Tonight I was at Ideal Market (its basically a mini Whole Foods), picking up a few things on my way home. I was waiting in the checkout line when a friendly male voice cried, “Madame!”
I turned to meet the cashier’s warm gaze. I smiled. No one had ever called me “madame” before. Cheerfully, he continued, “I would be happy to help you in this lane!” I mused to myself, “The people are just so friendly here!” as I clutched my green basket of victuals and marched over to his register. One by one I placed my choices on the conveyor belt…. One red bell pepper, 4 smallish yams, a package of turkey bacon, a few pounds of boneless skinless chicken breast, frozen berries, and tub of Cool Whip. With pep and vigor I’d never before observed in a grocery store cashier, he scanned each of my items while the bagger took them one by one and placed them in my paper bag. It was like any other trip to the grocery store, only better because I didn’t have to wait in line and my cashier was extra friendly. I could not have asked for a more user-friendly grocery shopping experience.
Until the tall cashier peered down at me and asked “Cool Whip?” in much the same tone one might use if they were saying… oh I don’t know.. “Rat poison?” I looked into his beady eyes as he went on, “We have that here?”
“Do you know what’s in that?”
“Do we have to discuss it?”
The friendly vibe vanished and in its place descended a cloud of tension thicker than the hard layer that congeals atop a room-temperature Tostitos queso dip.
Was this guy for real? Was he really asking me if I knew what was in the Cool Whip!? For one thing, YES I KNOW WHAT IS IN THE COOL WHIP!!! Which is why I buy it on a quarterly basis. Which is why everything else in my basket was totally healthy. Which is why Cool Whip is like crack for me and it probably will disappear within 72 hours. What was he, my mother? No wait, my mother would have looked at the Cool Whip and asked me why I forgot to buy ice cream. Didn’t someone once say “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”??? I mean, I don’t smoke, I don’t do drugs, I exercise about a million hours a week, I don’t drink soda (except the occasional Diet Coke and yes I know what’s in that too, thank you), I drink water like its going out of style, I call my grandparents semi-regularly, and I can’t even tell you the last time I sat down to watch The Real World, The Hills, or The Real Housewives of Orange County. So I don’t want to hear it from this self-important cashier.
I think there is a saying, “The Customer is Always Right.” Here’s a new one I made up: “The Cashier should always kindly ring up your stuff without giving you a hard time about partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup or anything else that makes you happy.”