A World of Speculation

Dear nice young lady who rang up my groceries this evening:

I suspect that your boss told you he wanted you to be “friendly,” to “engage me in conversation” so that I would feel like I’m at a “hometown” grocery store, despite the fact that I shop here about three times a year because it’s outside my neighborhood and despite the fact that there are tens of thousands of square feet of merchandise space and dozens of employees I’ve never seen before and possibly never will see again.

When I think of a “friendly” store, I think of a place where they do their jobs without acting as though I’m wasting their time, where they take my word for it if I come back the next day and report that my milk was sour, where, if I want to start a conversation, they go along with it, but not to the extent that they hold up the other customers behind me in line.

I don’t really feel that it’s “friendly” when I undergo a third-degree about the groceries I bought, what I plan to eat for dinner or how I plan to cook it. I also don’t care very much if you approve my choice of grocery products or if you congratulate me on my money-saving shopping style.

In fact, I actually have enough of a life that you don’t have to provide my sense of community or neighborhood.

I’ll be nice to you and give one-word answers to your questions, just in care your manager is watching, but now you know that I know that it’s a meaningless ruse. My question for you: Do you know it’s a meaningless ruse?