It was my husband's (the good one) birthday. He was a wonder of a man, some of God's best work, but he was like a little kid when it came to presents. He would snoop and sneak and try to find out what I might be giving him, so I kept his birthday gifts locked in my car until the day came.
The morning of his birthday, I had a late starting time at work, so I ran to Walmart to find a few last odds & ends, and a card. It's probably pertinent that more than one man I've dated, or married, has suggested it might be wise to work on being [i]present[/i] wherever I happen to be.
I bought a few more things, found two cards I liked - one mushy, one funny, and went to work.
That night in the parking garage, I was putting his presents together when I realized I was missing some things. Having been only to Walmart and work, and the loot wasn't at work, I must have left it at Walmart. I called home, said I'd be a little late and drove back to the scene of the crime.
At Customer Service, there was no one in line before me. A promising start. The woman behind the counter said, without a smile, "Yeah, can I help you?"
I explained what I just told you. I'd bought some things and didn't have them when I got to work, so they must be here...
"Do you have your sales receipt?"
"Um, no, I'm assuming it's in the bag I don't have."
She walked over to a tall set of metal shelves and without hesitation, pulled a Walmart bag down and brought it back to the counter.
"What did you buy?" She turned her back so she could look in the bag without divulging any clues to me. The rest of this conversation took place with me talking to the back of her head.
What DID I buy? I thought. "A couple of pencils with cartoons on them. A couple of cards..."
"What does it say on the cards?"
I didn't know, I hadn't been expecting a quiz. "Um, uh, what [i]does[/i] it say on the cards. Oh, wait, I can't remember the messages, but one of the envelopes has balloons on it."
She nodded tersely. "What else?"
I couldn't even remember to take my purchases with me, and she wanted me to recite them? I noticed some noise behind me and glanced back to see four or five people now in line behind little ol' me.
I remembered something. "Three books." I named two of the books by title and author.
"What about the other one?"
I struggled, so mesmerized by this Customer Service spider web I was tangled in, I didn't even register how peculiar this all was.
"Oh! I can't remember the author, but the title is Eragon and...and...the dust cover is dark purple and there's a golden dragon embossed on it!" I was so proud.
Again her head jerked in a nod and she started to ask me something else, but the woman behind me yelled, "Oh, for the love of God! Give her her stuff!"
You see, when someone has never had any power, and then they get some, even in so small a pond as Walmart Customer Service, it goes to their head, like champagne.