Friday Firesmith – The Clot

It figures that if I am in a hurry there will be something or someone that will slow me down. I run into a man I once worked with, and he’s gone downhill in a hurry. He’s got a blood clot in his leg they’re treating, and until they can shrink it or operate on it, he can’t get out and do very much anymore. The clot is a time bomb and this man knows it. He’s shopping for a broom and taking a lot more time looking at brooms than most people would. I listen patiently and ask about his garden because I know he’s got one and I know he likes talking about it. He’s good with the earth and that’s a dying craft.

I’ve got fifty pounds of dog food so self-check out isn’t an option, “Please place your items in the bagging area”. “Unexpected item in bagging area”. “Firearms are not allowed in bagging area”. “Unexpected bullet hole in talking machine, please wait for assistance.”

At the cashier’s post, there’s a problem. There’s a guy who looks like he’s about sixty trying to flirt with the cashier and she’s one-third his age, easy. He’s telling her how cute she is and asking for her number and asking her how she likes older men and she’s locked down and stopped talking to him except to tell him how much he owes. I’ve pissed off enough women in my life, never like this of course, but I know that look. If he was smart and clearly he isn’t, that look on her face ought to have him seeking out another time zone to be in or maybe even another time period, like the Jurassic.

“Your total is fifty dollars and fifty-seven cents” she repeats for the third time.

He makes a show of finally getting out his wallet and fanning some twenties out. He lays them down on the counter one at a time, and all the while he’s making this weird little snickering noise with his mouth. “That’s fifty,” he tells her and she has to reach towards him to pick the bills up. I can tell this is making her uncomfortable and he looks like he’s having the best time ever.

He dumps some change on the counter, counts it out loud, slowly, snickering all the while, rocking back and forth, and finally tells her “That’s fifty-seven cents!” like it’s a prize. Again, she has to reach towards him to pick up the change.
“I was a nickel short”, he says and hands her a quarter. She takes it and gives him two dimes but he says, “I was kidding” and she counts the change, and give him back the quarter. Her look at this point is murderous. He picks up his bags and leaves, telling her he’ll come back to see her later.

So tell me guys, have you ever had a woman do this to you, or is it just men who do this to women?

Take Care,
Mike

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
 
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.
 

27 comments to Friday Firesmith – The Clot

  • mark

    Scraping the bottom of the barrel on this one Mr. Firesmith…..

    • Oh? How so Mark?

      Are you saying that this sort of behavior isn’t practiced by men, or that it is practiced by women also?

      Or that it’s okay for men to do this?

      or perhaps, it’s just not interesting to you because you don’t care that men do this?

  • Ken

    You might want to take a few weeks off, you’re running out of material. What in the hell does the guy with the clot have anything to do with the story? The self-check out story with the bullet holes? Really?
    So you ran into a pervert in the check-out line, big deal. The NYT will be all over this story.

    • Ken, I think I’m actually a couple of weeks ahead and I haven’t gotten to the Emus yet.

      The guy with a cloth serves as an analogy in this situation. I’ll let you think about how it fits in.

      The talking machine just irritate the hell out of me and I thought I’d toss that in because chances are there are gun loving folk out there who hate them too. Shared misery and shared solutions.

      But you didn’t bother to answer the question: Is it just us men who do this to women?

      Sorry not to entertain you, really, there could be tears.

  • Jenifer

    So you stood there and let this man terrorize the poor girl who is just trying to make a living. This is what is wrong with people. Say something!! I am not saying start a fight, but, a hey, dude, just pay the girl, she is not interested might have made her feel a little more comfortable. There are men out there that are creeps and unless someone tells them they are creeps they think it is funny, or OK. It’s not OK it’s a form of assault that will escalate.

    • Jennifer, you are right. I should have said, or done, something. I don’t think she was terrified as much as she was pissed, but that doesn’t negate your point at all.

      I think guys see so much of this it fails to make an immediate impact sometimes, but that too is a cop out.

      The only defense I have is that I am a bald middled aged white guy in South Georgia and the other two parties were not white. Getting involved in that depute may have led at least one of them and likely both to wonder about my motives.

      • HJ

        “Not white” or not (and this thought occurred to me before I read your response), I’d worry that the old perv had a gun and would be willing to use it.

        There’s no way I would get in the middle of a situation like that.

        • HJ, I’m wary of confronting human beings. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again, but considering about 90% of the people around here are packing…

          And I am too. This limits my ability to get involved, also.

  • Steve D

    I remember my short time as a grocery bagger was plagued by gay guys coming in to buy just one cucumber and snickering at me as I bagged it.

  • that1chick

    Wow, I see the haters are out in full force today. No worries Mike, your loyal fan club is still here, I may not always post or respond, but I ALWAYS read.
    I have had crap like that happen to me, I used to be a bartender, I also used to be a cashier. Both professions you’re told to be nice to the customer. The customer is always right, blah,blah,blah. Untrue. The customer is sometimes rude, lewd, and down right obnoxious. I worked in a rough bar at one time, and one customer was so rude and obnoxious to me that another customer gave him a good ol’ country ass whoopin’ now I don’t condone violence, but if I did this guy had it coming. I did not ask anyone to do that to that guy or even suggest it. I’m sure I wasn’t the only person he got on the wrong side of that evening.

    • Chick, there is a group of men out there who see any suggestion of wrong doing as cultural mindset as a violation of their position on the top of the food chain and I knew whose buttons I was pushing when I wrote this. It’s getting worse, in some ways, because with the “grab them by their pu$$ies” remark by Trump, there are those who feel as if such actions are actually condoned.

      The “just let it go” or “you’re boring me” comments tell me I’ve struck a nerve in the right place.

  • Architect

    Mike, I’m a friendly type fellow, so I usually smile at people that cross my path. Quite often, younger women look at me like I’m some kind of predator when I’m only smiling at them, and I wondered why. I wondered “Do I look pervy?” (I don’t think so.) I think this article might explain why I get that look sometimes. Maybe they’re constantly getting hit on by older guys like me, and it’s just pre-emptive defense.

    • Architect, if you want to be friendly and also seem harmless, the first thing you should talk about is your wife or girlfriend. Telling a cashier you love her earrings and a similar pair would be something your girlfriend would love is something that give everyone a sense of friendly chatter without fear. I do a lot of shopping in my hometown and it is really a small place. The teenage cashier sees me as a man who has a girlfriend and who loves dogs, not as a dirty old man.

  • mark

    Ahhh….progressives, always looking for that boogey/straw man….and it always seems to be a white male…..in case you’ve missed it, there are jerk-offs of all stripes, colors and ideologies…teach your daughters how to deal with them (as I did)…..ENOUGH with everyone is a victim – (of the white male patriarchy)…..oh by the way, that1chick, just because one sees things differently doesn’t automatically make them a “hater”……

  • Ken

    First of all Mike, I guess I owe you an apology. I usually enjoy your material and have turned several people on to your site. The question in your last paragraph is rather silly. What difference does it really make? Men and women are put into awkward situations on a daily basis. It has always happened and will continue to happen. Is a poll really necessary? A lot of people conceal carry, it’s not a big deal.

    • Ken, no apology needed. You are entitled to an opinion here and if what I write isn’t up to your standards you have the right to say so. Jon and I have discussed this at no end; stuff we think is really good gets no attention and stuff we think isn’t gets a lot of hits. Neither of us are very good at predicting what will become hot and what will not.

      The thing here, and there is no getting around it, Ken, is you never see women doing this to men. It is strictly something men do to women.

      Women clearly do not enjoy it. Why do we?

  • Paul in Fort Lauderdale

    Write to make, and keep, yourself happy. People always have the option to not read what you write. At the risk of being offensive, when I see a Friday dog story I just move on. When did white guys become so sensitive?

  • xoxoxoBruce

    Probably the ones you and Jon think will fly, are ones people don’t want to touch because it’s too close to home.

    The question was, ”have you ever had a woman do this to you,”.
    Yes, I see it often. She wants a discount, she wants adoration, or more often she wants to embarrass you in front of her girlfriends.

    • Bella

      I’ve seen Women play the game differently too. Some play the blame game, some play the victim (ouch he hurt me when no one actually has), some play the I try so hard but fail game….and it goes on and on. Mostly Men feel sorry for them and try to step up to the plate to let the ahole Woman know that all men aren’t like that and then get blindsided by the B!tch. Yes I’ve seen this happen many times. Different tactics and strategies but just as hurtful or infuriating.

    • Bruce, the real difference is the physical power most men have over most women. A friend of mine who owned a moving company would tell two women to move something incredibly heavy and they would either (a) find the smartest way to move it without getting hurt, or (b) go get a couple of guys to do it.

      Perversely, he could tell two guys, “If you can’t move this I’ll get a man to help you” and they would kill themselves before admitting they couldn’t.

  • ElvisShotJFK

    Sadly, I’ve seen this kind of behavior from men and women alike, but I am pretty sure that men are more likely to be assholes to women than the other way around. I’m on the receiving end from time to time; I try to not let it bother me too much. The customer/client is not always right, yet you do have to let some stuff slide and get on with the task at hand. Easier said than done sometimes and I have had to speak up about a few times when it’s gone a bit too far. Or the time I had to simply walk away before backhanding someone at work – even if they may have deserved it. Never been to jail, never want to be there.

    Oh, I hate using those self-checkouts. I only bother with them if the all the available cashiers have at least a few customers waiting and I need to get going, otherwise I’d rather just wait and go through the line. Sometimes it’s longer at the self checkout because more people are there or the machine is being stupid and won’t scan a candy bar taken from the nearby rack until it’s been passed over a dozen or two times, with a couple rotations and a few choice four and five letter words involved.

    • ESJ, I’ll have to borrow that last paragraph as soon as I get on another rant about self check outs.

      The thing about this sort of thing happening at work is that it is infinitely worse because then whatever you’re putting up with you have to for a paycheck.

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