Today, I'd like you to meet Phyllis. Yes. I noticed her name. She works at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, one of those big box stores that I dislike, but it's next door to Trader Joe's (which I like) and I needed a kitchen scale. Maybe, through some miracle of synchronicity or karma she will read this. Wouldn't that be fun? Yes. It would. Or maybe her manager will read it. Even more fun! (Or maybe she is the manager. Which would figure.)
Here's how it went.
I stepped up to the counter dutifully, eyes appropriately averted (except for that time that I looked at her name badge), and put my stuff on the counter: a kitchen scale, and a few 50% off frames (2 8x10's, 1 5x7).
She rang them up. I watched to make sure the 50% off price was reflected. Crazy registers at that store by the way. The display shows the discount, but not the price--for example, when she scanned one, it said -12.50 . I knew they were half off, so I knew the price, but wouldn't make more sense to have the price show up, rather than the discount? And God have mercy on us all if the scanners break (are you old enough to remember when cashiers knew prices by memory? Yes. It's true)
So I had bought two 8x10 frames. And when she rang one up it said -12.50 and when she rang the other one up, it said -13.50. That's where the trouble began, horrible customer that I am.
I stopped her. I asked very nicely about why they would have rung up as different prices. She didn't look up and didn't look at the items or their price tags in any way. She just looked disgusted, and said "Maybe because they're different prices." Hmm. Interesting explanation.
I mentioned that I had thought they were the same, but I started to look at them more carefully, just in case they were, in fact, different in some way, in which case I would throw myself on the ground and grovel in penance for challenging the Authority of Phyllis. I understand the rules.
As I was looking at them, she deigned to look over at the frames for a brief second, and made her grand pronouncement. She had figured it out. She knew why they were different. She still sounded phenomenally irritated. And here's what she said: "This one is white." (she meant the mat inside the frame. The other one was cream colored).
And here's where it gets ugly. Hold on to your hats. I said (biting my finger here) "I don't think that a different color mat would account for a two dollar difference in price.". Uh-oh. One of those 1970's radicals with a Question Authority bumper sticker on her car who doesn't understand the first principle of physics: Scanners are always right. Or the second law of physics: Reason is irrelevant. Yup. That's me.
In the meantime, I had actually noticed that the wood frame was a little bit fancier (with the emphasis on "a little bit"--it's hardly different). And I had decided that that's probably why the bots who priced these made that one two dollars more. And I had decided that, given the sale price and Chain Saw Phyllis, it wasn't worth arguing. So I just said something like "Never mind, I figured it out" and I let it go.
Good thing I'm not a troublemaker. (really, I'm one of the nicer customers, especially here in Massachusetts where smiling at strangers is an offense punishable by death)
I know. I know all about working for minimum wage, and the curse of mindless jobs, and how we all have bad days once in a while (or more than once in a while), and how she'd no doubt rather be doing something else, and about elitism. Still. Did people love mindless work any better 30 years ago? Were they making six figure salaries back then in the good old days? Does being surly make her job any better or her wretched day pass any more quickly? Call me an elitist. Call me an old fogey. I don't get it.
Thank you for shopping at Here's What I Don't Get. Have a nice day!