Aren’t hippies supposed to be about peace and love?
When I returned to the fuel center with the merchandise that needed to be restocked, I saw a shirtless, white-haired person looking into one of the beverage coolers. The person’s hair was longish and worn in low pigtails, so my first impression was that we had a bare-chested older lady on the premises. While I was still contemplating the person’s sex and gender, he stood up and I realized I was looking at a man. He was wearing shorts which combined with his long hair and shirtless condition led me to suspect he was on old hippie.
He took a bottle of iced tea out of the cooler and to the window of the kiosk where my coworker, a young Latino man, was staffing the register.
I was waiting for my coworker to finish with the customer and open the door to the kiosk for me. I held a shopping basket full of tobacco products and idly eavesdropped on the interaction between the coworker and the customer.
The coworker told the customer the price of the bottle of tea. The customer questioned the price. Wasn’t it only $2 a bottle?
The coworker told the customer that was the price with the rewards card.
Why didn’t you ask me for the rewards card? the old hipped challenged while digging in his pocket for his card.
I’m sure I rolled my eyes, at least metaphorically. Anyone who has a reward card knows how it works. Anyone who has a rewards card knows you need to present the card in order to receive a sale price. No sale price is automatic in a store with a rewards card program.
Perhaps the hippie had forgotten about the rewards card. Some people do. If he had forgotten, he could have just pulled it out and presented it, without talking like he was looking for a fight.
And yes, the coworker should have asked for the rewards card right off. That’s what management would like for sure. However, sometimes we forget or we’re tired of talking or we just want customers to take responsibility for their own damn rewards card.
What I didn’t know until later was the hippie’s bottle of tea was frozen. The cooler it came from had been having problems, and I guess all the beverages on the bottom shelf had gotten too cold. My coworker pointed out to the hippie that the tea was frozen and asked him if he was sure he wanted it. The hippie said he wanted it, paid his money, and left.
My coworker opened the door for me and I gave him the basket of tobacco products and the scanner so he could review and receive the merchandise I’d just brought over. While he reviewed and received, I ran my lunch bag and water bottle to my truck. As I returned to the kiosk, a car pulled in and stopped between the booth and pump 3. The old hippie jumped from the car waving the bottle of tea and already ranting. He went up to the kiosk window, and I could hear him complaining but couldn’t understand what he was saying.
My coworker told me when it was all over that the hippie was mad because the tea had spilled on him. He said he said he was going to send the dry cleaning bill to the company we work for. I snorted with laughter.
He wasn’t even wearing a shirt, I said pointing out the obvious. I was pretty sure his shorts were not made from some fancy dry-clean-only material. Besides, how was it the fault of the store or my coworker if the hippie had spilled tea on himself? I spill food and drink on myself all the time; it’s never anyone’s fault but my own.
I was still standing next to the door when my coworker came flying out of the kiosk. I took the opportunity to go inside and sit on a bucket and enjoy the air-conditioned comfort. I thought my coworker had gone outside to fight the old man, and I wanted no part in that.
My coworker had actually gone outside to take photos of the old hippie, his car, and its license plate. Apparently the hippie didn’t like the bottle of tea that had spilled on him (maybe because it was frozen—I’m unclear on that point), and wanted a different one. When my coworker told him that he’d have to go to the customer service booth in the store to do an exchange, the old hippie grabbed another bottle of tea from the cooler and said he was taking it. That’s when my coworker grabbed his phone so he could get identifying pictures.
As soon as the hippie saw my coworker taking photos, he said he’d just as soon keep his original bottle of tea.
Are we square? Are we square? he asked my coworker.
My coworker agreed they were square, but then decided to mess with the irate hippie by smiling broadly and telling him to have a nice day! He then threw in a bye-bye and a God bless!
(What can I say? my coworker said to me later. I’m a smartass.)
The warm wishes incensed the already irate hippie, and he started yelling, You’re a douchebag! You’re a real douchebag!
Personally, I would have tried to diffuse the situation, but my coworker is young and hotheaded. He probably has tons of testosterone coursing through his veins.
I was waiting for him to step up! my coworker said repeatedly when it was all over.
I was standing like this, he demonstrated with his fist by his side.
You could have taken him, I assured him. The hippie was not just old, but super skinny too.
My coworker thought the old hippie was on crack. I would have voted on
meth, but it doesn’t really matter. We both knew he wasn’t flying on love, peace, and weed. His mellow was really harshed, man. He probably should have done a little meditating before he drove to town.