Best Story of the Week…October 22nd


CVS    2 in the afternoon

I’m buying Advil for my chronic headache…sinus, stress, Covid 19?

God forbid!

None of the pain relievers are marked.

I take a small bottle to the front of the store.

A kid of color, the size of Zeus, leans leisurely against a pillar on his phone that’s as big as he is.

What I notice are his long, elegant fingers that don’t seem to go with the rest of his portly girth. 

“Excuse me,” I politely say, “could you please tell me the price of this?”

Without looking up he says, “There’s a machine in front. You can scan it there.”  Now, I’m not a demanding sort, but neither am I handy left to my own devices, or theirs.

“Could you please show me how to use this machine,” I say, my impatience at the starting gate.

He doesn’t answer, still soldered to his phone.

Here we go again.

Should I call his supervisor, or try to stimulate his humanity that’s buried beneath all those text messages?

I move in quite close, saying in a low voice, “I think since you work here, and I’m a customer, a good customer by the way, who always takes the survey they send after each visit, I don’t think you’d want me, Gerald (reading his name tag), to say how rude you’re being to me.”

This gets his attention.

He picks his huge head up, dreadlocks bobbing like corks, moseying over to the scanner while I follow.

With those elegant fingers, he takes the bottle of Advil, places it in the center saying in the same monotone, “5.49.” 

He hands it back, still not looking at me, returning to his phone he’s left by the Halloween candy.

After paying at…do-it-yourself-check-out…it took a year for me to master, I go back over and say as if we’re longtime friends, “Thanks Gerald for helping me. I hope to see you again, real soon.”

“No problem,” he says, still glued to his phone while me, my manners and headache, that seems not quite as bad, hoofs it home, wishing we had grabbed one of those Halloween Hershey Bars well earned.  


About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Thanks.
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52 Responses to Best Story of the Week…October 22nd

  1. You had remarkable patience. More remarkable was the fact that your headache lightened after the encounter!

    John and I have struggled with the self-checkout machine. We stood in front of it long enough that an employee sauntered over to help. We had a question about a special price that the machine could not answer. Normally I would like a gadget to speed things up, but I resented being forced to use it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. robprice59 says:

    I don’t understand why any shop owner would allow floor staff to carry their mobile phones. No good can come of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. aFrankAngle says:

    Cheers to your patience earning a Hershey bar. I imagine we are going to see more an more self-checkout lanes. Have a good day, SB.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. skinnyuz2b says:

    You have more patience than I possess, Susannah. I’m definitely going to use the survey comment in conjunction with the slacker’s name next time I’m left unattended. “No problem”, ha ha!
    The few times I’ve tried the self checkout a clerk has had to help me anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I take surveys hoping they help, rarely saying anything bad. I always conclude with…they all deserve a raise. Now in Gerald’s case, I really couldn’t say that without my tweaking such as it was. You know Skinny, we’re living in the…I don’t give a shit…era. It’s me me me, and screw you you you. Drives me to distraction. I still believe we need to be the change we want to see, ala Mr. Gandhi. Of course, look what happened to him. On a highly different note…THANKS. I LOVE HEARING FROM YOU AND APPRECIATE YOUR WISDOM ALWAYS SPRINKLED WITH HUMOR. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dale says:

    There are many places where employees may not even hold their phone, never mind have their nose glued to it. This place would benefit from that rule. Makes you wanna slap ’em upside th head! So bloody rude.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. kingmidget says:

    There was a time when people were at work, they were at work and you didn’t bother them unless it was a dire emergency. Now, because of the ubiquity of the damn phone, people think nothing of calling or texting each other regardless of where they are. My wife works as an aide in an independent living skills class. They are conducting class via Zoom these days, so she’s in our kitchen with her class from 9:00 – Noon. It amazes how many times people call her and text her during those three hours. People who know what she is supposed to be doing then. Her sister, our sons, friends. And it’s never for an emergency.

    I’d like to go back to the days when this didn’t happen. When the phone didn’t mean that no matter what you’re doing, there is always somebody who wants to interfere, interrupt, what you are doing. Of course, there is a solution to this. A solution that so few take these days. It’s called the “off” button.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree totally with everything you’ve written. I had an experience with a kid crossing the street texting, almost getting hit by a car. I grabbed him, and he was so verbally arrogant towards me. Then, well…it’s an up and coming blog post, he told his dad who came looking for me and actually found me, and not to thank me either. Stay tuned.

      People are bored. The average person doesn’t read unless it’s online…social media, trash news. I too long for the days where life wasn’t dominated by technology. It was simpler then and there was more beauty to behold. Thanks, as always.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Sadly, we have to put up with the under-trained and uninspired of this world. They occupy air space but contribute nothing. This is a management issue, but that particular idiot is in the back on his phone. Gerald’s response shows he learned zero out of your kindness. The guy is lucky to have a job and doesn’t realize it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sorryless says:

    It’s a do it yourself world, isn’t it? I love it when I go through the self service checkout at the grocery and the slightest deviation has the attendant running over to scan their number and fix the situation. Why have the self service if they ain’t serving? But that’s another matter entirely.

    As for Gerald Scissorhands, your composure wins some kind of Noble Prize . . which is different from the Nobel, but same difference. You exhibited some much needed redemptive value inside this Paradise Lost of a world that we’re living in. I do worry that the emphasis on so many impersonal commodities is to the detriment of the humanity in all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. SD Gates says:

    Poor service is definitely an epidemic these days – I don’t like CVS, always go to Walgreens – they are much more helpful. I don’t understand what it is people are looking at on their phones, there is nothing really of interest, unless he was playing a game. There are some good game apps, but it is inexcusable to think that takes priority while he is at work, especially with a customer standing in front of him – asking for help. My blood would be boiling in a situation like that, I would have had to say something – but then I would be accused of being a “Karen” and ended up on some viral video on Tik-Tok. I have noticed, as my hair has paled, and I have aged – I seem to be invisible to others, no one offers to help anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m a born diplomat that rears it’s annoying head. Hating my own phone the way I do, I too can’t fathom the fascination. Its isolation tips the rudeness scale way too far for me. People are also afraid of offending the Geralds. Not me…I’m kind, tender and direct and if he hadn’t responded the way he had, I’d have gone to Defcon 4 without passing go, or the miniature Snickers that I’m bettin’ are already half price. 🙂


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