Monday, March 1, 2010

Hands across the counter, hands across the sky

She was new to the staff at the bagel shop. They would like to have a free plug, so I'll drop a hint...the company was named after a real brainy guy with wild hair.

Well, one of the three. You pick!

So, I picked out my bagels and she put 'em in a bag. We then walked 10 feet down the counter to where the register is, and I reached for my wallet. Not so soon!

And if you're guessing that this is one of those pay-it-forward random acts of kindness unfolding right before your eyes, guess again, Einstein (hint!)

No, she didn't ring the bagels up. She looked at me and said, "What is your name, please?" I said why do you need to know my name? She said that's how we do things here, to make sure that the same person who ordered an order is the one who picks up the order.

I allowed as how that made sense, especially when one person was bagging an order and sending the order to the register to be rung up by another sales associate. But she was the same person who, seconds before, had just sacked my half-a-dozen bagels. How could this order possibly belong to someone else?

But I saw little to gain by discussing this with her. She had that unpleasant but superficially pleasant tone about her, and I could tell there was no way I was getting home with my bagels unless I divulged my true identity.

"Well, it's an amazing thing," I said, my dimples all aglow and my eyes, how merry! "My name is..... Barack Obama!"

And she gave me the same look I might have expected from someone who came from Wisconsin and heard me say that cheese was really, really bad for you.

She walked away from the register! And I stood there, 100% confused. I saw her go back behind the counter, into the food preparation area, and laugh with one of her coworkers, as my bagels and I continued to cool our heels by the unattended register.

At length, one of the three people preparing food for customers noticed me standing there. She called out, to no one in particular, in a sing-songy voice, "There's no one at the REG-IS-TER!!!!" and then she came over to ring me up.

I asked what was the deal with why the same person who got my bagels and put them in a bag would not sell them to me without knowing my name.

I hope you're ready for this.

"Oh she was just following the policy. She was hired to be a shift manager."

We're so sorry, Uncle Albert. Another hint!