Bargains, Brawls, & Budgets

There’s a certain force with a draw so strong I found myself unable to resist.  It all started when I finally climbed out of my sleepy bed, covers reluctantly cast aside.  Withdrawing from the warm depths of my bed in the morning is a struggle wrought in every fiber of my muscles.  I know how a mamma bear must feel when her cub starts nudging andpawing at her back in futile attempts to wake her from her winter’s sleep.  Unfortunately for my cubs, I usually awake with the disposition as a grumpy bear disturbed prematurely.

I had to go (you can probably guess where) to the store yesterday.  I would negate my patriotic responsibility if I failed to be hit in the ankles with at least one shopping cart.

My search for helium took me to BJ’s.  I naively thought BJs would be a little slow, relatively speaking of course; however, I was surprised by the lacking of parking spaces.  Who needs food on the day after Thanksgiving?  My refrigerator shares the same bulge as my thighs.

I called ahead to be certain BJ’s HAD helium.  You see, I need my daily dose of the gas to keep my voice lilting and sing-songy.  Actually locating helium in a warehouse was a challenge I hadn’t anticipated.  After the third swing past a gentleman pawning credit apps as if he were working a corner on 42nd street, my husband, not able to keep his tongue securely between his teeth, says “Hey man, you look like you’re having fun today.”

“Oh, I am.”  Replied the salesman. 

If that’s his idea of fun, I should have given him a hit of my helium.  Anyway, an idea was born in my pea sized brain.  Why not help these dedicated employees relieve a little tension today?  Why not have a little fun with them?

After waiting on an exaggerated line, I finally stood before my seventeen year-old cashier as a criminal awaiting sentence from his judge.  “You card?”  He says with a mixture of disgust for having to work on Black Friday, impatience for my unpreparedness, and overall disdain for humanity.

“Oh, do you need a card here?”  I asked with as much sweet surprise as I could muster. 

Shock, pity, and disgust all registered on his face like the varied fruit randomly lining up after the arm of a slot machine is yanked.  “Just kidding!”  I said with a laugh and handed him my card.  Although a snicker chased away the tension in his expression, his shoulders still stood rigid.  I managed to spend a wopping $37.28 and dug unsuccessfully in my Mary Popins type carpet bag for 28 cents.  Hating to break another bill, I turned toward my husband and impatiently asked for change.  He’s no help in the change department.  He only has change when the clean surfaces of my living room need to littered.  I reluctantly withdrew another single dollar bill from my wallet and again, FringeMan had to chime in.  “Oh, heaven forbid you have to break a single.”  he said mockingly. 

For some reason my young cashier found reason to laugh outright.  What do men know about money?  Don’t they realize I’ll need that dollar when my little urchins start begging for milk money come Monday?

The poor boy was so flustered by our battering bantering, he handed me another woman’s BJ’s card as I was about to leave.  Looking at the older woman’s slightly wrinkled face, I said “Oh, this isn’t me…not just yet anyway.” 

Glancing furtively toward the door, the cashier mumbled words of complete defeat on this Black Friday.  Again my husbands tongue was in overdrive as he asked, “Say that’s not one of those BJ’s charge cards is it?  If it’s got a credit line, we’ll take it and just change my wife’s hairdo.”

Our poor cashier stood dangling from the edge of contemplation, not know whether to break down in complete hysterics or just quit and walk away from the madness.  Poor boy.  We didn’t mean him any harm.


4 thoughts on “Bargains, Brawls, & Budgets

  1. Erin

    I think people forget that they’re interacting with other humans in times of retail. Nice to see you try to lighten the mood. Too bad it wasn’t a more common occurence! Trust me, I know, I work retail. Usually it’s me trying to lighten the mood!

  2. robinaltman

    I’m just proud of you for braving stores this weekend! Bravo! You rock! (I admit to finding Fringeman funny, but don’t tell him.)

  3. Cher

    Another young person permanently scarred by the FringeVoice! Another morning started with a good FringeLaugh!

    “My refrigerator shares the same bulge as my thighs.” Cute, cute, cute! But you had me at “Bargains, Brawls, & Budgets.”

    The Texas Woman


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