Thursday, December 11, 2008

Goodwill Toward Men

I shop at the Goodwill stores in Nashville. There are several reasons for this. Most significantly is the fact that my middle-aged frame rages wildly between pants that have waist sizes between 36 and 42 inches. I know that is hard to understand but it’s the truth. I can’t afford to array my closet with high-class trousers that cover my yo-yo tendencies. Secondly, billboards all over town encourage us to shop at Goodwill stores because, they claim, we are helping people sustain jobs and grow. Finally, I am always looking for some hip stuff that I can wear on stage when I sing my bullshit folk songs – something much hipper than the khakis and tee shirts that I live in. I stopped by my favorite Goodwill today and gathered a handful of things – 2 pairs of pants, 4 shirts and a sweater. It was Red-Tag Day and all of my items were half-off. I went to the counter to check out and stood behind a sweet Mexican-American couple with a young child holding a Santa doll that talked. They purchased their items but then became aware that their child really wanted this Santa doll – an item they had not purchased. The black woman behind the counter was enthralled by the young boy and laughed at his antics with the talking Santa. This went on for about 10 minutes. The young father finally asked how much it was and she said, ‘Oh, I don’t know – how about 2 dollars.’ He paid the money and left. Now it was my turn. I laid my purchases down on the table and asked her how she was doing. She looked at me as if she wished to poke an ice pick through my eye and said nothing. She rang up my items in silence, all the while looking out beyond me into the store. She finished ringing up my things and said, ’$31.42’ without looking me in the eyes. I reached into my wallet for cash and didn’t have enough. I produced a credit card that she grabbed out of my hand as if I didn’t deserve to have one. When the receipt papers flowed through the machine she laid one in front of me to sign. I did and handed it back to her and said, ‘Thanks for your help.’ She looked beyond me and said, ‘Next.’ 

Merry Christmas!


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