Thursday, December 31, 2009

On Being Witty

I was in a mad rush to finish up my Christmas shopping last Monday. Every year, mid-November I think, "I'll just buy a few things for the family and call it done" and every year, by December 20th, I've gotten gifts for tons of people, and spent way too much money. The thing is that I get an idea in my head, and then it's a mini-project that I have to finish.

I was still missing a few items, but I had a moment to stop in to Best Buy and pick them up. It was probably my fourth trip in as many days. At Best Buy, there is one long line, and when you get to the front, the next available person takes you. I approached the front of the line, items in hand and gave the various lines the once over.

There was the kid who's so weird, standing next to him would make me Steve Urkel look like George Clooney. I remember once reading that the key to women was to always hang with a friend who is uglier than you are. I considered asking him if he'd like to go to a Christmas party, or just hang sometime. He'd be my ringer.

Next to him was overly enthusiastic girl. She seems nice, but I can only be asked so many times if I found everything okay. Come on lady, you know me. I practically have your website memorized. My visits to Best Buy are more regular than a 26 year who eats well and takes Metamucil.

Next to her... Next to her was the cute short girl who I find intimidating despite the fact that she can't possibly be taller than 4'11 and is probably no older than 25. She'd been my cashier at least twice before, and somehow it was always very friendly, but not to the point of being weird. For me, a conversation with a stranger that isn't a complete train wreck comes around about as often as the Cardinals going to the Superbowl, but somehow it always manages to happen with her.

Naturally her line opened up first. I dumped my arm full of items on to the counter and began awkwardly digging through my pants for my "rewards card". As I did we discussed our holidays, the shopping, and how things had been. As she scanned the last item she said with a surprise, "Oh. It says here you get a 10 dollar gift card."

30 seconds later I would realize that a fun reply would be, "Oh. Wow... Um... How embarrassing. I didn't get you anything."

Unfortunately for me, I didn't wait 30 seconds to reply, I waited 2. What came out was closer to, "Oh. Um... Cool?"

After I left, I went straight home and mailed Santa a new letter with a brief description of the girl and a request for one, "Ability to think on my feet". While either of those items would have been fantastic, Santa instead brought me a new pair of jeans. I'm sure those will work out just as well.


  1. don't feel too special... we got one too ;-)

  2. Lol, ask her out :) Next tym you see her, tell her you feel bad you didn't get her anything for the gift card and want to make it up to her buy buying her a cup of coffee, then pull a coffee cup (maybe a cup that says coffee on it) out your basket that you just picked from inside your store and say here just for you. :D Refuse to pay for the cup because it "hers" now and walk out, she'll remember you :D

  3. Cardinals Super Bowl reference + something to read at work = awesome

    Thank you jesse bearden of

  4. You might keep in mind that retail workers see so many people from one day to the next, they tend to create a natural barrier against customer fraternization.

    I'm not saying you should be dismissive of store clerks, but rather recognize that -- like flight attendants, waitrons, and cops -- they develop an Us-vs-Them persona that you are unlikely to penetrate on their working turf.

    Of course, there's nothing wrong with practicing your technique on such people. In fact, it can be very safe to do so (within sensible limits). But if you want a live exercise, you need to go somewhere else.

  5. Dear bshock,

    You might keep in mind that bloggers and blog-readers read so many overly-analytical comments from one day to the next, they tend to create a natural barrier against the shitload of condescending and misplaced bits of verbosity that appear daily online at mind-boggling rates.

    I’m not saying you should stop continuing to make such excessive and unwelcome blog comments, but rather recognize that – like 2Pac, me, and cops – we develop an indifferent persona that you are unlikely to penetrate here.

    Of course, there’s nothing wrong with trying out a future online-university-program sociology graduate thesis in the highly-regarded modern literary form known as the “blog-comment”. In fact, it can be very safe to do so (within sensible limits). But if you want a live exercise, you need to either start your own blog or better yet scrap that dream and get an online M.B.A.

    Everybody see what I did there?