There is something distressing about having to make small talk with strangers. When working retail, this is a common occurrence. For a short time you are a small part of their life.
Retail customers actually feel they can make a difference in the dismal lives of cashiers. They know if they make a "quippy" remark on how much they are spending, it will transform this brainless job into something worthwhile. As if hearing stale jokes over and over will somehow fill the hollow void this numbing job leaves with you.
In one day I heard six different people, as they handed me cash, say, "Hope those uhr' good. I just printed em' this mornin." These remarks are always followed with, what I can only describe as, great Appalachian laughter. Something inside me snaps each time I hear these poor attempts at humor.
A short time ago I was working at cashier station three. There was an endless line. I said, "I can help who's next over here."
This greasy man walked up and said, "Hello cashier #3. Is that really your name?"
I made a sad attempt at laughter and felt my soul shudder. I asked, "Did you find everything alright?"
"I found a little more than I was wantn'. Those sales guys is good", said the grotesque man standing before me.
I quickly decided that there would be no more conversation between the grease monster and myself. I ran the transaction through as fast as possible and he kept trying to make ridiculous comments about the store and how "perty" everything was. After I finished the transaction, wincing a little, I asked, "Is there anything else I can do for you?
He replied, "Well it seems I just spent a monster truck load of money here. You got a million dollars I can have?" There was a roar of thunderous hillbilly laughter and I closed my eyes for a second to imagine myself anywhere but cashier station #3.