Working with the public, I've hit upon a Communication Revelation, which may or may not correspond with your own observations, depending on where you're from.
It seems to me that folks from the South and Southwest want immediate responses to questions that require lengthy answers. Meanwhile, Northerners tend to ask questions that are three times longer than any logical response should possibly be.
Something Something Responsibili-huh?
The Gift/Novelty shop in which I spend a decent portion of my waking hours will frequently find itself infested with (Can I get some more reverb in these monitors?): SCHOOL GROUPS.
Kids rush to and fro, cash at the ready, to see what tsouvenirs can bve taken home for the pittance they've saved after purchasing lunch. Lunch consisting, one assumes, of Soda, Fudge, Caramel Apples, and a few packs of sugar.
Most sprint inside, look around a bit, scream their findings in the direction of friends, then
A) Decide they cannot afford the thing they really want, or
B)Try to buy it anyway without realizing that they cannot afford it.
This is where the "Chaperone" is traditionally supposed to step in to solve or soothe matters. In the modern era - 'tradition' sucks the big one.
Current definition of "Chaperone" (According to the Dic(k)tionary of Escalatorville): Indifferent Adult whom stands around smoking/gossiping while expecting respect for unused authority.
On rare occasions a chaperone will actually meander through the shop - sometimes keeping track of the charges in their care when not trying to hit on every fellow tourist or store employee under age 50.
Oft times, these guardians are downright rude. For instance, take the Mother and Father whom looked after their own two progeny as well as one school chum, buying lavishly for their children whilst complaining about the extra one they "got stuck with." (Actual quote, folks - said in front of the bewildered grade-schooler. I'd have cursed out these parental assholes if I hadn't feared retribution toward their suffering surrogate.)
I also witness those that try to be helpful, but just don't care enough to put in a valiant effort. Another real life example:
A child came up to the counter, handler attending, to make a purchase totalling two dollars and thirty five cents. The kid handed me three one dollar bills.
"Now," said the guardian "if you gave him three dollars, but only spent $2.35 - how much change should you get back?"
"Thirty Cents?" asked the enthusiastic child.
"Nope." uttered the chaperone.
"Fifty Cents?" spake innocentia.
"No, try again." said the instantaneously exasperated woman.
"Seventy Five Cents?" chirped the kid, quixotically.
Then came the ignorant adults indignant reply-
"Yeah sure, you got it, whatever."
Finding the shiniest change the cash register coudl muster, I passed it to the kid.
"Here you are," I said directly to the child "Sixty five cents. Thank you for dropping in."
The youngster had to hurry out the door to catch up to their fleeing escort - who'd turned to leave immediately upon my correction. However, here rushed exit and cold stare had combined to stir up one of the years most refreshing breezes to date.
For The Record, They Were Both Wearing "The Pants"
Seen in town - a young, married duo - both with trendy haircuts and bejeweled faces. Her T-Shirt read "Evil, Wicked, Nasty and Mean."
His? "Lamb Of God."
Apparently, he's also hiding a time machine...
I happen to like our current Commander In Chief. Some folks don't- and that's O.K. Without differences of opinion, our country would not have grown into the amazing land that it is today.
However, If you are going to criticize the President, please have a legitimate complaint.
In recent weeks I've heard that Barack Obama is directly responsible for our states sales tax - a concept only moments younger than money itself. I also encountered a regional woman apparently unfamiliar with the redesign of our national currency over the past dozen or so years.
Upon seeing an updated 5-cent piece, shje too blamed Mr. O.
"I didn't even know that was a nickel! He's going to make them all look like European coins."
She left the scene before I could point out that her particular coin was dated four years before He took the Oath Of Office.
Hello Again, Stranger.
While working the overnight shift at a local hotel (a position since vacated in pursuit of more happiness and sanity), I became briefly familiar with odd and strange characters. Sometimes, though, the weirdest encounters happened when approached by people I actually knew.
Once, at 4AM, an ambling figure lurched up the sidewalk of US Highway 1 - his dirtied face recognizable aas he approached the lobby. An acquaintance of mine.
Although not a close friend, I'd spent hours in conversation with this fellow through the years at parties and local watering holes. He'd even once woo'd the Lovely Bess before divine providence pointed us toward each other.
He'd been out of town and out of sorts for a short time, but graciously accepted my hello and handshake, asked for a cheap room. I was happy to oblige.
Waiting for the credit card and computer system to do the waltz of mutual acceptance, I started conversation with the routine "How're Things?"
"Oh, I'm fine. It's just that..."
Thus began a litany of troubles; he'd come back to town to visit a friend, gotten himself arrested, re-pissed off folks he'd skipped town to avoid in the first place - and had arrived at my hotel after a claimed 2 hour walk, having been kicked out of his second resting place in as many days. Also, he didn't have much money.
I sympathized with him, having been pretty low myself at times (A while back, for a year or so, I carried an old ATM receipt in my wallet, reminding me that I'd once had a bank balance of exactly one dime).
I was able to garner a room at a massive discount, and arranged for a later checkout time.
Speaking to him by name, I handed over his room key. I wished him good night and pointed him toward his room, stating ( if a bit dishonestly) that it was good to see him.
He thanked me, and headed out of the lobby. As he got to the door, he turned, looked me square in the face, then innocently inquired,
"And your name is...?"
Thunderbolt and Lightning (Very, Very Frightening)
Radio stations favored by retail establishments generally play familiar, easy to sing along with tunes. Case in point; Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody"
I think most of the civilized world has heard the song, and are familiar with at least a tidbit of the particular tune.
As it began playing through the overhead speakers, customers began to sway their heads in time, some "conducting" the air, in a quasi-zombie-like fashion. But, no singing. Until, for some reason, they all started in unison.
I would have thought this really neat or really planned - but it was neither. It was creepish.
All started singing along at the line:
"Sometimes I wish I'd never been born at all..."
Just as quickly as they'd started - realizing teh eerieness of the moment - all stopped. People looked around the room wide-eyed at one another and, as collective goose pimples covred summer-clothed skin, half the customers began to slowly, but assuredly, move toward the exits.
Queen continued, unaccompanied, for the remainder of the song.
Consult Your Local Whale Biologist
Perhaps the heat was playing with my eyes.
Or, perhaps the letters on the stores plastic sign were pushed uncomfortably together. That first "E" squinching up too close (giving a backrub?) to the second "B". Nonetheless, I chose to bypass our local grocers whom advertised their "FRESH BLUBBERRY PIES"
The Dispatch From Escalatorville
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Proprietor - Z.F. Lively
Time Management Trainee - Ina Baudenauer
Head Of Security - Nunya B. Swacks