Assess the Situation

I have always liked shopping at TARGET.  It became even more important last Christmas season when word got out that the Red Kettles for Charity (and you know sets up those) would not be allowed to be ringing the bells on TARGET premises.  My ears are so appreciative.  Certain tones get my nerves jangling and there are several seconds when I am in actual pain.  I don’t know if this is because of all the dental work, that I haven’t been to the chiropractor in a long time, or what my husband says “don’t pay so much attention.  You make too much of such a little thing”.  The other thing about TARGET is they have always donated items and gift certificates to the school raffle.  Multiply that by about 20 schools in town, these things add up.

Well, anyway, I was at TARGET, in my red hoodie shirt because the day was warm. TARGET already has so much red going for it, and the Valentine’s Day decorations show an abundance of red and pink, so I wasn’t getting noticed much, and being fine with that.  Shopping isn’t as much fun as it used to be, probably because the house already has Too Much Stuff, so if I bring in anything new, then some spot has to be opened to give the new thing a resting place.  Being sentimental, keeping the old and dusting it off is good, and the budget appreciates it.
I made my way to the check-out.  I stopped to look at the DVDs set up right there on shelves at the end of the aisle.  I used to know what that area is called, back when oldest son worked at Kroger.  There’s a word for it in the marketing business. 
Standing in line ahead of me were two girls college age.  They had student type stuff to buy in their hands, and with four places of higher learning in this area, I feel safe in assuming they were college students.  No one noticed me.  My red shirt against the redness of the decor, my shortness of stature.

The clerk looked up and saw who was standing in front of her.  She folded her arms, leaned back against her shelf and said in a rather obstinate way “I don’t want to wait on YOU.”
My first instinct was to drag her sorry ass over to the manager’s office and have her Fired on the spot. 
However, since she wasn’t speaking to my actual personal face, I wasn’t sure if I had a right to do that.

Then a little mental note kicked in about college students.  I have been living with college students for a few years now (which is much nicer than living with Junior High School age students), plus I use up a few hours a week on a college campus,  so I have learned how the current bunch talk to one another. 
Courtesy seems to have gone by the wayside.  My own son called his roomie a Sorry Sack of Shit and the guy answered him without a blink or a sigh.  I wanted to wash my kid’s mouth out with soap, but he is taller and stronger than I am, and besides he is of legal age. 
He treats family members just fine, so everyone else will have to defend himself, right?
All these thoughts went swimming through my mind, while three girls stood and stared at each other.
Unnoticed, I took a half step closer and said “Well, either you folks are best friends, roommates, or the manager should be investing in better Training Tapes for his employees.”
They all looked over at me with eyes Huge, mouths agape.  Apparently, they thought this was between them, yet here stands a lady (as old as their mothers) who hears them up close.  They all three burst out laughing like they were watching a comedy. 
Then they had the grace to look sheepish.  The clerk picked the items off the belt and began putting them over the scanner.
The tall girl closest to me answered “yeah, roommates, actually.  This is her (she nodded towards the clerk) first night solo at the checkout, so we had to come bother her.”

Thank goodness, my first suspicions were off-the-mark.  Taking a mental step back to look at the whole situation, I did not come off as a know-it-all reprobate, and was able to make light of the situation.
I am rather proud of myself about that.  Usually, the Critical remarks surface first, which leap out of my mouth, and then I have to take a whole bunch of time to make amends.  This time, I gathered together all kinds of background information and followed my experience and tried to make light of it.  When it came my turn to pay, the clerk said real sweetly that she was glad I was so understanding and did not turn her in.  They really are her friends, nice girls.
I assured her I was fine with it, but next time, she should look around better and make sure her words and actions matched up with expectations for everyone.  I pointed to the security camera and told her I had gotten Fired because of one of those, and no amount of explanation was able to make things alright. 
It is easy for others to make harsh judgments before listening to reasons.

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