Friday, April 13, 2007
The Slowest Animal in the Pack
Darwin's theory of Natural Selection suggests that in any population of animals, some will survive longer than others. Now this is sometimes due to better camouflage or some other characteristic that enables them to evade prey. On the other end of the spectrum, you have the ones that get easily picked off by prey.

Imagine a herd of gazelles running from a cheetah looking for lunch. That slow, stupid one in the back of the pack is usually the first one to feel the jaws of the cat mangling its flesh. The same general principle holds with human beings. Yesterday afternoon I encountered someone from the back of the human pack.

Now, I don't mean to suggest that I'm leading the pack. I'm not. But this girl? She was clueless and not in a cute or attractive or charming way.

She was just really really stupid.

I was shopping at a national department store yesterday, picking up a few items for my husband's summer wardrobe and our upcoming family vacation (Bermuda). I was speed-shopping, as is my habit when I do this sort of thing after work and before picking up Bunny. I was targeted. There were no other shoppers visible in the men's department, so I was unhindered in my attack of the racks. I picked up the nine items that met with my approval and headed for the checkout station.

Incredibly Stupid Checkout Girl: Hello.

Phoenix: Hello. I intend to purchase these items [handing them over]. Can I leave them here for 5 minutes while I check something in housewares?

ISCG: Yes. Let's just fill out this form.

P: Really? I'm not going to be gone five minutes. I just want to have my hands free.

ISCG: Well, we don't want someone to reshelve your stuff...

P: Fine.

And then we filled out the form. I went to housewares (the next department over), checked the item I had been interested in, and came back. I was gone three minutes. Three. On my way back to the checkout, I pick up one more impulse item and take it to the checkout counter.

Incredibly Stupid Checkout Girl: Hello. Ready to check out?

Phoenix: Yes.

ISCG: Great! [uses wand to read barcode] That will be $8.26. How would you like to pay for that?

Phoenix [dumbfounded]: Uh, I want to get those items as well [pointing to the pile that was dropped off, form filled out on top, that is three steps away from ISCG] [thinking to self, "She doesn't remember me from three minutes ago? it took longer to complete that form than I was gone!]

ISCG: Oh! Right! [Rings up additional items] That will be $187.49. How would you like to pay for that?

P: Check. [writes check and passes to ISCG]

ISCG: Can I see your license?

P: Of course [showing].

ISCG: [manipulating machine] This register has been broken for 8 months. It takes forever. [still attempting to manipulate machine]

P [thinking to self]: Gee, that's a real thinker! It's too bad there isn't another machine nearby. Oh wait! There's three others within four steps of this one. But that probably didn't occur to ISCG.

ISCG [entering account number and bank routing number into machine from check]: we're going to have to go through more steps. [Reaching next screen, she begins typing in my name, address, etc.]

P: Uh, wait a minute. I don't want to be in some database.

ISCG: Oh! No problem. [Pressing escape, machine begins to whir and immediately prints my receipt]

P: That's incredibly ridiculous. One almost say that it all looks like a ploy to collect personal information on your customers...

ISCG [with blank stare]: it is been broken for 8 or 9 months.

P[walking away]: Thank you.

Now, I don't think I'm being too hard on this person. She was somewhere between 18 and 25 years old. She was a homely girl with a seamstress's hump, but there was nothing retarded about her. She was just stupid (at best). She failed to recognize a customer with whom she had had a conversation three minutes after the conversation. And, she didn't seem to think that she could choose one of three other perfectly functioning machines instead of the one she knew to be malfunctioning. She failed to identify the fact that my drivers license number is on my check, right under where she had been copying my name and address in for her damn database.

She really pissed me off.

The good news is that I have been reassured that I am not at the back of the human pack.

She's a goner! In the event of a global catastrophe or a giant gorilla or lizard invading, she's gonna be the first one down the gullet of the monster.


posted by Phoenix | 9:05 AM


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