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Rant #406
(published October 30, 2008)
Tipped by a Madwoman
(A Poor Mojo's "Bad Job, Good Times; Good Job, Bad Times" Rant Contest Notable Entry)
by Janey Brewer
It was one of the worst jobs in the history of mankind, short of "mammoth aggravator" or "human dartboard." I come from a small town, and as such there aren't a lot of places for work unless you're really good at catching chickens or have a way with cows. My hometown (which shall remain nameless) had one—count 'em, one—grocery store. They also had one—count 'em again, ONE—daytime checker.


Some days it wasn't so bad. One or two old ladies that couldn't find the right dog food, or a little kid with sticky hands and a penchant for touching every surface he could reach. Other days it was hell. The price of brand-name soda would go up 3 cents and the people on food stamps would be incensed. Angry shoppers would berate me for the lack of brand-name salad, no not that kind! The kind with the little red bits in, no other kind will do, I'm allergic to everything but that, oh my poor digestive system you cruel woman!

It was on a day like this that Crazy Lady came in. I must explain Crazy Lady. I don't know her real name, and I wouldn't tell you if I did. She was probably around 65 or 70 years old, but tried valiantly to hide it with vast quantities of hair dye (either that or she shared her shower with an irate octopus). Bright red lipstick in a crooked line, too-tight velour track suits with 12 country miles of cleavage showing . . . the woman was interesting. She smoked Pall-malls (though she called them "pell-mells"). To obtain cigarettes, the cashier has to walk to the cabinet wherein they are housed, unlock the little padlock with a key that rarely works the first 57 times, get the cigarettes, re-lock the cabinet, and bring them back to the register. This particular day, she requested one pack of "pell-mells, the blue ones." I fetched them for her. "I don't want those," she said. "I wanted the red ones."


Back to the cabinet, I struggle with that tiny metal lock that was the bane of my existence for those 4 short months. When I returned and rang up her purchase, she asked me if I believed in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. Then she threw an extra dollar at me.

I'd never been pelted with money before, and the sensation was pleasing. I told her it's not common for people to tip a cashier. She said "TAKE IT!" and quite literally ran out the door. I stood there in silent awe of the most bizarre woman I had ever met, holding a limp dollar bill in one hand. I think that day made the whole hellish business worthwhile.

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