As a grocery clerk at a small, family-owned and operated, independent grocery store, you’re expected to go above and beyond the regular, run of the mill clerks you see at those other stores, Kroger, Food Lion, etc.  You provide quality customer service which include, but are not limited to, bagging, returning unwanted items that are stashed in the wrong aisles, and assisting customers with their needs.  When a customer asks a question, you don’t just direct them to aisle 3 with the point of a finger, you escort them there and ensure that they find the product they’re looking for.  And now with that background knowledge, the story begins…

I’m standing at the end of register 2.  Not too many customers, a fairly slow day.  My task of the moment is bagging.  A man rushes through the door.  It’s summer, but this grocery store is freezing, so when the door opens it’s more like walking into your house and feeling that first rush of heat on a winter night.  He’s holding his cell phone to his ear and talking rather loudly.

“What?  What did you say you need?  What?  Hold on, let me give the phone to someone who can help.”

He hands the phone to me.

“Talk to her.”

“Uhh, talk to her?

“I’m not sure what she wants me to get.”


The woman is on the other end of the line.  She explains to me what she wants, and now I understand why the man was so confused.  I close the flip-phone and lead him to aisle 4—health and beauty aids, cleaning supplies, detergents.  There is no one else in the aisle, so I figure it’s an okay time to let him know what his woman was looking for.

“She wants a douche.”  I motion toward the shelf of products.

“Oh okay.”  His answer is nonchalant.  He still doesn’t know what it is.

“Would you like a scent or unscented?”

“Oh, I’m not sure.  What exactly is it?”


“Um…well…it’s for a woman to…”

His eyes are wide now.  Thank goodness he figured it out before I had to explain any further.

“Oh!  Oh!”  He grabs a box from the shelf quickly.  “This is good.  Thank you.  Thank you.”