Friday, August 17, 2012

My Punishment

Last night Scott and I attended a screening of RiffTrax LIVE featuring a riffing of the hilariously execrable Manos:  The Hands of Fate.
I knew I wouldn’t be getting home until well past my bedtime, so, as I can always use a day off anyway, I decided to schedule a vacation day for today.
As I invariably do, I made use of the time off from work to make a Costco run, either because it’s much more convenient and the place is less crowded if I go on a weekday morning, because I hate myself and feel like I need to be punished for taking the time off from work, or some combination of the two.
Even though the place is much less crowded in the morning, making it much less painful and annoying than going in the evening or – *Shudder* – on the weekend, I still hate going there, and I think that, more than the allure of slightly cheaper gadgets and bulk quantities of laxatives – or whatever the hell it is I spend so much money on when I go there – I still really, really dislike the place.
I guess that, in the absence of work, I have a need to go someplace where I don’t want to go.


To add to the First World Problem-style annoyance of “having” to go to Costco, before I left this morning I found that I had lost my membership card.
So when I got there, I had to go to the Member Services desk to get a new one.  I was fortunate in that there was no line, and the process didn’t take long, but it still added up to additional precious minutes of my life wasted at Costco, precious minutes that I could have been wasting somewhere else.
After giving me my shiny new card, the woman behind the counter asked me if I needed a coupon book, or if I already had one.
”No thanks,” I said, “there wasn’t anything in it that I need.”
”Wow, you’re lucky if there’s nothing in there you need!  Only a man could say that.”


While I was standing in the parking lot smoking a cigarette before getting in the car, a little old lady who barely spoke English approached me and asked for some assistance.
It took some time for me to understand what it was she was asking me to do, but eventually I pieced it together.
She needed to see what kind of car battery she had, but she didn’t know how to pop the hood on her car so that she could look.
I’m glad that’s all it was, as that pretty much exhausted my knowledge of auto mechanics.


On the way home after the movie last night I stopped at a grocery store to pick up some things for the morning.
Having paused near the entrance to smoke a cigarette, I noted the two teenaged employees who were having a conversation while one of them was replacing the bags in the trash and recycling bins.  I came in on the tail-end of a conversation that made me sad:
Teen 1:  Who’s Alfred Hitchcock?
Teen 2:  You know, Alfred Hitchcock.  He was a famous director.
Teen 1:  Never heard of him.
That there was someone who is, presumably, old enough to drive, yet did not know who Alfred Hitchcock was made me feel old and sad.  Still, at least one of them knew who he was.
And then:
Teen 2:  I think he did, like, Citizen Kane or something.

Shortly before I finished my cigarette, a manager was making her way out of the store (having finished her shift, apparently), and she began chastising the one who was working (and he did remain busy throughout the whole conversation) for talking to the non-working one in front of – gasp! – customers.

Teen 2:  He’s clocked out.
Manager:  But you’re not.  How do you think it looks?
Teen 2:  Well, I didn’t want to say, “Dude, you can’t talk to me.”
Manager:  Maybe you should have.

I kind of wanted to say, “Look, lady; these kids have shitty jobs at your shitty store.  They’re not hurting anyone by having a conversation while getting work done.  I mean, it’s not neurosurgery; changing a trash bag doesn’t require extreme concentration.  I worked in a grocery store for years; it’s a shitty, boring job and you can’t fault young people for finding some way to pass the time.  If some customer is bothered by the fact that they’re talking to each other, who gives a shit?  I can tell you that the whole ‘the customer is always right’ thing is bullshit.  If you’re going to yell at them for anything, yell at them for not knowing who Alfred Hitchcock was.”
But, of course, I didn’t say that, or anything, but I kind of wish I had.

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