Friday, September 29, 2006
A Tale of Two Tantrums
I don't like to have tantrums in public. I don't mean the face-first on the floor, kicking and screaming type (though those have their place), I just mean the calm and intense, "I need to speak with your manager now" variety. I would truly, truly just prefer to go to a business establishment, do my business, and leave, without being memorable or annoying in the slightest way. Honest.

But sometimes, they just make me do it. And even though I don't like to do it, I'm pretty darn good at it. If I do say so myself.

Exhibit A, on Wednesday night I went to the grocery store for a quick pre-dinner necessities run. Milk, soda, ice cream, grapes. You know, the basics. So when I came to the soda aisle, as is my wont, I started at one end, looked at the prices for Pepsi products, and then (*gasp*) held that number in my head all the way down to the other end of the aisle to compare it to the Coke products. Then I buy whichever is cheaper. I understand, there's a certain level of blasphemy in the fact that I don't care which brand I buy. I have accepted this about myself.

So, this time, the Pepsi products had a bright neon orange sign in the middle of the display proclaiming 3/$10. Okay. Down at the other end, there was the same style of bright neon orange sign in the same relative position within the 12-packs, stating 4/$10. Now, I'm no rocket scientist, but I was pretty sure that made Coke cheaper, and was even willing to hazard a guess that, at the register, they would appear on the checkout screen thingy as $2.50 each.


They scanned in as $4.00 each. Which seemed to me like a big margin of error.

Now, on Wednesday, I was tired. It had been a long day at work and I have had a sort of fatigue/malaise for the past day, which I'm hoping is not a precursor to illness (but if it is, who cares?!? I get health insurance on Monday!!). So I was willing to accept that maybe, possibly, I was so tired and out of it that what I thought said $4/10 actually said $4.00. I *doubted* it, but I was willing to grant the possibility.

Since there was no one in line behind me, I very calmly and almost timidly said to the Snotty Cashier, "I'm pretty sure those were $4/10." She glared at me with the disdain and impatience that only a 16-year-old can muster, and turned to the Nearly Brain-Dead Bag Boy who was apparently three hours shy of major withdrawal if the twitching and vacant stare are any indication, and sort of head-jerked him back toward the soda aisle with a "Go price check" mutter. Which he very obediantly, and surprisingly quickly, did, reporting back that the sign did, in fact, say $4/10.

Now the Snotty Cashier wsa risking neck injury, because she had to glare at both of us with that angst and disgust. She flicked her little light-post switch that made the checkout number flash, and eventually the Podium Girl came over.

The Podium Girl (who is NOT a manager, and don't ever make THAT mistake) stands at her little podium, facing all of the cashiers, ready to leap over at an instant to solve any and all arguments or difficulties. Or she hangs out there to flirt with the Football Bag Boy and sighs as though the weight of the world is on her shoulders when someone interrupts her giggle-and-hair-twirl maneuver, and then walks so slowly as to be almost invisible, as though if she moves slow enough we'll all forget why the special little light-post switch was flicked in the first place. Podium Girl is all of 18, so she is wicked more mature and streetwise than Snotty Cashier.

Snotty Cashier explained the situation, and Podium Girl asked, "Well, did you do a price check?" Snotty Cashier indicated that Nearly Brain-Dead Bag Boy had done one, allowing them a moment of eye-rolling bonding. Podium Girl headed back to the soda aisle herself, and came back holding the bright neon orange sign, which she waved at me and said, "This says it's for 6-packs only. Not 12-packs." My statement that it was right in the middle of all the 12-packs didn't hold much weight with her. She actually said, "No, it's right here." Well, thanks, sweetheart, I can SEE it in your perfectly-manicured authoritative little hand, but it wasn't in that particular hand 10 minutes ago when I was in the aisle, now, was it?

When this all started, there was no one behind me in line. By now, there were 4 people behind me and I wasn't looking to ruin their days. So I told the Snotty Cashier, "Just ring it up, I'll deal with it." Which was apparently a cue to Podium Girl to evaporate because clearly she had done her job to perfection.

I paid, then walked over to Podium Girl, and got the rare opportunity to interrupt her mid-flirt twice in a handful of minutes. She borrowed Snotty Cashier's disdainful glare, but I was impervious. I told her I needed to speak with her manager, which actually got both of her eyes to snap out of their slumberous flirt and focus, and she made a call on her special little walkie-talkie. And informed me, "He'll meet you in Aisle 12."

How romantic.

So I met the Self-Righteous Manager, who is at least 21 and therefore a true man of the world, explained it all to him, including a field trip up and down the aisle to show him the Pepsi sign and where the Coke sign had been. I agreed that the sign could have been misplaced but didn't think that I should pay for the store's mistake. At one point I referred to Podium Girl as "the storefront manager" and boy oh boy did he snap to attention then. "SHE is not a manager. Did she tell you she's a manager? I'm the ONLY managed in the store right now." Yikes, easy chief, didn't mean to offend your delicate sensibilities. Anyway, I think more in an effort to rid his store of people who don't buckle under the accumulated pressure of teenaged angst, he gave me a $6 refund.

Thus, successful tantrum #1.

The other tantrum was less drawn-out and didn't actually earn me any money. I had a hair appointment last night, scheduled for 5:15. I got to a beauty school down the road a bit, which charges $7 per haircut, which I just love. Plus they're all a little nervous so they're hypervigilant about getting every hair just so, so I'm in that chair for at least an hour every time. Which is more than enough time to slip into a coma.

Last night, traffic being what it was, I walked in the door at 5:20. Gave my name and sat for 10 minutes, and then they called me over to say that since I was just now arriving at 5:30 I was 15 minutes late and therefore had to reschedule my appointment. So, I unrolled my Tantrum Pants again, and ended up getting a walk-in with a different student (though I've never had the same person twice there, so who cares?) and still got my hair cut as planned.

I'm really hoping not to need to have any more tantrums for a while. But they seem to work so well...