Elaine and I were checking out at our local multinational retail corporation. We always skip self-checkout for the company of a fellow human being.
This fellow human being handed our string bags back to us. “It’ll be faster if you do this,” she said. Elaine and I looked at each other and started bagging. Very puzzling. I asked Elaine, “Is there some reason we’re doing this?” I thought I might have missed something while checking my phone. Elaine didn’t know what was going on either.
I had to say something: “I’m a little puzzled,” said I. “No one cashiering has ever asked us to bag our own stuff.”
“I’m not a cashier,” the cashier replied. Slightly icy. And then I noticed her badge, which read
SUZY QI couldn’t tell if she had noticed that I had noticed.
“Well, you look like a cashier!” said I. I was friendly about it. No response from Ms. Q. No Have a Nice Day. No nothing.
In my college years I worked in retail as a stock clerk, and I sometimes cashiered. Punching in prices, hitting Subtotal and Total, making change: that’s cashiering. When I was cashiering, I was a cashier.
As Elaine observed, this brief encounter felt like something from Curb Your Enthusiasm.