It was a typical Saturday in mid-August—sunny, 98 degrees with 347% humidity. I dragged the dogs outside with me where they promptly dug under the boxwoods until I heard Chinese barking. The neighbors say I’m nuts for gardening in such heat, but it’s the perfect excuse to skip ironing and delve into my garage frig stash of Miller High Life.
I was swapping out rechargeable batteries on the weed whacker when my husband called from Lowes Home Improvement Center (“Home Improvement” being the Latin translation for, “Something at Home is Always Broken”). “I need to ask you a question.” He said in that, How Would You Feel if I Got A New Job Half Way Across The Country? voice. “Oh kaaay…” I said in my, “Did You Quit Today?” voice.
“Do you want the Dancing Holly Jolly Christmas Tigger or the Bell Ringing Let it Snow Winnie the Pooh?”
Dogs howled; squirrels fell from trees; cars slammed on their brakes. My son ran outside, “Who died?”
“Sa sa sa Santa!” I whimpered.
“Santa hasn’t ridden down the snow covered hill on the Norelco razor… School hasn’t started and it’s not even Labor Day yet!”
Turns out Scott asked the store manager why they put the stuff out so early. “Just obeying orders from the Higher Ups.”
“I understand,” he empathized, and then asked for the Higher Up’s E-mail address. He wrote to the regional manager, protesting Christmas merchandise displayed so early — plus the frustration of not being able to purchase summer merchandise during, well, summer. “We have customers who tell us they really appreciate us stocking Christmas supplies this early,” replied Mr. Higher Up. Which is the Latin translation for, “We care what other customers think but not you. You, sir, must be the only oddball customer we have!”
Apparently Retail Store Managerial Types’ first training Course is, How to tell a customer they’re opinion is worthless, without specifically saying so. This was reaffirmed the following week at Super Target as I noted every plastic bag the cashier handed me ripped. “Can you double bag those please? I’d like to make it to my car without the Kotex landing on the asphalt.” He happily obliged.
Ironically, there was a manager in line behind me with another customer. “I don’t know if you have any say in the matter, but could you please let the person who purchases your bags know these are poor quality?” She immediately quipped, “No one else has ever had a problem with those bags before!” I held up the ripped double-bagged sack and said, “Well I do. And I had it last week and I’m telling you now. Please don’t make me feel stupid by saying no one else has had this problem.”
“Well, the corners of those binders you bought can rip bags.” I resisted the urge to hiss, “Look you little sorry excuse for management — I’ve been shopping since before you were born! How ’bout a little respect here?” Instead I blithely replied, “Miss, every bag rips as soon as one item goes in. How sharp are the corner of those maxi pads, do think? But hey,” I shrugged as I swiped my VISA through the little red box, “Don’t mind me. I’m just a paying customer.”