One Is The Loneliest, Most Unhelpful Number

, , , , , , | Working | July 28, 2020

I am in a quiet, low-cost clothing store, walking the winding path made by impulse-item shelves to the registers, when a woman walks in the exit of the tills and plunks her stuff down in front of the man at the counter to do a return.

I stand, a bit annoyed, as another worker putters behind the long counter, seeming kind of bored, mainly holding up returned items and then laying them back down in the same spot, no note-making or other actions.

The return drags on and two other women come to line up behind me. After the three of us wait for about a minute, the woman behind the counter wanders to a till and says:

Salesperson: “I can help you here.”

Me: “Why couldn’t you help me a few minutes ago?”

Salesperson: “You were the only one in line.”

Me: “What? So?”

Salesperson: “They don’t like the line getting too long.”

Me: “So, you just left me standing there until more people came?”

Salesperson: “Well… you were the only one there.”

I walked out, leaving my basket on the counter.

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