I miss the days when going to the store was quick and easy. You’d give the cashier money and they’d give you change. Today, buying a quart of milk could take up to one hour. The cashier first asks, “Do you have a rewards card?” When you tell him you left it at home, he requests your phone number so he can bring it up on the computer.

The next question is, “Do you have e-mail?” “Yes.” The follow-up is, “Can I have your e-mail address?” “No.”  Shock registers on his face. “No? Why not?” “Because I don’t want to give it to you, that’s why.” That leads to the next question which is, “Do you have a Face Book account?” “Yes.” “Good. Then you can like us on Face Book and receive coupons and sales alerts.” “I don’t think I’ll like you on Face Book.” “It’s easy to like us on Face Book.” “The more you keep pestering me to like you, the less I like you, Walter.” Annoyance.

He moves on. “In that case, do you tweet?” “Why?” “If you tweeted you could follow us on twitter.” “What makes you think if I don’t like you on Face Book I’d want to follow you on twitter?” Rejection. “In that case can I have your address?” “Why?” “So, we can send you coupons.” “Just send the coupons the same place you send the bill we get every month.” Defiance. “Well, there’s no address coming up on my screen.” “And yet, every month we get a bill.” Resignation. “Today with your purchase you get a coupon for 10 % off your next purchase. It’s good till the end of the month.” “The end of the month? Today is the 29th. The end of the month is tomorrow. I have less than twenty-four hours to use a coupon? What if I was to return all this stuff now and come back tomorrow?” “To make a return I’ll need to see some form of valid identification and you’ll need to fill out this form here, here and here.”

I walk out of the store (relief on both our faces) with milk that expired while on line, a soon to be expired coupon and expired patience.

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