“Your Checkout Clerk Is Not Alright”

Your checkout clerk is not “alright.”

But he wants you to believe him when he says that he is, when you ask that automatic non-question of, “How are you?”

Your checkout clerk is not “okay.”

But she stretches a smile across her face when she answers. She knows you don’t really want to know but she appreciates that you asked.

Your checkout clerk is not “just fine.”

But he means it when he says “thank-you.” He likes to be asked even though he doesn’t want to give an honest answer. You aren’t his therapist. He doesn’t have one.

Your checkout clerk does not care that you’ve been looking all over for a shirt like this.

She just hopes she isn’t working customer service when the sweatshop stitching falls apart next month and you’re trying to return it –without a receipt.

Your checkout clerk does not know whether your new thousand-dollar barbeque will work when assembled.

He knows he would have to work for a month to make the money you just spent in fifteen seconds. Besides, his housing complex doesn’t allow barbeques.

Your checkout clerk is not being grumpy to annoy you.

Her best friend committed suicide this week and she herself is about to go through her second abortion.

Your checkout clerk is not flirting with you because of your new hairstyle.

He’s being watched by his supervisor who’s checking off his “smiles per hour” on a clipboard.

Your checkout clerk does not understand why you’re so upset about the soda pop not registering for a dollar off as stated in the flyer –last week’s flyer.

She has a Master’s degree on International Development and spent her break reading about drought deaths in Africa.

Your checkout clerk did not get that skull tattoo on his arm against the wishes of his parents.

His parents didn’t care.

Your checkout clerk is not wearing her skirt that short because she is a slut.

She just wants attention. And she got it.

Your checkout clerk knows that you’re not likely to want to apply for the store’s credit card.

He gets in trouble if he doesn’t ask each and every customer.

Your checkout clerk did not come to work today with a cold just to give it to you.

She doesn’t get sick days.

Your checkout clerk is not being pushy.

He’s been told that if he doesn’t “up-sell” more he’ll be fired.

Your checkout clerk is not hung over.

She’s at the tail end of a double shift.

Your checkout clerk did not choose to work on this holiday.

He chose the short straw.

Your checkout clerk does not want your pity, understanding, compassion or anything else.

She wants a better job.

Your checkout clerk is not still in school.

And he’s not flattered that you thought he was.

Your checkout clerk does not have this job because she failed at something.

Something failed her.

Your checkout clerk does not do drugs.

He doesn’t have a drug plan.

Your checkout clerk did not have a “rough night.”

She hasn’t been laid in seven and a half months.

Your checkout clerk is not gay.

Though sometimes he wishes he was.

Your checkout clerk is not having “a nice day.”

But she means it when she says it to you.

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