Sunday, September 9, 2012

Dear Department Store Cashier

This week has been particularly long.  Between being extremely busy at work and a lack of a good night's sleep the night before, I was not completely in my best shape. That much I will give you.   I may or may not have been humming "Space Age Love Song" by Flock of Seagulls, complete with phaser sounds, and I may have been staring too hard at the collection of complicated bubblegum flavors that lined your counter.  If in fact I was doing these things, that may be why I didn't hear you talking about me to the attractive lady in front of me in line.  Could I have lived in the bliss I enjoyed before tuning into that conversation, we all may have gone on to live happy, fruitful lives.

As I pondered how strawberry and mint gum seems more like a threat than a tasty treat, I heard you say "He ain't even listening."  Apparently, while you were ringing up the lady in front of me, you both were taking guesses about how tall I am.  Being preoccupied with plastic based sugary chews and 1980's new wave, I missed all of this, and also missed when you flat out asked me the answer.  Congratulations to you for guessing 6'9" on the dot.  With 7', the other lady was over, and thus lost by Price is Right rules. 

As you finished ringing up the lady, you went on with the conjecture and small talk I've gotten from better clerks that you:

1) Yes it is hard to buy clothes/shoes. 
2) No, I didn't play football or basketball.  I played baseball.
3) No, my parents aren't that tall. 

This was all fairly standard, all things I have answered countless times before.  You told me next that your oldest son is 6'5", and that is how you were about to guess my height. Again, not too out of the ordinary.  I will remember this fondly as the last cordial moment of our interaction.  I almost missed it when you said your son was much younger than me though, because he was only 27.   You almost got me to just agree and move on with it.  I wish I had.  Instead, I looked at you like you were a pack of lemongrass and curry Bubblicious, and I mutter, "I'm sorry, what?" You looked right at me, smiled, and said, "He's only 27.  You're what, late 30's, early 40's?"

I don't believe myself to be a vain man, but there was a line crossed.  I understand it looks like I was hit several times in the face with a testosterone shovel.  I know I had a day's worth of head stubble, so my hairline was visible.  I can actually see the black bags under my own eyes.  Even with all of that, do you REALLY think I look over ten years older than I am?  I am 2 years older than your son.  Dos. Zwei, deux, ni.  If I were to judge you by your missing tooth, split ends, and terrible grammar, I could come to some possibly unfair conclusions about you as well.  I don't play those games though.  I am above that.

I am not above muttering in anger and disbelief while I pay and then blurting out "You ruined any chance of that" when you tell me to have a nice day.  I am not above skulking out of the store.  I am also not above giving myself a pep talk in the car while listening to more new wave to unsuccessfully cheer me up while the lady in the car next to me slowly rolls up her window hoping I have T Rex vision and can't see her if she moves too slow. 


  1. Department store? This woman sounds like Royal Farms cashier quality, which is to say, not just bottom of the barrel, but the greyish sludge beneath the barrel.

    1. It was in fact a department store. I find that convenience store dwellers, like those at the Royal Farms, have an understanding that the less said, the better.

  2. I bet if she knew you zinged her on your blog, she'd be so angry her other tooth would fall out.


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