The Sinister Six

, , , , , | Right | January 10, 2019

(I am the only cashier at closing. Half a dozen elderly women are shopping when I announce over the intercom that we are closing in fifteen minutes. None of them come up to the register. I make the next announcement at five minutes until closing. No one comes up to the register. Sighing, I wait, and at nine pm sharp, I make the final announcement that we are now closed. Of course, this is the moment that all six women came up with their items and form a line. This seems too orchestrated to be a coincidence, which confirms in my mind that they are all friends. One of the women further down the line calls up to me.)

Customer: “Is there someone else who could help to check us out?”

(I stare at her in disbelief. I hold her gaze for a long moment. I shake my head slowly.)

Me: “Not at this time of night. It’s just me.”

(It took a beat, but then the whole line shifted and sighed, resigned. I wonder if their logic was that, if they waited until closing to pay, the employees would be motivated to get them out of the store faster by opening lots of registers to speed up the process. Thankfully, as it sank in that their clever ploy to avoid a long line had failed, I heard no more complaints from the customers. All but one of the register drawers had already been closed down, and the managers on duty were in the back room, counting the change. I knew that my two managers, both tired after shifts that are always longer than the cashiers’, would take about fifteen minutes to get new drawers ready. There was no point calling them for backup, so I dealt with the line on my own in fifteen minutes.)

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