The teen-aged cashier looks at me. She grits her teeth and inhales:
“Did you find everything?”
The pain grows on her face. Was that a silent prayer I heard muttered —
“Please, say yes. Please!”
I’m tired of lying to appease. I know the routine. She’s trained to say, “Did you ask someone?”
That means a 10-15 minute wait as the scared young man goes “in back.” His fear of another irate customer causes him to slow down more before returning with a “The next truck comes Tuesday. Sorry…”
Asking for a rain check brings a related cross-examination.
“Wasn’t there any on the shelf? Did they ask someone to check in back?” That’s the supervisor who has to give approval to the teen.
Ask who? Where?
Flash-forward to the teen checker. At last, I have my reply:
“You really don’t want me to answer that, do you?”
An embarrassed giggle. She stares at her shoes and hands me a receipt.
I take my bag, then head for the higher-priced grocer in town.
Lower prices don’t come without a cost. I return to the keyboard, determined to know what I want the next sentence to accomplish before I commit it to the screen.