Friday, October 02, 2009

People Are Still Awful: A Play

An exchange just now at Starbucks, in one act.

Dramatis personae:

Pushy-Looking Mom with Bratty Kid in Stroller (PLMw/BKiS): Attractive(ish), severe-faced blonde woman wearing too much denim. Key thing to picture about her is that at no point in what follows did her expression change from one of stone-cold, unquestioning, undisturbed look of "What I Want to Happen is About to Happen."

Bratty Kid in Stroller (BKiS): Probably about 3, dressed in a tiger outfit like it's Halloween.

Cashier #1: The cashier helping me when this unfolds.

Cashier #2: The cashier next to her, also busy with customers.

Me: Me.

[As the scene opens, I am finally at the front of a busy line. Both cashiers are doing a good job, but they're harried; the store is crowded, and a promotion involving Via, a new brand of instant coffee, is underway, prompting questions from customers and lengthy interactions with the cashiers. Behind me, PLMw/BKiS is about to leave the store, but BKiS has stopped to point at a red balloon on one of the Via displays and cry that he/she wants it. Note that though PLMw/BKiS was "pushy-looking," she never became pushy in tone. It was as if she was asking for a straw or a napkin or something totally normal. Also note that at no point during what follows did PLMw/BKiS make even a modicum of effort to move the kid along or even address the kid directly.]
PLMw/BKiS: [in general direction of cashiers] Hey.


PLMw/BKiS: Hey. Excuse me.

Cashier #1: Yes.

PLMw/BKiS: [pointing to balloon] Do you have any more of these?

Cashier #1: Oh, those aren't for sale.

PLMw/BKiS: Yeah, but do you have any more?

Cashier #1: [kind of confused, but friendly] I don't know, but they're not really for sale.

PLMw/BKiS: [turning to cashier #2] Do you have any more of these?

Cashier #2: [confused and irritated, but still friendly] Oh, no. Those are just for display. The only ones we've got are the ones out on display.

PLMw/BKiS: OK, I'm taking it down. [makes move toward balloon string]

Cashier #2: OK, wait a minute, I'll come around.

PLMw/BKiS: [untying red balloon from display] I was going to ask you for a scissor.

Cashier #1: [to me] I don't understand what's happening.

Me: [to Cashier #1] Entitlement is happening.


Anonymous Josh said...

did entitlement happen? (what happened next?)

7:58 PM  
Blogger JMW said...

Oh, entitlement happened. She took the balloon.

9:13 AM  
Blogger lmha said...

Wow. That's pretty bold. I would never take a single balloon off of a display after being told there aren't any to have. I did ask a street vendor for 2 orange balloons (of which there were about 24) about mid-way through a UT game a few weeks ago as I was leaving with the kids, and they willingly gave me 2, saying someone just gave it to them for free anyway. And I still felt bad about asking.

Although who knows what happened immeidately before that - maybe they went to a pediatrician and got a shot and needed a treat. Who knows. Let's hope something really bad happened just before. Otherwise she's teaching that kid to be pretty demanding, and as you said, feel entitled to anything whether he earns it or not.

12:58 PM  

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