To the Panera counter kid: Yes, I knew you were stoned well before I gave you my order (of a large coffee and one of your delicious four cheese soufflés.) Honestly, I could not understand most of what you said, except for when you called me my man. Five times. It’s been a while since I’ve been around someone as baked as you were. I’m surprised your boss does not say anything to you. If I can be slightly presumptuous and offer you some tips? 1. Moderate your marijuana intake. 2. Don’t laugh at your own jokes so hardily. I do (sometimes) take that route myself, but I don’t live in Davy Jones’ hotbox like you do. 3. Speak louder, it was as if you were having a conversation with yourself, my man. 4. Go for a run before work. You may be able to earn your eyeballs back and you prolly miss those shiny things. 5. Your co-workers may not be direct, but if you and I worked together, my man, I would tell you to your face, that inhaling a bonfire-a-day is not a recipe for success. I’ll stop there. Did you write those down? I know your short-term memory is shot and I want you to get your schtuff together. Oh and if you have the munchies, my man, try that four cheese soufflé. They are mighty tasty, but you knew ‘dat.
To the REI counter girl: I’ve been going to REI since the early 1980s. No joke. It was my father’s favorite store. That Marin Bobcat that I rode today was perfect. It took me back to all the reasons why I love bikes so much. I’ve never owned one with suspension and that Suntour XCR-LO suspension fork had perfect balance. I can’t really say the same about that fixie that I rode, the Novara Buzz One Bike. It sucked. One gear jobbies are for hipsters. I just don’t like them. Now that Marin, that was the ticket. But there is something, counter girl, that I want to share with you. You and chatted briefly while I waited for you to set up your new cash register. I smiled and was certainly cordial. I’m a guy who can be friendly to anyone. That said, when you asked for my ID and I showed you my military identification card, you recoiled (in near revulsion) as if I were some brute. I’ve never quite had a reaction like that. Never. Is it not honorable to be in the military? I know REI is a little on the hippie side. And I know I was not in uniform, nor did I wear anything that said Navy. Just some ‘didas sweatpants and an Under Armor hoodie. So I was undercover. Yes, I know your store is near the beach (see the Panera counter kid for more on this.) But us in the military pump money into your’alls coffers. I could tell I caught you flat-footed and you felt flummoxed on your response. Anyway, love your store. You guys are the best.
To the Apple Store Genius counter folks: Yes, you all made me wait eight minutes for my appointment. But no biggee. The fact that you let me trade in my iPod with the cracked screen for a new one was truly generous. And you only charged me half-price! I appreciate it. I find your general approach to staffing, store manners, and shop layout slightly creepy. Every time I go into an Apple Store, it is as if I were in East Europe, say in the late 80s. I’ll stop there because I’m a big fan of your products. Pretty neat that your company (with Tim Cook at the helm) hardly pays any taxes, whereas I shell out thousands. Oh, I should tell you, I exercised my steely self-resolve and refrained from setting this blog as the homepage on any of the several Macs and iPads I fiddled around with. I am, after all (despite how certain REI employees see me), a gentleman.
California, I will miss some things about ‘er when I deploy. Not everything.