retailate

So I bought some beer today at work. And the guy who rang me up was super friendly and asked if it was good beer. I told him yes. He said he was going to buy some.

I wanted to narrow my eyes and say, “No you aren’t. You’re just saying that because you’re a cashier and have to feign interest in your customers. You think I don’t know? You’re a liar. How does it feel, knowing that your sexy grin is nothing but a fallacy? And not only that, you’re a tease, because I totally would’ve invited you over to try some and you’d agree with me and we’d become best friends. But we aren’t friends, are we? You’re just a lying retail worker and I’m the pissed off cook who works in the back who had such a bad day he needed to buy alcohol to take the edge off.”

But I just smiled and told him to have a good night and he told me to do the same.

*Whispers* But I know the truth.

STORY TIME:

I work in a decent sized, local, indie bookstore. It’s a great job 99% of the time and a lot of our customers are pretty neat people. Any who, middle of the day this little old lady comes up. She’s lovably kooky. She effuses how much she loves the store and how she wishes she could spend more time in it but her husband is waiting in the car (OH! I BETTER BUY HIM SOME CHOCOLATE!), she piles a bunch of art supplies on the counter and then stops and tells me how my bangs are beautiful and remind her of the ocean (“Wooooosh” she says, making a wave gesture with her hand)

Ok. I think to myself. Awesomely happy, weird little old ladies are my favorite kind of customer. They’re thrilled about everything and they’re comfortably bananas. I can have a good time with this one. So we chat and it’s nice.

Then this kid, who’s been up my counter a few times to gather his school textbooks, comes up in line behind her (we’re connected to a major university in the city so we have a lot of harried students pass through). She turns around to him and, out of nowhere, demands that he put his textbooks on the counter. He’s confused but she explains that she’s going to buy his textbooks.

He goes sheetrock white. He refuses and adamantly insists that she can’t do that. It’s like, $400 worth of textbooks. She, this tiny old woman, bodily takes them out of her hands, throws them on the counter and turns to me with a intense stare and tells me to put them on her bill. The kid at this point is practically in tears. He’s confused and shocked and grateful. Then she turns to him and says “you need chocolate.” She starts grabbing handfuls of chocolates and putting them in her pile.

He keeps asking her “why are you doing this?” She responds “Do you like Harry Potter?" and throws a copy of the new Cursed Child on the pile too.

Finally she’s done and I ring her up for a crazy amount of money. She pays and asks me to please give the kid a few bags for his stuff. While I’m bagging up her merchandise the kid hugs her. We’re both telling her how amazing she is and what an awesome thing she’s done. She turns to both of us and says probably one of the most profound, unscripted things I’ve ever had someone say:

"It’s important to be kind. You can’t know all the times that you’ve hurt people in tiny, significant ways. It’s easy to be cruel without meaning to be. There’s nothing you can do about that. But you can choose to be kind. Be kind.”

The kid thanks her again and leaves. I tell her again how awesome she is. She’s staring out the door after him and says to me: “My son is a homeless meth addict. I don’t know what I did. I see that boy and I see the man my son could have been if someone had chosen to be kind to him at just the right time.”

I’ve bagged up all her stuff and at this point am super awkward and feel like I should say something but I don’t know what. Then she turns to me and says: I wish I could have bangs like that but my darn hair is just too curly.“ And leaves.

And that is the story of the best customer I’ve ever had. Be kind to somebody today.

some of the best customers I’ve had at Dollar General
  • the woman who comes in every day and buys a single can of cat food. The brand she buys has the deal that if you buy 5 cans, you get them for $2. When I told her that she said “I don’t need five at once. Terrence only needs one a day.”
  • The old man who came in and asked me “Why do you think McDonalds doesn’t sell hotdogs?” When I told him I didn’t know, he said “Well, I guess it would be hard to keep a straight face and order a McWeenie.”
  • The teenage girl whose boyfriend held her foot up as she hopped around the store to get her things. Come to find out that she had lost her flip flop and didn’t want to step on the floor with her bare foot.
  • The elderly spanish man who comes in every day to get a pack of Marlboro Lights. His english isn’t very good, so when I asked him if he wanted shorts or 100s, he looked at me confused. Realizing he didn’t understand, I said “Pequeño ?” His face lit up and nodded enthusiastically. Now every time he leaves, he smiles and says “Hasta mañana” and I say it back.
  • The other day when I was outside on a smoke break, he was riding on a bike and yelled ”HASTA MANANAAAAAA” as he rode by.
  • The old woman who came in and bought 24 air fresheners. I asked her if she was stocking up, and she told me about how she got a new boyfriend who lived in a mansion, and that she was putting one in each of the rooms. She then proceeded to tell me about how the mansion is haunted.
  • The little kid who was probably around 4 or 5 who ripped open a pack of skittles. As me and the people in line watched the skittles scatter across the floor, he looked up and said. “It wasn’t me.”