It's a little past midnight, and I've been on the road for more than thirteen long, frustrating hours. It's been a typical frantic day and now I'm completely exhausted. After finishing up my last call here, in this big box retail store, I just want to go home, get something to eat and go to bed. I grab my tool kit, along with an armload of used parts and head toward the door.
Sure enough, before I get too far, one of the night crew's customer service agents, flutters up to me. like a little pixie, and with a bright, shiny grin, and in a chipper little voice she says: “You like tired!”. I can already feel where this is headed. “I am”, I mumble in affirmation, as I shuffle past. Sure enough, she falls into step beside me, and asks: “Well, can I ask you something?”. I stop, while inwardly rolling my eyes reply, “Sure, what's up?”. With far too much enthusiasm for the late hour she squeaks out, “It's lane eleven... It's not working. We tried everything and I was going to call it in tomorrow, but we really NEED that lane open right now!”. I put everything down on a counter top and turn around to go back to check, but I can already plainly see that lane eleven is in use. I am watching as a cashier laconically slides items across in scanner, into shopping bags. Just as I begin to point out the obvious fact that the lane is operational, she quickly stammers out, “Well, it wasn't working before. I can shut it down so you can take a look at it.” Trying not to show my irritation, I tell her that I'd check it out, when I come back tomorrow if it stops working again. At that, I turn back around, pick up my stuff, and continue my trudge toward the front door.
I didn't get very much further before one of the cashiers scuttles up to me and practically shouts, “BOY, am I glad to see YOU! What about lane 45? That's why I thought you were here! That lady over there says it's running too slowly!”. Now my irritation is starting to show. “Look, I've been I've been at it since this morning, and the lane is up and running... I will look at it when I come back in the morning”. Still not satisfied, she turns directly to whining: “What am I supposed to say to this customer?... She's getting upset”. Without missing a beat, I turn to her and say, with a grin,” Tell her that suicide is always an option... See you tomorrow.” With a startled gasp of laughter, she rubs me gently on the back and assures me that she'll relay that message while telling me that"Don't worry about it. This lady is a regular pain in the ass, every time she comes in here anyway".
While quickening my pace in order to avoid further delay, I lose control of one of my boxes, sending a motherboard skittering across the floor. A kindly older gentlemen collects if for me and as I put my things down to put it back in the box, he asks me,"Do you do side work? I stay down here during the winter and can use a good computer guy."I quickly wave him off while explaining, "Uh, no sir, I don't. I have more than enough to keep me busy during the day... Thanks for your help." After another moment or two of pleasantries, I bid him goodby and continue on my way.
I almost make it to the exit, when I run into the assistant manager coming back from break. She seems genuinely surprised to see me and exclaims, in an excitement tinged voice, “WOW!, you're here late, tonight!... Let me ask you something...”