Filters. Verbal filters. As in, I wish customers weren’t taking advantage of this unsettling time to speak their thoughts at the exact moment they think them. Example par excellence:
Middle-aged male customer enters store after reading large sign outside, looks around, then says to me with what has become the usual note of suspicion, “Everything is 60% off?”
He then wanders around for a few minutes, picks up a couple books, returns to the counter.
“So you’re closing, then?”
He nods, goes on shopping, and then comes back to the counter.
“So you’re losing your job?”
Nod, shop, shop, shop, then there he is again at the counter. He points at my belly.
“So what, you must be at least 9 months, huh? What’re you, post-date?”
An utterly harmless & well-meaning man, but my inner-Austen was bristling: “Insupportable!”
When Vincent has been denied something he dearly wants and feels he clearly must have (such as a broom to chase to chase the cat with, or a fresh bar of soap to gnaw on, to name the two most recent catalysts), like most toddlers, he has a tantrum. As he is my first child, and still an only for 7 more weeks, I’m unsure how a/typical his tantrums are, but I find them fascinating: he falls to his knees in abject despair, lays his head in his hands, and howls. Howls.
And then it’s over. Like a thunderstorm that breaks a hot Georgia afternoon, a miracle of rage and release.
I empathize. This retirement sale is wearing me down. It’s such a bizarre way for us to be doing business. And egads, the neverending questions: Yes, everything is 50% off, exactly as the Big Sign advertises. No, we’re no longer honoring the Educator’s Discount — unless you’d rather have 10% off instead of the 50% we’re offering. Your choice. And no, we definitely do not have any more Obama books, that ship sailed days and days ago.
And how depressing it is that while the rest of the store shelves are emptying, the poetry section seems as full as ever. Do we actually, literally, need to give poetry books away?
I could whine all day, but that would be obnoxious, and only slightly entertaining, so I’ll take my cue from Vincent and keep it brief. However, I’d really really like to howl.