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Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Casually chic, and stylishly skinny

Today I had to bring a bunch of beer bottles to the return center at a Stop & Shop in a nearby town. (The one in my town doesn't accept them because they don't sell beer.)

I got a shopping cart, filled it with the cartons of bottles from my trunk and back seat, and went to the room with the recycling machines. It was just me and a homeless-looking guy who had two large trash bags full of cans and plastic bottles.

As I put the bottles in the slot, the machine spit out a bunch of receipts, which eventually added up to $7.50. I then went into the store to spend them on three boxes of Swiss Miss hot chocolate. I got to the checkout and handed the cashier, a plump, pleasant-faced young black man, the receipts.

He ran the receipts through a machine, then said, "Your total is 17 cents."

I had thought the receipts would cover it, but I guess I hadn't taken tax into account. I pulled out a dollar bill. But the cashier must have interpreted my surprised look as panic, because he said, "That's okay," and extracted a quarter from his pocket.

I asked, "Wait a sec -- that's your money?"

He nodded.

"You were just going to give me the 17 cents?"

He nodded again.

"Here, then this is yours," I said, handing him the bill. "One good turn deserves another."

He took another look at me and said, "No, that's okay."

I finally realized what had been going through his mind. I said, "Please, take it, it's okay, I don't return cans for a living. I was just getting rid of empties we had around the house."

As I left the store, I looked down at my shirt and saw that it had two holes in it. (I've never been of the opinion that a shirt should be thrown out when 99% of its material is still intact.)

When I took my mask off outside, I was reminded that I hadn't shaved that morning.

I pride myself on being lean. But, maybe to others, I just look malnourished.

I also take pride in looking younger than 66. But maybe I just look like a ravaged 50-year-old. My "habit" is exercise, not meth. But the long term effect of both is the same: the fat disappears.

In retrospect, I wish I'd given that cashier more; a dollar is a considerably smaller percentage of my net worth than 17 cents is of his. But it all happened so quickly I didn't really have time to think. Next week I'm going by that Stop & Shop again. If I see him, I'm going to give him a twenty.

It's the least he deserves for his good deed. 

As for the insult, I suppose I'll have to let that pass. 


Smallberries Worldwide said...

John- Have you ever watched Scott Adams podcast on Twitter or the recordings on YouTube? Often when I’m reading your posts they remind me of his opinions and style.

John Craig said...

Smallberries Worldwide --
He's been recommended to me, and I saw him once. But I generally don't watch podcasts (don't have the patience). When I did see him, was pleasantly surprised to see he had so much common sense (I was never into Dilbert).

Thanks for the compliment though; I know he's got a following.

Unknown said...

How interesting as you realized that your appearance was creating this idea in the cashier, and did it make you wonder what the other man at the recycling station thought? I'd love to read your follow up when you hopefully see this cashier again. Keep on sharing the kindness, we all need extra right now!

John Craig said...

Unknown --
Good question. I looked at the other guy a couple times, but I don't think he looked at me.

I'm no longer really actively blogging, and even when I was, this blog was more ab out sociopaths etc., but if anything else stirs me, I'll pass it along.