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OrdinaryTimes 1.39-CheckingOut

I’m the sort of person who tends to have difficult check-outs at the store. Retailers these days seem more interested in data gathering than selling stuff, so checkout’s complicated. No, I do not have one of your frequent shopper cards, or, if I do have one, I signed up under an assumed name. Do you discount my purchases if I ‘belong?’ If so, I have an assumed-name affiliation. If not, I don’t.

Yesterday I bought a bunch of fall plants at the hardware store. They were all the same, so I carried one of them to the front counter. The clerk charged me for N of the one I carried, then I went to the back to cart the bunch away. As I was pulling out of the parking lot, a clerk approached my car asking if he could look at my receipt. “I called to the front and they said they hadn’t checked out any bunches of plants,” he explained. “That’s because I only schlepped one of them to the checkout stand where she replicated one by N,” I replied. I was not arrested.

Today, I went to buy a single pen. The pen I prefer doesn’t come in ones anymore. I could by a rainbow pack of four colors, only one of which would be my preferred black, or I could by a dozen of my preferred color. Hobson’s Choice. I could have whatever was already saddled up. I found what I hope will prove to be an acceptable compromise, and it will be a compromise, and made my way to the checkout stand. The card reader wasn’t quite ready when I swiped the first time. Then, the keypad didn’t catch all of my super-secret code, offering me only one of two inappropriate choices. The clerk restarted the process. That time, I didn’t try to follow the indecipherable instructions, hitting buttons at random, and it worked. I was checked out.

No, I do not want to receive notices of your weekly specials. No, I do not have a Frequently Humiliated Shopper card. I do not want to belong. I want what you don’t stock because to stock a single medium-width black roller ball pen, which I would revere for two or three years, won’t satisfy your stakeholders, who do not want to satisfy your customer’s desires, but your accountants’ and your stockbrokers’ and your chairman of the board’s desires. Which, obviously, aren’t mine.

If you could only plug into my social network, maybe you could through subliminal suggestion convince me that I don’t want a single utilitarian pen that would last me for two or three years; that I would want what your accountants want me to want. I left certain that I’ll give that place a wide birth next time I needed a pen. Hopefully it will be two or three years from now.

Please believe me, my data isn’t worth crap. I do not shop. I am not a demographic. I do not like visiting your data extortion center, and only stopped by because the stationary shop I used to frequent went out of business after you data gatherers took over the industry. I’m tempted to resort to quill pens.

©2013 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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