One Reply to “8.14.2013 Journal Prompt”

  1. I hate them. Those new fucking machines, and you are your own cash register girl now. And the barcode reader never gets it first time, and so you wave the fucking bread back and forth in front of the red unblinking eye shouting ‘can’t you bloody see!’

    And it tells you the things you have done wrong in a too-patient calm voice, and it tells you to do it over, and where to put the money to pay when you’re done, and please to check your own change so there hasn’t been a mistake. And I kick it sometimes, and slam the palm of my hand against the screen, and throw my arms in the air.

    And someone always comes along with a quiet ‘can I help you, sir,’ quiet and firm. And he’s a boy and he’s smiling like they taught him to do, with his mouth but not with his eyes. And he calls me ‘sir’ like I’m important, which I know I’m not, except for the money the store wants from me. And then, like I am a child, he makes it all right again, this boy who only has smiles that he’s paid to give, and he shows me what he did and what I didn’t do, shows me so I will get it right next time. And he hands me my bag of groceries and wishes me a nice day.

    And how can I have a fucking nice day when everything is so wrong in it? When machines make me look stupid and boys can make things right with smiles that aren’t real. And there’s something missing in all the hours of my day now there are just machines?

    I want it to be as it was. At least I want there to be a girl, and her name on her pocket, and it might be Shania or Chrissie, and she’s near the end of her shift, and though she is tired she asks if I need help to pack, and she passes comment on the things I have bought and points to bargains I have missed, and she checks the eggs in the box so they ain’t any of them cracked, and in time she gets to know me and it’s such a little thing, but she asks after my heart. And when everything is bagged up, she counts through my change and shows me that I have a voucher for money off next time. And she tells me to go real careful now and she wishes me a nice day. And those days were always nice after that.

    I talk to the lady at the door. The one with the bucket for loose pennies and she’s collecting for guide dogs for the blind this week. And I don’t know her name, but she’s someone to talk to even though she’s not paid to talk, and it costs me a little in change that I must drop in her bucket, and she puts a small sticker on the lapel of my jacket, and she doesn’t smile but she says ‘mind how you go’ and she turns quickly away to the next person leaving the shop.

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