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Handy That You Have Teeth

, , , , , | Right | April 15, 2021

A family — mom, dad, and three very adult children — with a HEAPING cart of stuff rolls through the line. They start to load things onto the counter and I start scanning as fast as I can, smiling, asking how their day is, what projects they were planning on making, just being a polite retail cashier.

Then, I look up for a second and one of the sons says, in a heavy accent and very broken English:

Son: “No English, just have things. What is price?”

I assume he’s asking for the price of the last item and point at the card reader while reading off the item and its price. All of a sudden, he just turns around and runs back into the shopping area with his mom and sister, leaving me with the dad and another son, neither of whom speaks English. I smile sheepishly and start scanning again. 

They keep asking for the price over and over. Eventually, I just turn my computer screen so they can watch it there. Then, I notice the dad is staring at me. Like… weirdly staring. The whole time. I smile again, being polite, but it’s starting to fall into that “I’m creeped out” smile; you know the one.

The dad then TOUCHES MY HAND WITH HIS and smiles really wide and says something in a language I don’t know. I pull back and look at the son.

Son: “Father like smile, pretty white teeth, good mouth.”

Me: *Awkward chuckle* “Yeah… Thanks.”

I look over at the other register but he’s too busy trying to keep the line down since we’re short-staffed. The dad touches my hand a couple more times while we wait for his family to come back. 

When they do come back, they finally explain that they have a gift card and aren’t usually in the states, so they need to use all of it in one go. It takes forever but I get them rung up. 

They want help taking stuff out. I notice my backup, a really nice guy with the heart of an angel who has saved my awkward butt more than a few times, has finally noticed I’m really uncomfortable. He steps up and starts grabbing bags and walks them outside and I finally go back to normal customers. The next customer has been waiting for a while.

Me: “I’m so sorry for that wait.”

Customer: “Oh, it’s really no problem. In fact, I heard what that man said to you about your teeth. Is there any way I can give you some sort of recognition for dealing with that?”

Me: “Oh! Well, we have these cards…”

Customer: “Gimme, I’ll fill out like ten. You did so great.”

Me: “Thanks! Thank you so much!”

I helped her find some good coupons on her phone to thank her for my thank-you card.