Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Respect & Decorum Are a Dead Thing when the Customer is Always Right

The woman's hair was more frizz than curl.

She wore an oversized t-shirt that severely accentuated her thinness, and a pair of baggy jeans that could not have felt good in the eighty degree heat outside.

She walked up to the garish orange counter* with an older, portly, balding, rotting-toothed gentleman and slammed her DVDs on the counter before spouting off the seven digits of her phone number in a steady, monotonous stream of syllables.

This behavior was jarring to Alecia, the 21-year-old fashion school student who thought to herself once more that she really needed to get a job in the retail environment tailored to clothing. She forced her the corners of her lips up and out into a smile. "Hello," she said pleasantly, as she grabbed the movies, and removed the security precautions. "How are you today?"

"All them movies I kin git for five nights, I wan' for five nights," the woman said, her smoke-clogged voice as rough and abrasive as her movements.

"Okay," Alecia responded. "It looks like the only movie that will be due back tomorrow night before we close is 'Drive Angry.' Your total is five dollars even."

The woman handed over a Chase debit card. Alecia flipped it over to behold a darkened, scratched out slip on the back. "May I please see your ID?" she asked.

"I DON' HAVE MY ID!" the woman screamed. Alecia wondered how many times over the past few days the woman had been asked to corroborate that she was herself. "I am waiting for it in the mail."

Isn't it amazing how much more articulate some people become when angry?

"Okay..." Alecia said, thinking to herself that this was exactly the way that someone who was stealing identification or up to something fishy would react. "Do you have any other ID, at all?"

"If this is going to be a big deal," the woman said, digging through her purse, her shoulders jerking with her abrupt movements. She retrieved a crumpled twenty dollar bill from the depths, and flung it at the girl behind the counter.

Alecia returned the debit card. "I'm sorry; it's just difficult to make out your signature."

"Not really," the woman said, in the exasperated tone usually reserved for police officers and IRS agents.

Alecia forced a small breath. In and out. "Maybe your eyesight is better than mine," she said. In and out. "Though, given the way you look, I doubt it."

"What did you just say to me?!"

Fuck breathing. "You know what? You're right. The first thing I thought when I woke up this morning was, I'm going to make Tanya Roberts' life difficult today! Seriously. I don't even know you. You know what? When you're the victim of credit card fraud, remember this incident, and the countless others like it. I don't think you're a criminal; I was trying to protect you from those who are."

"What's your name?"


"Fred." The woman sounded as if she didn't believe Alecia.

"Yup. 'Drive Angry' is due back tomorrow; you have everything else until Monday. Enjoy."

The woman seemed a bit flustered as she left the store. So flustered, she forgot to get her change. Alecia deemed it a tip and stuck it in her pocket.

*You could tell a man chose the color scheme, with its' bright orange and green hues.

No comments: