Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Blue Light Special on Defibrillators, Aisle 12

Another day at the job. They finished teaching me (mostly) how to use the register, though that woman who paid with a traveler's check threw me for a loop. It was crazy-swamped, so I basically was ringing people up non-stop all day. This was good as I had a really bad ache in my lower back and abdomen that you'll either understand, or you won't, and not having a chance to catch my breath was a convenient way to avoid thinking about it. Unfortunately, the pain started at about 3:30 this morning, woke me up, and refused to let me go to sleep again until 5:30. My alarm went off two hours later, and oh yeah, I went to bed at 1 AM last night. So yeah, four hours of sleep. I managed to stay focused thanks to orange soda, vanilla Chai tea, and diet coke. That and the fact that interacting with people causes my heart rate to increase precipitously and I act like I'm on a caffeine high anyway.

But not too bad, all said and done. I think I did pretty well learning the ropes of cashiering.

But... This one woman brought up a tall ceramic vase but noticed that it had a large chip in the side, so she didn't buy it after all. It was pretty big so I stuck it in the corner of my little cashier stand thingy where I didn't think I'd trip over it, planning to bring it over to the service desk at the first available moment to ask if it was going to be returned or marked down to clearance or what.

Problem was, there wasn't really an available moment, and the next thing I knew I was calling over one of the other employees who was working up front, a middle-aged woman who is a regular employee, to help me with something I didn't understand on the register, and as she left, she brushed the vase and knocked it over. The top broke clean off. She immediately looked at me and said in the darkest voice you can imagine, "Why was this here?"

I swear to god my heart stopped. That tone of voice is the exact same tone that a certain teacher at the daycare I used to work at used with me when she thought I wasn't properly supervising the kids, despite the fact that you can't always sprint across sand fast enough to stop a kid from kicking sand in another's face. It always made me feel like the world's biggest idiot, and like I had done something wrong, despite knowing full well that it wasn't entirely my fault. I swear, I have nightmares about that woman and the way she treated me. She gave me the respect a Southern plantation wife would give to a particularly clumsy, uneducated slave girl that she regrets wasting her husband's money on. She sort of treated me like one of her kindergarteners, except she was allowed to make me do work- despite the fact that my job was not, and never was supposed to be, working for her in the kindergarten room. I hated how that woman made me feel.

And then, to hear that same sort of inflection in my co-worker's voice today... It scared me, and I kind of had a panicky moment. So I did the only thing I could, I told her why I had put it there- it was chipped and I hadn't had a chance to bring it to returns- and the weirdest thing happened to her. It was like total change of attitude ("Oh, it was chipped? That's okay then, we wouldn't have resold it anyway," sort of cheerful but still matter-of fact), and she morphed from Scary Kindergarten Teacher back to a normal human being, and I calmly debated buying myself a defibrillator for the future.

I bet they sell them at Wal-mart. I'll ask Mack.

And in other news, that Harley Quinn doll that I kinda really want despite being much too old for Barbies is in fact only $8.00, which means I only would have to pay $7.20, but I still can't decide if I want to be the sort of girl who buys a supervillain Barbie for herself. I definitely want to be the kind of girl who owns one, it's the buying that I question.


Anonymous said...

Bravo, magnificent phrase and is duly

Anonymous said...

I perhaps shall keep silent

Anonymous said...

At you a uneasy choice