Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Tales of Clerkdom presents: Really Bad Conversation Openers

If you have just pulled your 1984 Monte Carlo in to a convenience store at 2:30 AM in the middle of nowhere, and you walk in wearing an undershirt on your upper body, and a large denim sack mostly on your lower body, to find yourself alone in the building with the Clerk, who is either trying to mop the floor or finish his crossword puzzle, here are a few good ways NOT to start the conversation:
  1. Hey, Slick!
  2. Hey, man, do you smoke?
  3. Hey, can I ask you a favor?
  4. Hey, man, I gotta ask you something...
  5. Hey, I'm gonna be straight up...
  6. Hey, do I need my ID to buy cigarettes? (If you don't ask, I am allowed to exercise common sense judgement as to your apparent age. As soon as you do ask, the answer is, always, "yes")
  7. Hey, can I use my Food Stamp Card to buy a beer? C'mon, man, I just want one...
  8. How much is your cheapest pack of cigarettes?
  9. Hey, I usually come in here, and [other clerk] let's me get a free coffee. Can I get a free coffee?
  10. Hey, will y'all cash a check?
  11. Hey, I ain't got my credit card/food stamp card, but I called my mama, and I got the numbers off their card wrote down here. Can I use that to get some nachos and stuff? ("stuff" = beer.) It's really her card, I can give you her phone number and you can call her if you need to check, It's really her.
  12. Do y'all got any food? (You are standing next to four aisles packed with every variety of pastry, potato chip, candybar, snack cracker and soft drink imaginable. Yes, we have food. But I would bet money we do not have whatever variety of food you happen to be thinking of.)
In general, "Excuse Me" works better than "Hey", and "Sir" works better than "Man". (Although if I am turned around when you come in, and you only see my ponytail, and call me "Ma'am", I will not be embarassed . You will be, but I won't.)

1 comment:

Liz said...

Ah, the glories of retail...

I once had some lady at the bookstore (mother of a prospective student, with whole family in tow) ask where was a good place to eat. I rattled off all the eateries in sewanee and monteagle. She stares at me like I've sprouted another head and says, "No, I mean, like, some real food." o_O