Supermarket Wisdom: Speak, Write Like You Mean It!

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.

Words matter.


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