Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pepper Hughes

(Pre-script: This post goes down nicely with a cold hit of "Where I Stood*, by Missy Higgins, # 46 on the playlist, be careful to change the lyrics to the chorus to the way I have re-written it in the post script below the post. Go down to the playlist, click on that page, then come back and resume reading...I'll wait...) (...still waiting...)
Every time I check out of Safeway, the Ever Efficient Checker pulls my receipt out of the cash register, looks down at it, and says "Thank you, Miss Hughes," and sometimes, "You saved 17.50 in club card sales." and sometimes, the Ever Efficient Checker even takes a pen and circles the amount of money I saved in club card sales. This is good, because maybe I am more of a visual learner than an auditory learner. In which case, just hearing "You saved 17.50." would confuse the daylights out of me. I mean, hypothetically, if I were a visual learner, and not at all auditory.
So after I am called "Miss Hughes," I usually just smile, say thanks, and walk out. I used to say "My last name is not "Hughes," and the checker would look at me with a concerned expression and say "Oh, it's not? Well, you can call the number on the back of your card and get that fixed. Oh wait, hold on, let me get a manager."
Like I want to wait around for a manager.
I just want to go home and get my ice cream into the freezer while it is still perfectly soft, but not totally melted already.
I never did call and fix the name apparently associated with my club card, because who cares. If I get the discount, why do I care if they call me "Miss Hughes?" It's not a bad name. I wonder what her first name is. I guess I can make one up. I will think about that, and get back to you...
Okay, I thought, and I came up with Pepper. So now in my mind, once I enter Safeway's doors, I now am a girl named Pepper Hughes, who totally knows all the words to every muzak song played over the sound system for the enjoyment of her grocery shopping experience. She also knows all the current celebrity drama and trauma from the covers of the magazines near the check out. One of these days, she just might apply for a Safeway club card. She is not at all self conscious when the checker announces to the entire line just exactly how much she saved on groceries today, down to the cent, not at all tempted to shout out, "Now that's getting personal!" When Ever Efficient Checker makes this announcent. Michelle might have felt that way, and be tempted to call the checker out on it, but not Pepper. Michelle might have asked for help unloading her grocery bags into her car, but not Pepper. Pepper does not need a bagger to help unloading the groceries, because she herself does not have to unload them; once she leaves the store, she is instantly Michelle again, and it's Michelle's job to unload the groceries...why should Pepper care? She shouldn't. Michelle doesn't mind it either, because loading and unloading the groceries is good for "the guns."
Now a funny thing happened last Sunday as I was checking out at Safeway. The Ever Efficient Checker pulled out my receipt, looked down at it, did a double take, then said something like, "Oh, that's odd, there is no name on your receipt." I said something like that it was okay, that I could handle it. I said "Is that what they teach you in Safeway training, to read the people's names before they leave?" (Because I know they don't teach them the proper way to give the customer back his or her change. You only need to shop at a grocery store anywhere to know that they never teach them how to properly give back change, or that the checkers, as a rule, fail to commit that part of the lesson to memory.) He said "Yes, it's supposed to add a personal touch." I said "That's interesting; it does nothing for my shopping experience to have my name called out. Have a nice afternoon...Tony."
Then Pepper walked out the automatic doors...and Michelle pushed the cart to the car and unloaded the groceries into it. I think she had saved 30.59.


*"Cause I don't know who I am, who I am at Safeway; all I know is that I should. And I don't know if I can stand another hand upon my...Safeway Club Card, all I know is that I should...'cause she will rock it, and not take things personally, more than I could, she who dares to stand where I stood."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Pepper would be bothered if one of the checkers throws her groceries? Because it REALLY bothers me. So much in fact that I will go to the longest line to avoid the throwing checker. AND tell Pepper that she should feel lucky that she has an easy last name because they always awkwardly stumble over mine until I just say it for them so I can get my mile long receipt and 20 million coupons. It seems easy to me but apparently it's a doozy.