No doubt, this sales debutant, already counting me as a de facto satisfied customer, though I hadn’t bought anything yet, save for made a promise to do so, I left them to pitch others who were flowing in from the larger-than-a-football-field-sized parking lot anxious to leave as much of the money...
So I made a quick flight over to Wally World – aka Wal-Mart – where I walked into the clutch of a clique of Girl Scouts who had set up their namesake cookie stand in immediate proximity of the entrance to the all-American-mega-bazaar of falling prices. What would Sam say?
Anyway, the girls, like little chicks, were peeping and chirping in abandon on the first day of true warmth of this year. Their “mother” keeping a close eye on their innocent enthusiasm. They were filtering around the multiple sliding doors that make it so easy to remove the mountains of cheapness – much of what probably wasn’t even on the list – to fill the typical American home with more “stuff”. Nice! I know, I know. I’ve done it too. Rather, I do it too. Every time. They, the mass marketeers, like social rocket scientists, they have us pegged. Humans are so bloody predictable yet we insist we are all so unique.
Sorry, where was I? Oh, yes, of course, the girls, who weren’t but in their very early teens with their diligently prettied poster boards in hand advertising their delightful little cookies-in-a-box didn’t seem to suffer from any social anxiety. Each potential customer was happily approached and dutifully engaged. As I was. “Hello, Sir. Would you like…?” I felt bad. I had cut her practiced pleasant sing-song spiel off. But not to be rude, instead to let her know that I had some business inside and upon my exit that I would certainly indulge her importune efforts with a purchase. “How much are they?” You know that ephemeral moment when you’ve heard what is said and your mind seems to suffer from a momentary lapse of neuron firing. Switch off, switch on. Right, you know what I mean. So that happened. I heard her the first time. “Five dollars!” Knee-jerk: “What!?” And then the neuron vapor lock gives way and reason sets in and you resolve this quandary of expense versus the benefit they will have from their “cookie drive”, to be able to go to camp for the summer or what have you, such as Girl Scouts usually do, in the summer, even if the cookies are overpriced. No doubt, this sales debutant, already counting me as a de facto satisfied customer, though I hadn’t bought anything yet, save for made a promise to do so, I left them to pitch others who were flowing in from the larger-than-a-football-field-sized parking lot anxious to leave as much of the money they had and didn’t have like offerings to the gods of capitalism and usury in this one of myriad temples to be found in Anytown, USA. That’s America. Credit is king! We got this. Buy now, pay…well…don’t worry about it right now…we’ll get our money even if you have to work more and harder. But I’m off my storyline again.
You see, I had intended to hold back a five spot. For reals! But as most any good intentions seem to come undone, this simplest of honest intent went awry. It’s not important to explain why. It just did.
Now, of course, I’m thinking – as I do too much already – about what I’m going to tell this fledgling salesperson. I mean, does it really matter that I am now going to have to come up with an excuse as to why I can’t honor my promise I made just minutes ago? A promise, I assume, she’s taken at face value? Or is she – are all of them – used to being stood up by a few others like myself, regardless of whether the excuse is real or not?
There she was. She hadn’t forgotten and probably already had tallied a few boxes in her mind to my account. I mean I think my demeanor and dress would have given her every reason to believe that I wasn’t a cheapskate. So, as I debouche from the perfect temperature of the church of capitalism into the balmy ambiance, I spring the disappointment on her. “I’m sorry. I didn’t get any cash back.” Anticipating her sunny face to be overcome with utter disillusionment, I was again taken aback by her spontaneity. “We take cards!” What am I thinking, I’m thinking? There’s no getting out of this and she’s saved me from losing sleep tonight for not having kept my promise with a true but lame excuse for not buying one box of her iconic Girl Scout confections. As fast as I could I put my plastic into the waiting hands of the manager-mother of this noble, nifty little feminine enterprise, and technology, data transfer, and a touch sensitive screened smartphone confirmed over instantaneous Wi-Fi that I will have kept my promise and put five digital dollars into their treasury of summer activities and fun.
I make my singular selection, and with my orange box of do-si-dos in hand, my favorite kind, I bid them well and thanks and received their bubbly thanks in return, I stroll off to my patiently waiting car and begin writing this petite story on the paper of my mind, finishing it, a little later, while savoring a few too many do-si-dos with coffee and lots of cream. Looking forward to a good sleep not having to worry about a broken promise.
friedrich manfred simon – kaput gerat lupinum
There's more where that came from!