Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Would You Like Your Milk in a Bag?

I blame it on my dad. We were sitting at a pizza shop in San Diego, California, waiting for our order, when he signaled to a waitress.

“May I have a spoon for my coffee?” he asked when the cute young lady walked over to our table. “I’d stir it with my finger but then it would be too sweet.”

She laughed and twirled off to get him a spoon while I melted underneath the table in embarrassment.

Twenty plus years later and I’ve become that guy. I don’t embarrass my son in front of pretty waitresses (yet) but I have been known to cause the Boss to apologize to anyone within earshot for bringing me in public. That happened when we checked out at a Hobby Lobby a couple of months ago and I asked the cashier if the name on her name tag, “Edith,” was her real name or just the name that she put on her name tag at work.

“I’m sorry,” the Boss told her. “He doesn’t get out much.”

In my defense, we did do that at work when I sold clothes for County Seat in the early 80’s. The expression on Edith’s face was priceless. I enjoyed watching her fumble for words to express her complete disbelief that I asked such a question.

So, last night I was in Wal*mart, purchasing two gallons of milk, a box of cereal, and toilet paper. When I arrived at the check-out lane I was confronted by the disinterested, gum smacking, looked-too-young-to-be-pregnant cashier with the slightl bovine expression on her face. She began to drag my items across the scanner.

“Do you want your milk in a sack?’ she asked.

“No, thank you,” I replied. “It’s easier to pour out of the jug.”

No reaction. Nothing. And it’s a good line. It’s not mine. I don’t remember where I heard it, but it almost always gets a chuckle.

She dragged the cereal across the scanner, and then reached or the toilet paper.

“Do you want your toilet paper in a bag?” she asked.

OOOOOOOOOOOOO, such dilemmas. Should I have said it? Should I have taken the obvious line? Would she have noticed?

“No thank you, it’s easier to use without the plastic?”

I didn’t say it. I thought it. And then I started to giggle. I looked up to the cashier and noticed that she was staring off over my shoulder, her mind…somewhere.

“No thank you,” I answered.

Two things happened later last night that gave me hope for my future. One is that the Boss, while she knew what I was blogging, looked at me and told me that she was thinking about me yesterday afternoon and thought to herself how much she loved me. If she could still say that while knowing what I was typing, I am a blessed man. The second was the General, who sat at the kitchen table eating ice cream.

“A penny for your thoughts,” I offered. “Or thirty-six cents for your whole brain.”

“Give me the penny,” he replied.

I gave him a penny.

“A fool and his money are soon parted,” he said.

It’s comforting to know that the third generation is secure!


Khourt said...

This brought big smiles to my face. My father and grandfather were both like this. It must run in families.

My sisters husband likes to joke around and when the cashiers ask if he needs anything else he says "A sack of $100 dollar bills".. Some dont quite know if they are being pranked or if he is robbing them. Ill have to tell him the milk one though. Im sure he will get a kick out of using it.

Teacher Mommy said...

It's a good thing indeed that she loves you.

My grandpa is like that. My dad can be like that too. I still love them. So there's hope for everyone, I guess! ;P

Kathleen said...

You know, it's a shame that people who are somewhere they don't want to be don't realize that a little humor would make it so much easier to be where they don't want to be!! Keep it up; you're doing a good thing. Perhaps it will catch on, and there will be a few fewer grumpy Wally World cashiers.

And good for the General for keeping things going.

Twisted said...

From the other side of the cashier stand.
"Do you want your bag in a milk?" Goes over so many heads. I'm ready to open a gallon and shove a plastic bag inside. That might get someone's attention enough for them to be socially alert at the checkout stand.
Good ones, Arby, I'll keep my eyes open for you in the store.

Linda said...

My dad, and now me. My husband tries, but he brings more groans than giggles. :o)

CrossView said...

I'm sure we're related. And if you'd come through back in my college days when I was cashiering my way through, we'd have been standing there laughing to this day. Though I do feel sympathy for The Boss. The same sympathy I feel for Guy and my kids. Ain't it grand knowing we're loved anyway??!!

Brownie said...

Here's another: when buying groceries, place the toilet paper last. Then ask the cashier if she think's it's enough to cover all those groceries.

Brownie said...

Hi Arby,

Thanks for checking in on me. It may be the incentive I need to start blogging again. We’re alive up here. I haven’t been blogging because I haven’t been all that cheerful lately and I don’t want my (few) readers to say… “oh there she goes, whining again…” But I do feel like a big whiner lately.

Mid-August my in-laws said that if we wanted to send Blondie to The Christian Private School, they would pay for it. I asked Sir what he wanted. He said “I’m not going to put the iron fist down and say she must go, but I think IT IS A VERY GOOD IDEA. And I don’t want you to point out the negatives.” So I, being the dutiful wife, made it happen.

I am miserable, Blondie is miserable. She is in school all day and we have 2 hours of homework at night. I checked with other moms to see if this amount of homework is normal or are we still in culture shock and adjusting from homeschooling. They all said – no 2 hours of homework is normal for a 7th grader at The Christian Private School.

Blondie can’t practice piano like she use to and so her music is suffering. She had to drop gymnastics because no way she could do that also. And because she caught the stupid flu bug last week AT SCHOOL she wasn’t able to audition for the upcoming multipiano festival which only happens every two years.

So Blondie has been home sick since last Wednesday. She’s been staying on top of her homework because I have been *helping* her…. sort of like HOMESCHOOLING. With the exception that with homeschooling I get to choose what she learns. Some of this stuff they are requiring her to learn I think is irrelevant.

It’s much easier to be a submissive wife when you agree with your husband’s decisions.

Thanks for letting me vent/blog in your comments 

Aren’t you glad you asked? ROFL!!

Anonymous said...

You always give me a chuckle when I read your blog. Laughter is the best medicine or so they say. In my case, I just need caffeine, so a shot of the laughter bug is good.

Have a great day!


The_Kid said...

I have to say that I've never been to a Wal-mart and met a motivated cashier.

I used to wonder what the anti-Wal-mart people were so geeked up about, but watched a documentary on TV the other day, made by Wal-mart I think showing how they go about picking locations for super Wal-marts.

Some of the story had to do with employees and wages.

Most seem to make around 9-10 bucks an hour.
I remember one guy at 9.75/hr for unloading trucks. UPS paid 12+ for the same thing back in 1975. Costs are up at least 5 times over 1975, so these people are unbelievably underpaid to the point of disgust. No wonder they act like zombies.

Part of me says that people should simply not accept the positions at those wages, but part of me also realizes that one of the things that got labor reform going in the US was kids working in sweat shops for pennies a day.

They should charge more and pay more.

Only 50% of the workers made enough to afford to participate in the health care plans offered at Walmart. Huh? Wal-mart can't negotiate super health plans for their employees with the number of employees it has? Where I work, a single person can get a plan for 10 bucks a week. And they make more than 10 bucks an hour and there are around only a hundred people employed by this company.

Consider me anti-Wal-mart at this point.