I know that being a clerk or cashier (two common “C” jobs) is a thankless and typically low-paying task. I get that it’s a C-grade profession at best for most people and they don’t like dealing with their own C-oriented bane of existence: the customers (who are often a pain in their asses). But please, when I’m being pleasant, try to bring your B-grade game at least, if you can’t manage an A-game.
Because I don’t like you turning in C-quality work when I’m being a nice guy (despite having a raging headache, a 5-year-old daughter driving me batty, and multiple deadlines converging on me).
I got two such experiences tonight, though really, only one of them truly pissed me off.
The first one, which left me scratching my head more than anything else, and leaving me with confusion about the listening comprehension of Americans these days, happened at McDonald’s. The darling daughter wanted a Happy Meal, and wanted to try a Shamrock Shake. Well, the moment I got out of the car with her, I heard a cashier tell a drive-through customer that they were out of that flavor. No problem. I tell Little Girl Blue, and she’s mildly poopy about it, but I tell her we’ll get one another day.
To that end, I want to make sure I don’t miss the end of the time that they offer Shamrock Shakes, so I ask, as we finish the order, “So, I see that you’re out of Shamrock Shakes tonight. But how long are you selling them?”
The cashier looks at me blankly and says, “We’ve already sold out tonight.”
“Yes,” I say. “I noticed that. But I’m wondering how much longer is the shake going to be available?”
It takes her a little while to process this, which confuses me because she hasn’t been slow on the uptake until this point in the transaction, and then finally grasps my question and gives me an answer.
After that fine repast, we head over to the grocery store nearby to get a couple items for Mrs. Blue, one of which was a bottle of red wine. As we check out, the dude in front of me, who does look young, gets carded. Makes sense. Then we get there, and Little Girl Blue distracts me as the guy is ringing the items up, and then I realize he’s said something that I didn’t catch and is now saying, in an irritated tone, “Sir, your ID please?”
Mind you, I may dress like an aging skateboard punk these days, but I look every bit my nearly 43 years. At best, perhaps I look like I’m in my mid-30s. But crow’s feet and a beard with substantial white in amongst the red hairs hardly pegs me as a minor.
Still, I pleasantly open my wallet, and flip out the compartment that holds my driver’s license, which by the way is clearly visible through the plastic.
“You need to take it out,” the cashier says in a tone even snarkier than before, which is hard to pull off.
I take it out, and I consider making some choice comments, but then decide I should set a good example for Little Girl Blue. I don’t even make any humorous or mildly amusing comments about the fact I’m clearly old enough to be his father. I just smile and hand over the card.
He looks it over like he’s a forensics expert or something, taking at least 10 seconds with it and looking at me like I might be an imposter (even though I look exactly like my photo, with the exception of my current pair of eyeglasses). He then hands it back with an even snarkier attitude, and after I pay, he finishes up with a “Have a nice day, sir” that clearly conveys his attitude of “Eat shit and die you fuckwad.”
Some days, it doesn’t pay to be nice.
At least not in the short run.
But I guess in spiritual, karmic and legal terms, it wouldn’t have had any long-range benefit for me to come back later and pummel him with a shopping cart.