Robert Bush 8:15 p.m., May 19
Black Coffee, The Bee Gees, and Idiotic Clerks
I was having lunch with a friend of mine last week, and we noticed some military guys nearby. I said, "If I was rich, I'd pick up the tab whenever I saw military guys in a restaurant. It would just be a little 'thank you' for what they do." She chuckled.
But then she called me yesterday saying, "I was in Starbucks. And this huge military guy was behind me, in his uniform. So when I got to the register, I told the girl I was going to pay for him as well. He smiled and said 'thank you.' I then said 'No, thank you."
She went on to say that he merely got a black coffee, which cost her around a buck.
But it started to bother her when the girl at the counter wouldn't shut up about it. She said, "Geez, I should go buy a uniform. Would you then buy my stuff?"
She said it got to a point where it was awkward for the both of them, and she didn't want to look at the guy behind her again, for fear he would think he had to continue thanking her.
As he left, he did thank her again. And the Starbucks girl continued going on about it.
When she told me the military guy was African-American, she then said to me, "I hope he doesn't think I bought him the coffee because of Obama getting elected. No, I think he understands."
I then laughed and said, "I would've said, 'Before I buy you your coffee, let me ask...how did you vote on the various Propositions?"
I told her about the various clerks I've had over the years that said inappropriate things. The one that comes to mind immediately is 20 years ago, when I was in a used CD store, and purchasing the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack for a woman I was dating. The guy behind the counter was wearing a Clash shirt, and had about 18 piercings. And that was just in his lip.
He smirked as he rang the order up. But it wasn't until his co-worker came up from the back, and he held it up and made a comment. I said, "Hey idiot, since when is it good customer service to make fun of someones purchase? It's for my girlfriend. And you know what? You think you're so bad ass with your Clash shirt on. I probably know more about the Clash than you."
I named a few obscure facts about the band, and he seemed impressed. But he said something negative about the Bee Gees. I said, "Listen, dude. Her and I were kids when that movie came out, and even if it's a guilty pleasure for us to like those songs, do you realize how lame it is to make fun of someones purchase? I mean, at least wait until they leave before you go on about it. Or, reserve the comments for the person that has 10 CDs, and all of them are lame."
He finally said, "Okay, man. It's cool."
I have to admit, though, when I was going to purchase ABBA Gold a few weeks later for my stepbrother, I made sure he wasn't working that day.