A Knack

This morning I had left the house a little ahead of schedule and as I was passing the Target that’s on my way to work, I realized that my knee was hurting a little still from the marathon* and that it would be a great idea to have some Icy Hot or whathaveyou at work for this sort of thing. I’d dash into and out of Target and it’d be great.

So dash in I did, grabbed some spray Icy Hot and even swooped through the greeting card aisle to get some thank-you cards for everyone who donated to Misericordia**.

Spray Icy Hot, by the way, is one of the marvels of the modern era. I love Icy Hot and Tiger Balm and Perform and Bio-Freeze and all the various menthol- and/or camphor-based post-workout lotions. But, it turns out, I also love rubbing my eyes. And so it’s often a sudden awakening when I accidentally give myself a Beezin’ a few hours after putting some lotion on my knee.

I got out to the car and went to apply some Icy Hot before I got back on the road. I popped the top off the canister and it was missing the part you push down to actually spray it out. Dangit. So I grabbed my receipt and went back inside.

Back in Target, there was a short line at Customer Service. The guy at the front of the line was trying to get the customer service employee to help him with a problem with his Target REDcard and she kept telling him that all she could with those was take payments and he’d have to call the customer service number on the bill. He was mumbling and fiddling with stuff on the counter and she kept politely saying, “that sounds like quite a problem; you’ll need to call this number and tell them about it”.

And that’s my knack.

A lot of people notice that it always seems like the checkout line they get in goes the slowest, or that they get stuck behind someone who doesn’t know how to use the self checkout. That’s normal. I think I have a knack for getting stuck behind people in checkouts who are having interesting problems.

  • The two guys trying to buy a case of beer who looked fourteen and had between them one expired Panamanian driver’s license that they kept handing back and forth between them and to the cashier.
  • The woman trying to buy a UPC-less lint roller who just kept insisting, “but it was on a shelf!” and it took two managers to figure out whether they even sold it at this store before they finally figured out that it was a single roller that was only sold in a two-pack. “But it was on a shelf!”
  • A different two guys trying to buy a case of beer who had one guy with an ID and the cashier was actually willing to sell them the beer as long as that guy completed the entire transaction on his own. I know a lot of places were it’d be against policy, but this cashier seemed willing to bend just so far. But I swear this cycle happened three times:
    [No-ID Guy starts to hand Has-ID Guy a $10.]
    Cashier: I can’t sell you the beer if you [points at No-ID Guy] don’t have ID and give him [points at Has-ID Guy] money.
    [No-ID guy pulls back the $10.]
    Has-ID Guy: I’m not paying for this beer all on my own!
    [No-ID Guy starts to hand Has-ID Guy a $10.]
    Cashier: I can’t sell you the beer if you…
    I wanted to yell “settle up in the parking lot!” but eventually the cashier got tired of repeating himself and just put the beer on the floor and said, “OK, nope, no beer for you.”

Maybe I’m lucky. I mean, we all wait in lines and maybe I just notice how entertaining other people’s problems can be. And yes, I did eventually get a replacement for my Spray Icy Hot and got to work just a minute late, smelling of menthol.

* At this point, all my stories are running stories, even if they aren’t running stories.
** See?