Bonnie – hope it’s a great one! So, since I’d spent the weekend making a buttload of copies of last week’s Oprah (the “What it’s like to be obese” one from Wednesday), I needed to go out and buy boxes to mail those tapes out. St@ples is conveniently located, not even five minutes away, so I headed over there. I strode confidently through the front door and headed for the shipping supplies aisle, knowing exactly where it was because school supplies aside, the only reason I ever go in there is to buy boxes or padded envelopes, though there is the occasional purchase of bubble wrap to spice things up. I’d loaded up with an armful of boxes (and some padded envelopes, because you can never have too many of those, especially when you’re mailing stuff out all the time) and was headed toward the front of the store when an employee hailed me. “Can I help you find anything?” “No thanks!” I said, and continued walking. “Find everything you need?” she asked with a wide smile. “Yep. Thanks!” I said over my shoulder. She followed me. “Going to ship a lot of things, huh?” she said. “That’s right. Thanks!” Obviously she’d never taken Customer Service 101, wherein the “‘Thanks!’ = go away” equation is covered thoroughly. Somewhere around the tins of butter cookies, I lost her. I stood in line while the elderly gentleman ahead of me argued with the cashier about whether the two clipboards he was buying were $0.99 or $1.04. I was about to step forward and offer to pay the ten cent difference when the employee who’d been following me earlier came back into view. “I can help you at this register!” she announced, waving wildly. I walked over and dumped my armload of stuff on the counter, and then we spent the next five minutes doing the “What’s your zipcode/ email/ phone number/ true haircolor/ contacts or glasses?/ is the weight on your driver’s license true?/ the first day of your last menstrual period?” dance. As she finally began ringing up my items, she gave me another wide smile. “Do you have the St@ples Business Plus card?” she asked. “Nope.” Pause. “Would you like to apply for one?” “No thank you.” Another pause. “They don’t cost anything, and you get 2.5 percent of your purchase back blah blah blah blah.” I stared at her with a blank smile, noting that she’d tromped willy-nilly all over the unspoken code of honor I, as a customer, and she, (as someone who wanted me to write down my name, address, phone number, and god knows what else so that a large corporation could track each and every one of my purchases every time I made a purchase at their store, needing such information for such nefarious purposes as deciding whether or not they needed to send me another coupon so I’d get off my lazy ass and Spend! Spend! Spend! at their store, or perhaps sell this information to the government, so that Big Brother could keep track of my padded-envelope-buying habits, decide I was spending too much of my time mailing things out, and toss my ass in the gulag for a hard 20 years, only I would die a cold and horrible death in mere months without my beloved Poo by my side, and Fred? I’m sure Fred would have a skanky blonde as his date for the funeral (that’s a joke between the two of us, don’t get het up)) as the employee, are both supposed to hold dear. To wit, I only have to say “No” once, because I’m PRETTY FUCKING SURE I mean “No”, and you’ll only embarrass yourself if you keep going on about it, goddamnit, so hear me say “No” and shut the fuck up about it. The entire time she babbled on about the incredible features of this card, I kept up with the blank, horrified smile, staring at her as if she’d shown up to work butt-ass naked and just hadn’t noticed yet. Finally, she trailed off, and then, before she could finish the transaction, she smiled once again. “Is this for business or personal?” she asked. “Business,” I said brightly. “As in none of your fucking.” And then I hauled ass out of there.]]>