Just Let Me Count Your Change and Go Home

Adventures behind the cash register yesterday:

1. An elderly couple came to my lane to check out; he was wearing a turquoise amulet and she was wearing an “I Voted” sticker. After I’d already rung them up, announced the total ($27ish), and run his credit card, he was about to sign for the order when suddenly he became outraged over the total. He started to yell at me in accented English while I tried to explain that at this point I couldn’t see the items’ prices anymore; that he’d have to sign and then I could see what they rang up as on the receipt. His wife piped up to try and explain the cost of the items, when suddenly he turned to her and yelled in French “Don’t you dare contradict me in public! Fuck you!” Her face fell and she suddenly became very interested in her shoelaces. My face turned completely purple and I froze, wishing like hell that I hadn’t understood him. I haven’t had many awful customers, but this asschapeau definitely topped the charts.

2. On the other side of the customer interaction spectrum, later that night I was ringing out a customer when I looked up and recognized him. I had to sneak a peek at his credit card before I remembered his name, but I knew immediately that he was the university opera director. Before he left, I summoned the courage to tell him that, although I’m sure he didn’t remember me, I was in his symphony when we did Leonard Bernstein’s Mass several years back and it was one of the most incredible, transformative experiences of my life. We went on to have a brief conversation about how I was no longer a musician, and he kindly pretended to remember me and pushed me to start playing again. It was a bit awesome.

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