Walgreen’s, Delaware Ave., Buffalo, March 19, 2013


I was in a hurry to pick The Boy up from daycare and stopped in for some DayQuil and a bottle of water. There were three people in line in front of me and I knew I should have just abandoned my purchases and left but I did not.

The lady in front of me was purchasing three identical boxes of crackers, some candy which I can’t remember now, and a pair of flip-flops, black.

The woman in front of her was attempting to haggle with the cashier. It soon became clear that she was trying to buy a tester bottle of perfume, since they were apparently out of that particular brand.

Woman’s friend: You can’t buy that!
Woman: It’s the tester. But I wanna buy it. Maybe she’ll give it tuh me for cheaper, for half-off or a quarter off. Can I have it for half off?

Cashier: I’ll go ask Kevin.

Just as I was about to give up while the cashier went to look for Kevin, another employee got my attention and told me there was no line over in the cosmetics department. I jogged there.

But there was already someone ahead of me. She had her faux-fur coat (edit: I guess it could have been real. Maybe a rich aunt left it to her? Maybe she spent all her money on one really nice fur coat? Maybe she raises and skins rabbits?) completely spread out on the counter, and was leaning on it so far over that she almost looked like she was laying down, with her feet on the floor. 

She was paying for the cosmetics she had purchased by fishing them out of her large purse and handing them, one at a time, to the cashier, a young Latina woman whose ethnicity will be relevant in a moment.

The customer: You know, I don’t have to steal (she pulls a compact out of her purse).

Cashier: OK? That’s $10.24

Customer (fiddling with change): Oh, God bless. God bless you, sweetheart. Can you open this lipstick for me?

She asked the woman to open the lipstick container for her. The cashier obliges. Now I’m late picking up The Boy from daycare but I’m already sucked into this little one-act play.

Customer: What kind of lipstick is this?

Cashier: Eet call “Whett enn Wile”

Customer: What?

Cashier: “Whett enn Wile”

Customer: What?

Cashier: I don’t know. It’s the brand.

Customer: What color is it?

(Yes, I’d like to add this all happened. I’m still waiting to buy my DayQuil and water)

Somehow, the cashier explains to the woman that the name of the lipstick color is listed on a chart elsewhere in the cosmetics department. I don’t understand, because I wold assume that the color was also written right on the package, but I’m not about to ask.

Customer: Will you show me, honey?

Cashier: Uhhh…

Just then, my Deus Ex Machina appears in the form of Kevin, who throws his employee to the customer and says, “You go help her. I’ll cash this guy out.”

Kevin apologizes to me for the long wait. I wanted to make some kind of comment to acknowledge the particularly high level of crazy in the store today, but I just say, “That’s OK, thanks.”

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