I’m in the middle of a war with the liquor store clerk. A very polite, slow moving, full blown nuclear war.
It started with the baskets. I used to go into the liquor store and buy a case of wine (extra 15% off!) by pulling two or three bottles and putting them on the counter until I had 12. Although I was very quick and I tried to be sure I placed them somewhere out of the way of other patrons, I found this particular clerk (I’ll call her “Hagatha”) really didn’t like my style of shopping.
“We have baskets!” Hagatha would say, cheerily, but with a sinister undertone I can only compare to Dr. Hannibal Lecter asking where the food store keeps its fava beans.
“I’m good,” I’d say.
“Can I get you a basket?” she’d ask the next time in the happy tone of Kathy Bates asking for an autograph in Misery.
“Basket will save you some trips!” she’d offer, like Nurse Ratched offering health tips.
I got the hint and started using the basket. I’d roll the basket to the counter and place the bottles, but no matter where I put them, she’d have to shift them. I’m a little OCD myself, so I thought “Ah, she likes them to the left and neatly lined up with the labels facing her.” So I did that. Nope. Put them on the left, she shifted them to the right. One at a time.
Slide. Slide. Slide. Slide. Slide. Slide. Slide. Slide. Slide. Slide. Slide. Slide.
Twelve freaking bottles moved two inches to the right. One at a time. Every time.
Short of wrestling with her, I couldn’t think of a way to stop the Marching of the Bottles. But I did find a way to find myself feel a little better about it.
One time, I couldn’t find the rubber-tipped pen to sign their fancy new credit card processing contraption. So I tried my finger, which worked just fine.
I think I heard Hagatha growl.
So the next time I didn’t even look for the pen and used my finger again, while she scrambled to find the pen and thrust it at me.
“I got it,” I said, already finished. I have a ridiculous signature that basically amounts to a wavy line.
The next time she found and held the pen out for me while I swiped my card.
I used my finger.
“It’s easier this way,” I said. Smile.
Her face twitched. Smile. A smile that said, “No biggie.” Or she was grinning at the idea of my untimely death. It was hard to tell.
I left with a sick sense of victory. Now I always slide my finger across that signature screen.
Slide. Slide. Slide.
It’s enough to drive you to drink.
Photo: “Sommelier Knife2” by Haragayato – Photo taken by Haragayato using a FujiFilm FinePix40i, and edited.. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sommelier_Knife2.jpg#/media/File:Sommelier_Knife2.jpg
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