From Basement Rat:
It must have been a full moon over the past holidays, because it sure brought the “crazy” out in the little mid –western town I live in. I took a part time holiday job at a local “Dollar” store, the kind of place that sells most things for one dollar, more or less. The place carries some clothes, household , food, beauty, knick-knacks and sundry items that are over –runs and close –outs from other stores. A sort of Walmart in miniature , both for the bargains and the people who shop there.
I had a hinky feeling about the young couple who strolled in just before Christmas. He was wearing an ill -fitting cowboy hat and matching belt buckle, she had on a pair of sequined shorts over torn leggings.
They walked around all wide eyed and stopped in front of the gift cards. Plastic debit cards in different denominations, where you select how much money you want to put on it to give as a gift. They oohed and ahh-ed about them before selecting a $100.00 card along with a large candy bar. They were ready to check out.
I took the gift card to activate, wrung up the purchase and told them that the total was $107.06.
They both smiled and the girl said gleefully in sweet Hillbilly tones: “See, we got extra coz it’s Christmas!"
I waited for the money, they kept smiling and then asked for the card to be wrapped, “All pretty like.”
I again said that the total was $107.06…more smiles, then the guy said: “Can ya hurry up , we gots ta go.”
A manager saw what was going on and soon intervened. The cowboy told him that I was not giving him his gift card and he wanted to inform “corporate” coz that ain’t no way to treat folk.”
The manager asked if he paid for the card? That question was met with quizzical stares from the couple.
“No , see, thems gif cards!" said the young lady. “You doesn’t pay for gifs, you get’em. “Why they call ‘em gif cards ,if ya gotta pay?”
In the nicest way possible the manger explained the workings of “Gift Cards”and felt bad for the couple, out of his own pocket he paid for a $25.00 card and gave it to them. The couple looked at the card and said “We’d druther the $100.00 one."
As the day progressed things got weirder. There were the usual discount rats, where they would damage an item to get a discount, the thing is they were damaging $1.00 items to get a discount. The people who’d let their children run through the store playing hide and seek and a few assorted souls who thought we could deliver their purchases to their homes for Christmas.
Between the rush of last minute bargain hunters, a man buys a cigarette lighter and puts and empty bag of potato chips on the counter. He takes out his bill fold hands me a $5.00 bill, while chewing with a full mouth, he tells me to throw the bag away. I asked him if he ate the bag of chips and he says yes. I then ring up $2.12. He starts screaming that it should only be $1.06. I told him that since he ate the bag of chips he could consider them sold. He then said that they tasted lousy and that he didn’t want them, but you ate them I said, so you pay for them. Another threat to corporate and the manager waived him through…sometimes you just have to pick your battles.
The holiday crush ended with the store being in shambles and the discovery of a large turd on a shelf near some broken Christmas tree ornaments. …T’was the season.