Picture it, Dallas, 2008. I’ve just started my first retail job, and I’m running the registers like a boss.
So far, all of my customers have been pleasant, and while I made a couple of mistakes, everything is running smoothly.
While walking the floor, I run into this very pleasant lady and her daughter. The little girl is around 10, and she’s doing a little homework while her mom shops. I hear her trying to figure out if the word “everyone” is singular or plural. I had a brand new shiny degree in English I wasn’t using, so I went over to help.
“Sounds like you’re having a bit of trouble there, hon. Anything I can help with?”
“Yes! I have to pick the right verb, but I don’t know if “everyone” is one person or more than one person.”
Common question, since the word makes you think of more than one person. If you’re reading this and feel a bit rusty: everyone/everything and anyone/anything are singular, as they refer to a single group (one unit.)
So, I answer the little girl, and help her with her work so her mom can shop in peace. When the mother is ready to ring up, I go to the front to check her out.
Her: “Honey, you are so intelligent! Thanks so much for helping my daughter out.”
Me: “Thank you so much, and you’re quite welcome. I used to tutor for a spell.”
I keep scanning items.
Her: “You know, you’re so bright. Way too intelligent to be working here. Why don’t you go to school and get your degree? Then you could quit working here!”
Y’all. Y’ALL. I cannot stand when people do this. College degrees are not indicative of high intelligence. Do not assume the person working in the service industry is unintelligent and retail is their penance. At the time of this incident, the economy took a nosedive, and I had just graduated college. I didn’t get into law school, and I wasn’t into the idea of teaching (I feel as though your heart has to be in teaching, otherwise you won’t give the students your all. And I knew then as now that I just don’t have that passion.) I work retail because I enjoy eating, keeping a roof over my head, and clothes on my back. Also, oddly enough, I enjoy it, even when customers get out of pocket.
So, I’m staring at her as I put her purchases in a bag. I felt like this:
But I had to keep it cool, because I needed that job.
Me: “Oh, I have a degree in English, actually. But I could use an extra job. Is your company hiring?” *bright smile*
Her: *shifts her gaze from me as her face reddens*
I hand her the bag. “Have a great day!”
She walks out quickly, and I wave goodbye to her daughter.
My manager: “Welcome to retail!”
Me: *deep sigh*
That night, I understood the concept of happy hour. I enjoyed that rum and coke!