I’ve mentioned before that I’m easily confused. Especially by odd (by my definition of course; your mileage may vary) things that people say or do.
This is probably the reason that I’ve written a lot about various ‘adventures’ I’ve had with the healthcare industry. (It’s not really an industry, but I can’t think of a better word right now.) With healthcare you have people (sometimes confusing), technology (often confusing) bureaucracy (almost always confusing) and politics (practically the reason for the existence of the word in the first place).
Another setting is retail. Weird stuff happens there for
some many of the same reasons. There are a lot of things about the retail mindset that I just don’t get. I was reminded of this the other day
because it’s now spring.
There was no Sign, of course (well, I guess maybe there sort of was), nobody recited that stupid poem (you know the one) and there was snow yesterday (and today AND they’re predicting more for tomorrow) so wool socks are definitely going to remain in my wardrobe for the forseeable future.
All the signs are there — the accumulated dog poop of the winter (dog walkers often, um, ‘linger’ behind the radish where they think we can’t see them — I should put up a sign that says I CAN SEE YOU AND I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING) is now visible, psychotic avians have begun their annual siege of the house and its occupants (nature is not always pretty), delusional flowers have made their appearance and been covered in frostonite for their trouble and
it’s spring hockey time.
Now, there’s not really a lot of difference between winter hockey and spring hockey. The personnel changes a bit, it’s on a different day at a different venue but the ice is roughly the same and the dressing rooms, while newer, are still generic, slightly too small and slightly too smelly with less-than-ideal showers and wi-fi that you’re not supposed to use.
But since it’s spring it’s just that little bit warmer.
Which is a bit of a problem because when it’s ‘too warm’ I tend to get overheated, overtired and overcranky (by which I don’t mean to imply that I’m ever ‘undercranky’). But I can leave a hopefully refreshing beverage in the car and — because it’s spring — it won’t freeze. Which kind of makes the long (Was it this long when I came in? It was? I find that hard to believe.) walk back to the car worthwhile. I get there, dump my bag (which is significantly heavier after the game than before, what’s up with that?) in the back, sit (there’s a bench that’s in the sun that’s conveniently close to the portal) and enjoy a restorative (that means caffeinated) and calorically-appropriate (in this context that means cold) potable from a pink container. (Because pink is so much more than a colour.)
One day last spring, though, I succumbed to AAADD and forgot the pink container (or was it the green one?) at home. Oh no! What’s a tired houseplant to do? “But wait,” I told myself, “there’s a fast food
restaurant establishment that’s not totally socially irresponsible just six hundred metres away and they sell root beer that’s not completely horrible. I’ll just go there. There are no seats in the sun and there’s no portal, but it’ll be Good Enough.”
So off I went. I told the bored-looking lady at the counter the full range of my hopes, dreams and desires. Or at least what I wanted to drink.
“I’d like a large root beer, please.”
“We don’t have large.”
Say what? Every fast food
restaurant establishment in existence has had since time immemorial (if not longer) three sizes of beverage, invariably named something like ‘small’, ‘medium’ and ‘large.’ Ah, perhaps they had adopted a pretentious (not to mention stupid) naming scheme designed to distract The Customer from the fact he was paying way too much for this consumable. That must be it. I just needed to figure out what particular pomposity they had chosen to replace the word ‘large.’ I looked at the menu.
There were two — not three — sizes of drink listed, but no ridiculous names for them. So I was confused. I have no doubt that I looked confused. I shifted my attention back to the bored-looking lady behind the counter. She patiently explained, with the aura of someone who had already done this a thousand times that day
“We have small and medium but not large” she said.
That made me even more confused. It was on the menu so it wasn’t just that they had run out of cups. Apparently they had changed the menu so that the largest possible beverage you could order was named ‘medium.’ Well, at least it wasn’t pretentious. But…
“Doesn’t a size named ‘medium’ sort of imply the existence of something bigger? Unless it’s supposed to suggest some sort of heretofore-unsuspected relationship to a spiritual grifter, of course.”
She looked at me like I was insane, so apparently not. Well, I bowed to the inevitable. (A bit. I still thought it was ridiculous.)
“A root beer please. The largest size you’re allowed to sell me. Whatever that might be called.”
I imagined a guy in a suit in a corner office and tried to understand what he had been thinking when he decided to fly totally against company (and industry) history and tradition and not even put up a sign but make nice ladies who weren’t told the reasons explain them (“Listen, bub — I don’t understand it either. I just work here.”) to overheated, overtired and overcranky nitwits. I concluded — not for the first time — that I really, really didn’t understand the retail (or suit) (or corner office) mind.
But even though there was no bench in the sun next to a hazardous dimensional rift it was good and soon I was feeling considerably more human.
Still confused, though.