The Customer Accumulation Area

I took a trip to a well known supercenter today, and learned that the notion that common enemies can bring people of all types together, is true.

If you have ever been to this land of wonder during peak hours, or really anytime between 10am and 11pm, then you should

know that a problem-free experience is usually a foreign concept once you walk through those automated doors.

However I was in no rush and had faith that this trip would be different, so I made my way to the customer service department, bed comforter in hand, with the confidence of Donald Trump at a bank. There were three people ahead of me, two registers were being used (a rarity), and a lady at one of the registers was almost done.

Smooth sailing, right? Of course not.

The almost-done lady at the register turned around for a few seconds and had a look of extreme frustration on her face. The guy at the other register shifted his weight and extended his arms forward to lean on the counter… I set my comforter on the floor…
A few minutes later the lady and her cashier moved over to a 3rd register, because from the sound of things theirs had frozen.

… and so it begins…

By this time, customer service was to close in 20 minutes and the advertisement on the Rug Doctor rental machine was gearing up for it’s 500th go-around, so I decided to scan my surroundings again. The line had grown by 7 customers.

The first lady in line looked like a fancier Martha Stewart, so I’m going to refer to her as Betty – because why not.

The gentleman behind her, looked like a rough and tough biker. We’re going to call him Steve.

Finally, the man in front of me seemed like his occupation might be “stay-at-home dad”, so his name is going to be Edward.

Register 1 Man: What do you mean you don’t know how to do it?

Register 1 Cashier: I’m sorry sir, I haven’t learned that.

Register 3 Cashier: *goes to see what’s happening*

Register 3 Lady: Where do you think you’re going? Get back over here so I can leave!

Edward: This might get interesting.

Register 3 Cashier: Ma’am I need you to calm down, I’ll be right back with you.

Register 1 Man: Honestly, this is ridiculous!

Betty: So much for a quick trip.

Steve: I’m tellin’ ya’. They don’t get this stuff together, i’m raising hell.

*manager walks by*

Betty: Ma’am, I insist that you do something about this fiasco, right now.

The manager rushed behind the counter trying to diffuse the situation, and I noticed the level of chatter had risen.

Why? Well everyone in the line was talking to each other.

It wasn’t angry talking either, it was old school small talk about why they were here and where they needed to go.
After a minute or two, those conversations led to people sharing stories about their kids and vacations, recommendations on good mechanics, and an array of other topics that compelled Edward and I to completely turn around and silently observe.

It was so picturesque it was slightly irritating.

Betty commented that it was lovely seeing humans behave like humans.
Steve felt that it was “Good shit.”
Edward said it reminded him of a movie and wished his wife could see.
I, however, simply wondered how it suddenly looked like the line for food at a family reunion.

In the midst of the wonderful camaraderie the two cashiers erupted in a heated yell battle, which of course had no sign of getting anywhere productive. Not long after, we the people (the line) overheard one of them say another computer wasn’t responding. The line behind me was now sitting at 12 customers, and every one of their faces looked less than pleased.

The manager looked up slowly to address the angry patrons, “I’m sorry, but you will all have to come back an-“, at this point the line could probably be classified as an angry mob.

The most eye opening part of this ordeal – and the reason I’m taking time from people watching to write this – is how through the yelled curses and demands for the situation to be fixed, no one in line was advocating for themselves.

“Ryan can’t…”

“Elise needs…”

“You better help Erica send…”

“Betty has to…”

We all had one goal to accomplish, and one group of dummies in our collective way.

In the end, after tons of conflict management, we had our issues fixed, and one-by-one we headed out to continue our lives.

No Worldstar.

No damage.

No clue where Register 1 Man and Register 3 Lady went.

Nothing could have prepared me for that rollercoaster of foolery, but hey, if anyone is interested, im willing to sell movie rights.

45 minutes after arriving, my trip ended with the lady by the door telling the gentleman in front of me to have a nice night, and shooting a sharp glare my direction as if I stole her childhood memories. Life.

As wonderful a lesson I learned, i’ll not be visiting that location again.

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