Today I was in Walmart (because I had some time to kill while waiting for my prescriptions) and had a thoroughly disenchanting experience. It made me dislike people just a little bit. Okay, I’ll admit, I have days anyway where I already dislike people, this just made me dislike people even more.
I was standing in line behind a lady who had two carts of groceries. I wasn’t in a huge hurry, and the other lines were pretty full, so I wasn’t too worried. She got everything scanned, and the total rang up to over $400. Ouch. But apparently not ouch for her because she pulled out her Independence card and paid with that (for those who don’t know, the Independence card is what’s used for food stamps). The total came back that she owed $1.56. She wanted to know why? The cashier (who had the patient of a saint, btw) explained that something must have rung up that wasn’t covered by food stamps. She couldn’t say what it was, since it could have been anything.
The customer proceeded to shriek at the cashier, accusing her of ringing up something that the customer didn’t put on the belt, accusing her of doing something wrong and just basically…accusing her. Keep in mind, we’re talking $1.56. TEN MINUTES LATER the cashier has gone over the receipt, invited the woman to go over the receipt and told a story of how she once found that the Independence card wouldn’t cover a pie a customer wanted to buy, though it usually does. This woman was having none of it. She wanted that $1.56 taken off, though the cashier had explained repeatedly that she couldn’t do that without finding and removing the item. Whatever that was. Finally, just to get things moving, and figuring this woman must not have any other means of payment from the way she was carrying on, I reached into my purse and pulled out $2 and paid her $1.56. The woman did not acknowledge that I’d done this, though the cashier and the people behind me all gave sighs of relief. Fine, I didn’t do it for the thanks and I was ready to move on.
But then she did something I found so disgusting, that it makes me wonder exactly what kind of entitled plateaus our society has reached. She grabbed a gossip magazine from the racks (US magazine) and told the cashier to ring. W. T. F. She got $400 of groceries she didn’t pay for and she was so entitled that she couldn’t pay $1.56 for whatever it was she bought that didn’t get covered? But she could blow $3 on some effing magazine? Seriously, I’m still angry at this woman, for her treatment of the cashier, her total belief that she deserved…whatever, and for buying that magazine with MY $1.50 (because really, that’s what she did).
As that woman walked away, still accusing the cashier of dishonesty and shrieking about how she was going to go home and find the item the cashier had added to her order without her permission (the item that she didn’t pay for since I ponied up the money) the cashier and I looked at each other, and then at the woman in line behind me, and we all shook our heads. I made a comment about being a bit disenchanted with humanity and the cashier said something that made me want to cry a little, “You should try working here for two years. I’ve seen a lot worse than that. She wanted someone–you or me or anyone else to pay that $1.56 because she thought she deserved it. And she got what she wanted, they always do.”
Is this what we’ve come to? Total belief that everything should be given to us, making others lose their belief in the goodness of others? Yuck. Just yuck. I hope my actions balanced that out a little for the cashier, but it’s hard to forget someone treating you so shabbily. And to that woman at Walmart–shame on you. I wonder what the two teenagers you had with you learned from that? They looked embarrassed by your behavior. I hope they were and I hope they convey that to you.