Stupid Is As Stupid Does

April 19, 2016 at 12:27 pm (Cussed Dumbers)

"Feeed meee..."

“Feeed meee…”

“I need a simple day job. I can’t deal with stupid any more.”

I was chatting with Officer Paul of Clean and Safe outside the Upscale Mall. The sunny weather, upper 80s in mid-April, had the loonies out in full force. I wasn’t working on this fine afternoon, but a walk downtown seems like work. Everyone knows me.

Officer Paul rode off toward the river, hmm, was something afloat?

The public’s attitude of late is like things that float.

In a terlet.

I’ve been bouncing between the Nightclub and Waterfront stores the past few months. The Waterfront Store is its usual self; busy as fuck in the daytime, and all tumbleweeds after 6 PM. Festus has been pulling some nights on the Waterfront. I hear he’s averaging a book a night.

The Nightclub Store is my old haunt. Passing the outdoor tables of the bar next door, I am treated like the mayor. “hey, hey. Howyadoin’, howdy” along with fist-bumps and the occasional soul-brother shake. I enter the store and the riff-raff file out. It’s different in the daytime, when Southie and Dr T are around. They keep the goofballs at a distance.

There’s a new men’s shelter near the nightclub Store. It’s good for business. Between 5-7 PM we sell lots of ice-cups (for a quarter) and Little Debbie’s for dinner. After a few Four Lokos, they count up their pennies. “Got anything for twenty-seven cents?” They pile a bunch of stuff at the register, then halfway through ringing it up, they say, “I hope I have some money on this card.”

“Thirteen fifty.” I reach for the card. Swipe the card, enter the amount. “Enter your PIN.”

“Um, let’s see…” He types.

Squonk! Declined. Invalid account.

Cussed Dumber: “That’s bullshit! Here, let me try a different PIN number.”

Repeat. Squonk! Declined. Invalid account.

“That’s bullshit! I just used it at Rite Aid.” He tries again.

I don’t care, I’m getting paid. The ten people in line are less charitable. They put their Pop Tarts down and leave. After three attempts, the guy says, “Are you using the Cash option?”

“No, we only take the food stamp option. It would have helped to know that.”

“But it’s CASH. Everyone takes cash.”

“No, places like this only take the food stamp option, because most of what we sell is restricted from food stamp use. People try to by cigarettes and lottery with it.”

“But it’s CASH.”

I do a pound of paperwork, staple receipts to other receipts, and the next person steps up. “I think there’s enough on here to buy this.” We do seventy-two cents on his food stamp card, and he counts the rest of his nickels and dimes. Two minutes later, he is the proud owner of a fountain drink.

It’s that time of the month. Everyone is broke, scraping. Me too. So I put on the equivalent of steel underwear, run those cards, record those errors and cancelled sales. At least I’m making money the old-fashioned way.

I earn it.

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