Tony and I were at Wal*Mart. It was late, and freakishly crowded. Long lines, utter chaos, angry customers.Here's the rest of the story:
Right when we got in line, the checker ran over and handed us his "lane closed" sign and said we were his last costumers of the night. We were like, "whateves." Tony tucked the sign under his arm, and we began the long process of harvesting our imaginary farms on our iPhones, ignoring everything around us. But then all the sudden, Tony nudged me and points behind us and there are like fifty people in line behind us, reading magazines etc, as if they'd been waiting there for a while. And we're holding this "lane closed" sign. Dang...
We were all nervous, since we had to tell these busy-looking people who'd been waiting behind us that they'd have to start over in another line. At first, Tony tried to hand the sign off to me, and I was like, "no way, that's your sign," and he was like, "this isn't my job, I don't work here," and I was like, "apparently you do." ::glancing pointedly at said sign::
So Tony put on his most sheepish expression, turned to the people behind us, showed them the sign, and was like, "Hey, sorry, I forgot the checker handed me this sign. The lane is closed after us."
They didn't take the news so well. They rolled their eyes and murmured and gnashed their teeth, and I didn't blame them.
But once those angry people went away, we began to take our job much more srsly, and found it to be quite rewarding. A constant and steady flow of people tried to line up behind us, because ours was the only line that was actually shrinking. They'd approach our line with such gusto, relieved to find a shorter checkout line. "What luck!" their bright and eager eyes would say. And then Tony would hold up his "lane closed" sign, we'd explain the situation, and their little faces would fall. They were angry, but not at us. We were just the messengers. And we'd break the news gently, comforting them, agreeing that it wasn't fair, telling them how sorry we were on behalf of the Wal*Mart checker, and they'd say it wasn't our fault, and then we'd send them on their way. Within seconds, another eager soul would approach, and we'd do it again.
There was something enjoyable about the situation, but I can't quite put my finger on it. I think it was the common enemy thing.
We got to be the bearers of bad news for about thirty minutes, and then we were next in queue. The whole time, I thought the checker should have turned off his light, to stop attracting customers, so as soon as I caught the checker's attention, I asked him if he would please turn off his light. He looked at me all confused. I told him that people keep lining up behind us, and we have to keep telling them the lane is closed. And the checker said, without an ounce of apology, "Huh? I can't close my line down. We're too busy." He took his sign back from Tony--again, without an ounce of apology.
Meanwhile, hoards of new people were lining up behind us, and the people we had most recently sent on their way were in the checkout lanes beside us, glaring and murmuring and gnashing their teeth.
We avoided eye contact as we made our way out of Wal*Mart.
Wasn't that a phenomenal story?