I worked at a craft store the summer before college. Here are my best (and the best of the worst) moments:
- A man bought 190 mason jars with lids. I asked him if this was for a wedding, or if he was making jam. He was doing neither. He did not have plans for mason jars. He just thought they were a really good sale.
- A woman bought her brother and his fiance a giant rainbow bow for their wedding present. She whispered that they had been married before, but that the fiance had dressed as a woman and they wanted to make it real now that it was legal. She shouted that rainbows are gay. Her style is unusual.
- A little girl left finger-painted handprints on the inside of the back pockets of the pants I was wearing. It was the most terrible case of “mistaken mother” I have ever experienced.
- A little girl came in looking for SWAPS for Girl Scout camp (pins you trade with other scouts at camp). She asked me if I could help her even though I am too old to be a Girl Scout. I showed her my lifetime membership card and the SWAPS on my keyring. She told me I am her best friend, and came back two weeks later with a SWAP she had saved for me from camp.
- A woman came through with wedding supplies for her granddaughter and a very nervous outlook on the price. I asked her what my name was, pretending to forget about my nametag, and when she got it right, pronounced her my good friend and gave her my friends-and-family discount. She cried. I might have too.
- A father bought his little boy a doll set. The boy told me that the last set had been for his friend, but he had liked it much more than she did, so he was getting his own. His baby sister was chewing on a monster truck. I liked this family.
- I became known as the cashier who would give you the discounts under my register if you were nice. The little old ladies who came in every yarn sale loved me. My coupons and I were their heroes.
- The substitute teacher who had bullied me came through my line and smugly told me that her total was wrong. I smiled politely and informed her that I had already given her the educator’s discount, but would happily take it off. She was much less smug after that, as her daughter laughed her out of the store.
- A large woman with a 5 o'clock shadow came through my line. I told her I liked her skirt. She responded with the biggest smile I have ever seen.
- And finally, my favorite one: a nine-year-old girl came up to my register with a stack of t-shirts and told me she had folded them for me, but could not reach where they belonged. I told her most people would have left them on the floor. She informed me that I was the cashier who helped her Girl Scout troop mate, and I quote: "dang it, you do good things for good people! I want to be a good people like you!“ and skipped out the door, before remembering her mother was still shopping and skipping right back in.
Sometimes, I love retail.