It was July 2nd and unusually busy for a Monday. I guess people had already started their Independence Day celebration by heading up the mountain. The other clerk left a little past her scheduled departure time of 1pm. She was gone by 1:15, and by 1:25 the Mercantile was packed. I wondered if a tour bus had dropped a group at our front door.
I tried to answer questions and help find sizes, but once the line formed at the cash register, all I could do was ring up sales.
In the midst of this chaos, a man walked up to the counter with a copy of our most popular map. The map cost $12.95; with tax it was $13.99 out the door. Although it was a good map made from tear and water-resistant paper with clearly marked trails and roads, customers were often surprised and displeased by the cost. When I tried to sell a customer on the map, I mentioned the price along with the features of the map so there was no sticker shock at the cash register.
This man with the map was already at the cash register, so there was no way to prepare him in advance for the price. I scanned the map’s barcode and let the cash register do its magic.
That will be $13.99, I told the man with the map.
Excuse me? he said loudly as he leaned in toward me. He said it real mean, like I had a lot of nerve, like he wanted to fight me. I’d seen people get offended by the price of the map, but this guy seemed really angry.
$13.99, I said again, expecting the fellow to refuse the map and storm out of the Mercantile, maybe shouting a few choice words on his way out.
Instead he reached for his wallet and pulled out his money. That’s when I realized he wasn’t angry at all, just hard of hearing. He paid for his map and took it with him out the door.
Image courtesy of https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-holding-green-and-brown-map-1143514/.