Context: Mom and me 1/4
P S S S T ! 1/4
from The Being Years
© kendall crouther
I get to the Target check-out line, and I panic.
I have two, five-dollar coupons, which will pay for my dinner, night snack and maybe breakfast tomorrow. The totals are under ten dollars, so I won’t have to use the sixty-eight cents I have left until… well… I don’t know.
But then the coupons don’t work like the last two times.
They can’t be used together.
The total has to be over five dollars or I have to pay the tax.
The tax is about fifty cents but it’s not in my wallet,
so I have to run to the car and hope the two quarters I used for street parking downtown didn’t bust my coin stash.
I tell Ann to put the groceries aside while I go to the car,
and now I’m back to check-out again.
I’ve known Ann a year now, but she knows me no more than our first interaction. She has no patience.
She is short,
rude and always looks at me like I have a third head.
Ann is upset today because this is the third time I’ve tried checking out, and I still don’t have enough change to ring up more than five dollars’ worth of groceries, but less than the change in my palm.
“Excuse me ma’am? Is that all you need? I’m happy to help. I’ve been there before. Please let me…” “NO, IT’S OKAY,” I interrupted without even realizing. That’s the person behind me.
I’m increasingly more aware of the awkward atmosphere in customer service, and I’m the elephant in the room. Boy, did my disordered eating brain just eat that up. I see the words in front of me as clearly as my bifocal glasses allow: YOU ARE NOT WORTH GOOD THINGS.