Friday, August 19, 2011


Run home from afternoon piano lessons to cook dinner. Slam that down, jump in the shower, run off to Wal-Mart. An emotional engagement with child #1 that had me walking into work fighting hard just to not cry. I was exhausted after a long day of babysitting, school, running errands, and household chores.

Clock in. I'm on Register 2. My hand scanner doesn't work. That means I have to lift every suitcase of Coke, every single ginormous bag of dog food and kitty litter up and over my register. I discover that I have no change - completely out of quarters and pennies. Why do some cashiers leave their drawers in such awful shape? I have no bags, no paper towels. No register tape and no way of getting more. I'm raiding every register around me for supplies. Imagine - this much fun for minimum wage!

Neither of the two regular night cashiers are in tonight. It's Connie's night off, and Sherry is on vacation. My line is snaking down toward the freezers and no one is around for backup. A customer needs help at the door - they want to make a return, never mind that the Customer Service/Return desk closes at 10:00. Another customer comes in and thinks she has left her cell phone somewhere in the store - could I find someone to help her look for it? Another customer wants to know if we have any fresh strawberries in the back - never mind that it's almost midnight and the produce crew has already gone home for the night. Never mind that I have a growing line of frustrated shoppers queuing up.

I am So. Very. Tired.

A lady and her teenage son step up to pay for their handful of school supplies. She plops her keys on the tiny shelf beneath the card reader as she digs in her purse for a wallet. As I scan a binder and three packs of looseleaf paper, one key on her key chain catches my eye. "Jesus's key."

"What is that?" I ask. "What is 'Jesus's key'?"

"Oh," the lady looked down at her keys. "Well, I was at this shop in Memphis and they had these really cool key caps. I couldn't find one with my name on it. Then, I saw this one. I just got it because I figured, hey, Jesus is the closest thing to me."


She laughs and smiles, like she feels kinda silly.

I smile back. "Your total is $8.27."

"It'll be debit."

"Here are your groceries. Thank you for shopping Wal-Mart."

"Thanks. You have a blessed night, you hear?"

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