-a-slug country dialect, you spoke.

"That all?" you said. You didn't look up at me at all, but that's okay. I understand that using a cash register requires a lot of attention, and sometimes forces people to use incomplete sentences. Given the circumstances, I'll forgive that.

"Yeah, that's all," I replied. I wondered if he saw the invisible Slim Jim sticking out of my back pocket that I was intending to steal. 

"No gas?" You looked up at me then, and I saw the red lining around your eyes. I guessed you either had a new baby at home, conjunctivitis, or a bong in your car. 

"No, I already paid for my gas." 

"Uh..." you said, being sure to be as articulate as possible.

I pointed out the plate glass store front. "See that truck? The green one at pump 14? That's me. I paid with my debit card at the pump, and then came in here to get milk." 

You just continued looking at me, and soon I could see a flicker of understanding that grew into a firm grasping of what I just said. Kind of like a compact fluorescent light bulb when you first turn it on.

"Why dinnt you git yer milk furst, an' pay fer dat an' yer gas all at once?"

"I guess I don't know," I replied evasively. Did it really matter? "I guess I just didn't think to."

"Well, nex'time, we're prefur it if you'd mayke all yer credit card purtchases at once. Saves on transakshun fees."

This, to be honest here, kind of stunned me. Were you really asking me to change my purchasing habits to help you save money? You obviously slept through the part of your training class devoted to proper customer service. I weighed out my options for a response, but settled on staying quiet for a moment. You waited for me to slide my debit card through the reader and enter my pin number before speaking again.

"You got dat, Chief? Gunna do better nex'time?" 

I didn't think someone like yourself knew how to be condescending, but gosh-oh-golly, if you weren't condescending just then, I clearly don't know the meaning of the word. You smiled at me through your yellow teeth and handed over my receipt. I was working up a clever response to rock you back on your ass, but at the last moment I decided not to say it. I figured that a man who looks like this probably has enough problems as it is: 

I left your store with a tank full of gas and a half gallon of milk, and no intention of ever going back. I'll be frequenting the major chain gas station just down the road a piece, instead of your run-down hole-in-the-wall that I shopped at solely to help support a local business. Our last encounter happened a couple of weeks ago, and I haven't been back to your place since. 

I suppose I should thank you for what you did. Now that I'm shopping at the Citgo, I'm paying less per gallon of gas, and their milk is cheaper, too! With all the money I'm saving, I can now afford to buy the second season of House MD on DVD.

Gratefully no longer your customer,



Inna said...

LOL! Classic.
I wonder if he's been waiting for you ever since. Poor guy, you were his one excitement of the day, where he got to look really coooool. heheheh
ps- found you through the Great Aunt Becky

Kat said...

She seriously called you "Cheif"? Holy mother of God! I would have bitched her out just on principle.

Children of the Nineties said...

Haha, this is pretty ridiculous. Are we supposed to have a mental guidebook for their varying transaction fees? If they expect a certain manner of payment, why not just post a sign?

Miss Grace said...

There's a reason that person works at a gas station. And not anywhere else.

Moonspun said...

Wait, really, someone called you Chief??? Like it was a privilege for you to buy your milk there?
Oh my...well there is alot to be said for good, or any, customer service. When you don't get it, it sticks with you big time!
Nice pic!
oh and good dialogue writing!

Tony said...

I would have gone through my transaction and then said, "oh I forgot to buy a bottle of water" then paid for a bottle of water with my card - three transaction fees

Nej said...

I'm with Tony...a third purchase before leaving would have been the perfect sendoff. :-) :-)

Aunt Becky said...

That guy is my dad. How dare you.

Cape Cod Gal said... should shop down here! EVERY gas station is like that!!!

Jewels said...


areason2write said...

you tell it like no other - hilarious!

Badass Geek said...

Inna: He probably misses me. Heck, I'd miss me if I stopped coming around.

Kat: Yeah, I'm not one for nicknames like that, either.

COTN: That's what I'm sayin'. I didn't know there were rules for this kind of thing.

Miss Grace: Exactly.

Moonspun: I've been called worse. "Big Shooter" was probably the most awkward.

Tony: Damnit! I should have done that!

Nej: I'll have to remember that for the next time.

Aunt Becky: Oh, I'll do it again if I have to.

Cape Cod Gal: You know, you're right. I've stopped at a few places in MA, and they were all sketchy.

Jewels: Yikes, indeed.

A Reason 2 Write: Glad you think so!

splodge said...

Ha-ha-ha! The third, separate purchase would have clinched it.

Classic gold Badass post...again. Loveit, loveit.

Kim said...

I say you should have done better than a bottle of water, just a cheap pack of gum would have been great.

abrandname said...

I have met far too many of these guys at gas stations. Wow, that sounded dirtier than I meant it too....I meant as a paying customer...I'm gonna stop there...

During this whole entry I had the theme to Deliverence playing in my head....kinda scary if you know what I'm saying....

Lola said...

Well, you could always go back and make it three transactions just to mess with the fool.

Laura said...

I must say, you handled that way better then I would have. Good job on that! I would have been very tempted to buy something else, or tell him that he just lost my business permanently.

Heather said...

HA! There's a pet store I've been to a few times, that has a sign saying "we'd appreciate if any purchases under $5 were paid in cash" or somesuch. I'm sure they would. But I don't. Their transaction fees are in their overhead, I'm not going to change my life to save them money. Charge me less than $18 for a bag of shredded paper, assholes, and we'll talk.

Employee No. 3699 said...

If you're filling up your tank how could you pay for it ahead of time if you don't know how much it's going to be?

Chris Mancini said...

I recommend taking all these comments, going back in once a week and using them with a video camera. Also, please add "Great idea! If I buy NOTHING here, then your transaction fee is zero!"

Badass Geek said...

Splodge: I only wish I had thought of it then.

Kim: Something less than a dollar would have been perfect.

A Brand Name: "Deliverance" isn't too far off from this place.

Lola: I think I might have to.

Laura: I am a master of self control.

Heather: The nerve of some people, huh?

Employee No 3699: My point EXACTLY.

Chris Mancini: Perfect! I'll have find a pair of those spy-video-eyeglasses.

Notesfromthegrove said...

Ugh, people like that make my BLOOD BOIL. I'm actually a little pissed right now FOR you, lol.

golublog said...

It's always a surprise to me to see a nice clerk.

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