Recently, I was at Home Depot at the butt-crack of dawn so I wouldn’t have to deal with a lot of people. In and out in less than ten was the plan. All I needed was a small bag of mulch and soil to replenish Zelda’s habitat. I guess I didn’t come early enough.
This Cadillac driving old fart went in one door and I went in the other, but I ended up behind him in line. He had a folding ladder on a cart and LAST WEEK’S flyer in his hand. The young lady gave him the total at which point he flew into a rage, slammed the aforementioned flyer down on her counter, and began gesticulating wildly at a picture of a ladder similar to the one on his cart while screaming that the ladder was HALF that price! I felt a familiar feeling creeping up my spine to the part of the brain that evolved when man had to kill big ol’ mammoths to survive. This guy was beginning to look awfully woolly to me.
The cashier tried to reason with the jerk by pointing out the flyer was for the TWO DAY sale that had ended days earlier and the ladder on his cart was NOT the ladder in the flyer anyway. Instead of acknowledging his mistake, Goober screams at her that he knows the flyer is outdated and the ladder isn’t the one advertised but he couldn’t come in during the sale because he was at the beach and now all the ladders in the flyer were gone so he wanted the more expensive ladder TODAY for the price in the flyer and he was the customer so he wanted it NOW.
I was just about to tap him on the shoulder and tell him people in Hell want ice water, and offer him a binkie so he’d leave and I could get my turtle’s mulch. Fortunately, a manager had heard the “debate” and asked the whining, spray-tanned Baby Boomer to come to the service desk. I paid for my $3.00 mulch, thanked the girl for being so incredibly patient with an obviously mentally deficient person and went on my way.
Driving home, the whole fiasco reminded me of an episode several years ago when I was on a date with Budge, at a eatery in Spartanburg. Our waitress was working the section alone because the other two girls called in “sick” and it was her FIRST night solo after a week of training. I told her to stay calm and not worry about us. Everything’d be alright.
The other patrons had some differences of opinion. One couple was on an early-in-the-relationship date and oblivious to time passing because they had so entranced each other. A family with two children in diapers got up and left without eating once the little ones began a full-scale meltdown. The three other tables didn’t say much.
That left one particular old fart who berated that poor waitress every chance he got. He sent his food back twice and his wife’s back once. His glass was never full enough. On and on and on for nearly two hours. Finally, he and his wife took their bill straight to the manager and began relating a tale of woe. I only caught snatches of the conversation, but the gist was the waitress was incompetent and an idiot to boot and he demanded a complementary meal or he’d “call corporate.”
The manager folded like a cheap lawn chair when a fat man sits in it, comes back to the section and starts apologizing and fussing over everyone and offering free desserts and all sorts of what not. Then she goes in the back where the waitress has just disappeared when the girl returned, she was trying hard to keep from bursting into tears. The manager reappeared and came over to our table and started her spiel about how sorry she was for the poor service, etc, etc.
I put my hand up and said, “Ma’am, sit down please. I need to explain something to you.” She looked funny at me but she complied and I told her what I’ve told several other jackasses in restaurants since then. I said,
“Ma’am, I’m sitting at a nice table with my beloved. In a little bit, that little girl is going to BRING food to me that’ll be hot, delicious, AND four times more than enough for one meal. We just sit her and wait. On the other hand, my daddy ate twenty year old C-Rations unheated and covered with flies and mosquitoes because it’s what he had in Vietnam. Right now, a gang of little boys and girls are scrounging a massive garbage dump outside Guatemala City for rotten fruit, moldy bread, and maybe a few bones with a scrap of green meat on them to eat. Finally, I could take you in my car not ten miles from here to a group under a bridge trying to fix a bit of stew that will be all they’ll eat tonight and most of tomorrow. I don’t want free dessert, I don’t want a complementary meal, and I surely don’t care what that ignorant jackass who just left said. That girl has worked like a galley slave doing the best she could and I guarantee that jerk didn’t even leave her a quarter for a tip. Thankfully, Mama and Granny raised me to be grateful and generous so I’ll make up for his lack of manners.”
I had a lot more money then AND I’d just gotten my paycheck for the month so I laid a $100 bill on the table, told the waitress to keep the change, took Budge by the hand and walked our happy asses to the car.
I’m nothing special, but I do know one thing. Just because someone is serving you in some capacity, you do not have the right to make their life a little piece of Hell. Stick your thumb in your mouth, suck it up, be thankful for what you’ve got, and act like you’ve got some raising. We are all in this together. Some of us are just more blessed or just plain luckier than others.
Keep that in mind this weekend and make sure to keep those feet clean.