Thursday, October 14, 2010

Neither Rain Nor Sleet Nor Snow...

New Jersey towns are neither prompt nor efficient when it comes to snow removal. So when a storm rolls into the area, it doesn't take long for the highways to cover over. At the same time, Jersey drivers don't seem to have any understanding of what snow and ice do to those highways. My point is that it's a good idea to stay home on days when more than four inches of snow fall in New Jersey.

Back when I first started working retail at CompUSA, I had yet to experience the true stupidity of customers. Likewise, I'd never worked during a snowstorm before, so when a nasty system came through and dropped 8 inches on us, I honestly expected business to be slow. I mean, who goes out during a winter storm to shop for computers? I could understand if it was a business/school emergency, but otherwise people should be smart enough to stay home.

How inexperienced and naive I was.

Now, truth be told, it was a quiet night in the store compared to a regular night. But the people who did come in just blew my mind. People were trudging through the snow for the dumbest things. Case screws, compressed air, dust covers, computer games - it all seemed so trivial. I kept telling myself that all these people must've driven four wheel drive vehicles so that the snow wasn't a big deal.

But then this little old man came up to the register with a cheap-o CompUSA mousepad. He dropped it on the counter and asked, "How much is this?"

It was one of the more common items we sold, so I didn't have to scan it. "99 cents," I said.

He throws up his hands like I'm robbing him. "Pfft! For that?" That thing should be ten cents!"

I wanted to tell him that prices had changed since the 1930's, but I kept quiet like a good little retail employee. It didn't matter anyway, because as soon as he said that, he turned and shuffled his way out the door and into the storm. I HAD to see what kind of car had brought this little old man out during a winter storm just so he could hassle me over 90 cents. So I watched through the door as he got into a tiny little 1980's hatchback that looked like a wind-up toy. I can't imagine how that thing handled in the snow, but I hope it was good enough to withstand his late night search for a cheap mouspad in the middle of a snowstorm.

Shopping Tip of the Day: If you're going to go shopping in a snowstorm, don't you DARE complain about a lack of employees to help you.