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22 January 2008


So part of the job I have now is making sure that when kids show up to get their learn on, some things are there, ready to facilitate this hallowed process. Things like, oh, I don't know, teachers. And all the stuff the teachers might need, like chalk. And food and drink.

So I'm in the Rite Aid the other night in Great Neck (East Egg, if you're a Gatsby fan) waiting in line to purchase some beverages for the instructors I have arriving on the 6:19 train. It's right about 6pm. And although there's a line of customers waiting to pay, the one cashier behind the counter is motionless, staring blankly at some items on her counter. Items belonging, it seemed, to an invisible customer.

It became clear shortly thereafter that it was not an invisible customer at all that was keeping us waiting, but another Rite Aid employee whose shift had just ended, and who wanted to take advantage of what must be a generous employee discount to bring home some deodorant and salt. Sure, there was a line, and sure, such a transaction requires that a manager come over to the register and apply the discount, when he gets around to it. But I've worked in retail, and I know how much clerks learn to give a shit about customers in a rush, so although I was annoyed, nothing about the situation really surprised me.

Nothing, that is, until the guy in front of me, without really raising his voice, just said something flatly to the clerk waiting for manager's approval. That's when I had my Where am I? moment.

"You know, this is why your stock price is down."

Funny, I thought it was because of a poorly executed takeover of a few rival chains, compounded by waning consumer confidence and other, more complicated, negative market conditions. But your perspicacity, sir, cannot be denied. It's definitely the deodorant and the salt.


  1. i read your blog at work when i'm bored (which is pretty much all day), and i luv it. thanks.

    :) rebecca

  2. Well said. Too flippin' hilarious! As a retired member of the retail clerk community, I always enjoy a good customer anecdote. Not that standing in line is a goal of my day, but it sure as hell beats getting cancer or getting my eyes gouged out with a hot poker! Love your blog.