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Is Your Mental Health my Responsibility?

Mental Health… is  your mental health my responsibility? If it is…then you’re screwed.

by Peggy Browning

your mental health

Please don’t allow me to be responsible for your mental health.
stockimages/freedigitalphotos.net

I must ask again…is your mental health my responsibility? Please, I beg you, don’t make me responsible for it.

You will be sorely disappointed. And I’m sorry for that. Please don’t take anything I say as a personal affront. My opinion doesn’t matter…well, it does in my life, but my opinion does not matter to your life!

I am not an unkind person. But I often say the first thing that pops into my mind. Wild and crazy words race to my mouth, totally unfiltered and I say them. If you are standing in the way of this verbal barrage, then you might be wounded. Not mortally wounded, but you might be a little bit stunned.

Believe me, I didn’t mean to hurt you. I wouldn’t be mean to you on purpose…ever. But my smart mouth gets me in trouble all the time. And I usually don’t even recognize that what I said was offensive to you.

If you are a store clerk or a waitress, you might want to check your mental health before you wait on me.

There’s a reason for this.

So here’s what happened today.

I went to the local JC Penney’s store because I wanted to look at the dresses and see what’s available that I might squeeze my plump hiney in for my daughter’s wedding in August. I know…I have about four months, but I just wanted to see what’s out there that’s considered fashionably acceptable.

As soon as I stepped inside the store… I mean, the door was still swooshing shut behind me…a young woman said, “Hello, honey. How are you today?”

And I said, “Well, I’m just fine, Sugs. How about you?” (Sugs – noun. Pronounced shoogs if you’re from the South or Texas)

She looked at me like I had slapped her. I didn’t even know I was being offensive, but her look told me differently. I was just being a smart ass and answering her like she had addressed me. I had expected her to laugh. She didn’t.

I guess she thought “honey” was a proper, even friendly, way to address an older woman. Perhaps her supervisor had even told her to call older women sugary, stupid names. I don’t blame the clerk…but I don’t like to be called honey and sweetie and baby. Ma’am works for me.

I don’t know of any woman my age who likes to be called those names. It feels condescending and like clerks and waitresses are trying to convince themselves they like you well enough to wait on you.

But back to the story… I felt like I had damaged this woman’s mental health (at least for 30 seconds or so) because she seemed hurt when I called her “Sugs.” And this is the lesson I wanted to teach, but didn’t because I didn’t dare to hurt her feelings any more than I already had:

Don’t let your self-worth or self-esteem be measured by what someone else says even if they are an asshole (especially if they are an asshole.) And never, ever, ever, ever put your mental health and well being into the hands of someone else. That is your own treasure.

Don’t let the careless words of someone who doesn’t matter to you at all harm you. Let it pass, their opinion of you doesn’t matter. And neither does mine.

I went back to Sugs’s register after I looked at dresses and chose a t-shirt for my grandson. We ended up laughing about silly stuff…I told her about my grandson talking about farts all the time which is pretty funny if it doesn’t annoy you to death.

I don’t know the state of Sugs’s mental health when I left, but I hope she doesn’t hold me responsible.

 

Change of life … what matters to me now

Change of Life … what matters to me now

by Peggy Browning

Peggy Browning

Planting a tree in Costa Rica.

It’s time for a change again. Honestly I go through a major change of life about once every 5 years or so.

However, in the last five years, I have made more changes than I thought I was capable of. I sold the house I loved, moved to another state, quit the job that was supposed to give me pension and sustain me through the rest of my life.

Almost five years ago, I started a blog written specifically for women who were over 50. I wrote a book about how turning 50 had given me a boost toward living a fuller life. I wanted to share that little bit of insight with other women.  I was a bit before my time, as I usually am with any good idea that I find I want to do.

Being “before my time” doesn’t mean I’m a great success at anything. It usually means that I start a project…nobody likes it…I quit…then other people come along and make a success of a version of my idea. Not that they are stealing my idea. It’s not that at all. It’s just that good ideas are floating out in the Universe and lots of people pick up on those ideas.

What I’ve found out about the over-50 blogs is that they are a lot like Facebook. Everybody has an incredibly fashionable, totally spiritual, amazingly healthy and happy life on their blog. They eat off the good china, have goddess spa days, and treat themselves like the special people they are. The life that’s being touted as aging with style, aging with panache, aging with youth and vigor intact…well, it’s like a Being Over 50 is Great club. Clubs have rules… like how to look younger, how to have better sex even though you are not that interested but you know young people are so you try to be too, how to dress appropriately, how to wear your hair, and how to apply your make-up.

I’ve spent my life trying to wriggle free of rules. I see no reason to start following rules now. It takes all the fun out of things.

Change of life. Again.

Anyway…I am now 60 years old. And I’m feeling very  different than I did ten years ago. I feel like I’ve been there, done that, settled a lot of questions about life and love and whatnot. I’m now tired of encouraging women to seek their own way, to be mindful, and to follow their dreams.

My unsettled thoughts and feelings are now suddenly settled since this last birthday. When I was 50 and 50+ I was trying to follow a dream and re-set my life’s course. And I did it.

Now I’m tired of talking about it. I just want to live this crazy little life I’m engaged in. I’m having fun.

Another Change of life

Peggy Browning author

My 1955 name is Peggy. It was #51 in popularity that year. In 2015, I would be named Hailey, which is also #51 in popularity for this year.

Maybe 60 is the Magic Age. Could be.  But, I won’t be talking about how great being 60 is. I’m just going to enjoy it.

So I’m changing the premise of my website and blog. I’m just going to write about what I want to write about. That means I’ll be posting stories about where I go and what I did and what I read and what I cooked. I’m just writing about what I enjoy.

And I enjoy a lot of things.

I enjoy exploring this new place where I live. I enjoy meeting new people and hearing their stories. I enjoy following the crazy politics of the state of Oklahoma. I enjoy writing and telling stories.

And one more change of life.

I will no longer be telling anyone how to age gracefully and gratefully. I’m just going to live my life and write about what concerns me.

And the rest of you folks under 60 are on your own because I’m not making any rules for you to follow!

Go forth and be happy. Or don’t. It’s your choice…and I have no advice to give you about how to act, dress, or have sex.

Stop by and visit with me sometime.  I will be right here, telling long-winded stories about the things I see and the people I meet and the things that matter to me.

World Poetry Day : My Favorite Poem…The Swing

Today is World Poetry Day and I’m Celebrating my favorite poem.

Every day is poetry day, but on World Poetry Day the whole world celebrates.

Celebrating World Poetry Day. How do you like to go up in a swing ? Image by Vlado/freedigitalphotos.net

How do you like to go up in a swing ?
Image by Vlado/freedigitalphotos.net

The poem is “The Swing” by Robert Louis Stevenson.It reminds me of my Mama and my youngest granddaughter. It was my mother’s favorite poem and swinging is my granddaughter’s favorite activity.

Santa Claus brought my youngest granddaughter a swing set for Christmas. And I have been putting it together since then. I finished it last weekend with some help from her Mommy, her Uncle Rob, and her. It only took us 3 months or so to get it all put together.

The SwingIt is more than a swing set. It has a little trampoline, a slide, and a teeter-totter in addition to two swings.

 

 

Every time I started to work on the play set, my little helper sprang into action.

The Swing

“Look Grandma! I did it!” she said as she put some springs in the wrong place on the trampoline.

The Swing

Sitting in the box. Pretending it’s a boat. I stopped working on the swing set as we pretended to be floating down a river to find dinosaurs.

 

“Move over, Grandma. I can do it,” she said as she climbed on top of my back while I was trying to put the screw in the ever-so-slightly-off-center hole to attach a leg on the slide.

the Swing

An ever-eager, helpful little person just trying to assist Grandma while I screwed the damn slide together.

“I don’t want to stop, Grandma. Fine. I’m going in the house. You made me sad, Grandma,” she whined as she stomped away (because I told her to get off of me)…in to the house…slamming the door and accidentally locking me outside and in the backyard where we keep the gates locked to keep her in. With no house key, no gate key, no cell phone, no way to get back in.  I had to climb over the fence to go to the neighbor’s house and have him call 911 for us.

Thank you, Officer Jarrett of the Police Department and Mr. Webb our neighbor.

Anyway…now the swing is finally set up and she loves swinging. “Swing me high, swing me high, Grandma!” she says now. “Let’s go out and swing a little bit, Grandma. I can’t do it without you. ”

And she sings as she swings: “I love to swing! I love to swing! I love to swing! In my backyard!”  She giggles and squeals as she flies through the air. 

That’s her way of saying “I do think it the pleasantest thing ever a child can do.”

Find your favorite poem and Celebrate World Poetry Day.

The Swing

HOW do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall, 5
Till I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside—

Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown— 10
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!

And here’s a talented little boy who loves to swing and sing, too.

Rev. Robert Palladino, Apple Fonts, Steve Jobs and Me

Father Palladino was a world-renowned master of calligraphy who taught Steve Jobs the importance — and aesthetics — of scripts.

Source: Rev. Robert Palladino, Scribe Who Shaped Apple’s Fonts, Dies at 83 – The New York Times

How Apple Fonts, Steve Jobs, and ultimately Rev. Robert Palladino saved me…

 

 

Apple Fonts

I am a word nerd, a font fan. Thank you, Rev. Robert Pallidino, Apple fonts and Steve Jobs.

I have to confess that I am a cursive handwriting, calligraphy, and Apple font nerd. I am irrationally fond of all things that concern ways to make beautiful words.

Fonts inspired me to go for it…to follow a dream…to love what I love and accept that I am meant to work at a different career than what I have previously pursued. I know that sounds crazy. But we all get our inspiration from different things. I got mine from typeset.

How Apple Fonts, Steve Jobs, and ultimately Rev. Robert Palladino saved me…

Here’s a short version of a very long story. In 2011 I had a job that I despised. I got so sick that I couldn’t work…because I hated my damn job so much. So I took some sick time to decide what I was going to do. It was a hard decision…should I just suck it up and go back to that totally shitty job? It was the best paying job I’d ever had…benefits, dental insurance, burial insurance. I was pretty sure I was going to need that burial insurance if I continued working there.

It was nice day in October, I was at home on FMLA. Steve Jobs had just died from pancreatic cancer and I was watching coverage of it.  One of the news stations was playing a graduation speech that he had given at a college graduation. He told a story about going to college and hating every minute of it. So he took a calligraphy class and he loved it. He said that he didn’t finish college, but he stayed interested in the beautiful work of calligraphy and that’s where the Apple fonts originated. And he talked about the importance of doing what you love. And we all know what Steve Jobs accomplished, like him or not.

I sobbed as I listened to his commencement speech. I was 56 years old and I was starting completely over. I knew I wasn’t ever going back to my shitty job. I was determined to follow my heart and find the path I had strayed from so many, many years before. And that’s what I’m doing now.

All because Steve Jobs skipped out on his college courses and took a calligraphy class from Father Palladino instead. For that, guys…you have my undying gratitude.

 

Father Palladino was a world-renowned master of calligraphy who taught Steve Jobs the importance — and aesthetics — of scripts.

Source: Rev. Robert Palladino, Scribe Who Shaped Apple’s Fonts, Dies at 83 – The New York Times

What if we liked ourselves?

What if we liked ourselves?

we liked ourselves

“If tomorrow, women woke up and decided they really liked their bodies, just think how many industries would go out of business.” —Gail Dines, professor of sociology and women’s studies at Wheelock College in Boston
image by stockimages/freedigitalphotos.net

 

I’m serious. What would happen if we women decided that we liked ourselves just as we are?

If we accepted our age spots? If we accepted our body shape? If we accepted clothing as merely a utilitarian body covering to keep us warm and dry and comfortable? If we accepted our hair color just as it is? If we no longer lined our eyes with kohl or lengthened our lashes with mascara?

What would happen if we stopped searching for our beauty in a mirror and simply forgot about our looks? What would happen if we stopped dressing for each other and started dressing for ourselves? What would happen if we stopped thinking about how other people see us?

What would happen if we decided to use the time and money that we spend obsessing about outward appearances and did something more worthwhile?

A Fine Revolution

I’m thinking that we could start a revolution, if only we liked ourselves and stopped fretting about how we look. Am I the only one thinking this? Am I out of step with my gender?

I know that I am utterly exhausted with all this wasted effort.

If we took our minds off trying to staunch the flow of the fleeting beauty of our youth, maybe we could develop into more beautiful beings than we can now even imagine.

Maybe we could use our time and energy to find cures for common diseases. Maybe we could support the efforts of other women, rather than competing with them. Maybe we could prevent wars and promote peace. Maybe we would be more curious, more accepting, more giving, more loving, more creative, more inclusive.

Maybe if we decided to accept “us” and love “us”, we would decide to accept “them” and love “them” too. Maybe we would dance more, laugh more, love more and live more. And maybe, just maybe…that glow that we are longing for would shine from the inside and be recognized on the outside.

 

Kate Bowler on Death, Prosperity Gospel

prosperity gospel

I do not believe in the prosperity gospel. I believe in coincidences and luck. Image by Tuomos_Lehtinen/freedigitalphotos.net

Some Christians believe God rewards the faithful. So why did I get Stage 4 cancer? – Kate Bowler –

Durham, N.C. — ON a Thursday morning a few months ago, I got a call from my doctor’s assistant telling me that I have Stage 4 cancer. The stomach cramps I was suffering from were not caused by a faulty gallbladder, but by a massive tumor.

I am 35. I did the things you might expect of someone whose world has suddenly become very small. I sank to my knees and cried. I called my husband at our home nearby. I waited until he arrived so we could wrap our arms around each other and say the things that must be said. I have loved you forever. I am so grateful for our life together. Please take care of our son. Then he walked me from my office to the hospital to start what was left of my new life….READ MORE:

Source: Death, the Prosperity Gospel and Me – The New York Times

This article by Kate Bowler about her views of the prosperity gospel and her diagnosis of Stage IV cancer is profoundly touching. I wish her well…in fact, I  wish her completely well and healed.

Kate Bowler knows what I mean when I say that.

As I age, I have lost much of my youthful optimism and faith that I once believed shielded me from the bad things of life. I once thought that if I was good enough, believed hard enough, and had faith the size of a mustard seed that God would protect me and those I loved.

I have changed as the years have passed. I do not believe in the prosperity gospel. I do not believe in meritocracy.

I have come to accept that bad things happen to good people. I understand that we may have no special purpose here on Earth other than to live…to love and be loved…and to do the best we can with what we know at the time.

I no longer believe that we are spared from death (this time)  because God has a special purpose for us. I believe in coincidences and just plain luck.

 

I was deeply touched by this profound article by Kate Bowler. Please read and see what you believe. 

 

Some Christians believe God rewards the faithful. So why did I get Stage 4 cancer?

Source: Death, the Prosperity Gospel and Me – The New York Times

Life’s Great Mysteries

Life’s Great Mysteries

Pondering Life’s Great Mysteries

Life's great mysteries

I sometimes sit and ponder the great mysteries of Life. And sometimes I just sit. Image: Stuart Miles freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

 

I don’t always sit and think, but when I do…I ponder life’s great mysteries. There are things I will never understand, but then I suppose I am not meant to understand them.

That’s why they’re called mysteries, duh.

 

 

 

These are just a few of the things in life that I find are totally unexplainable:

  • Steel balls shaped like bull testicles that hang from the trailer hitches of pick-up trucks. Is there a reason for this? I think not.
  • Blouses with back hems way longer than the front hems. They look like a bathroom accident just waiting to happen. I imagine terrible moments of anxiety when the back end of one’s shirt drops into the toilet while one is “freshening up” just prior to an important job interview. Ew.
  • People who complain about the quality of beef in a McDonald’s hamburger. One must not expect Kobe beef for $1.29; nor must one expect the cook to “hold the pickles.” You cannot always have it your way.
  • The popularity of WWE wrestling. It is  not honorable…it is not the way of the great Sumo tradition.
  • Commercials featuring an elderly couple sitting in separate claw-foot bathtubs while watching the sun set and waiting for the Cialis to kick in. I mean…WTF? Uh, I mean…namaste.
  • Toilet tissue commercials. By the time you are old enough to buy your own toilet paper, you are probably too old to be influenced by little cartoon bears that go poo-poo in the forest.
  • And then there’s man buns. I know the guy in Kung Fu Panda wore something like this, but…seriously guys…you don’t have to. Honor yo-self and just wash your hair.
Life's Great Mysteries: Balancing rocks.

Balancing rocks…something else I will never understand.
Image: Stuart Miles/freedigitalphotos.net

I know I sound cynical ( SOUND cynical? yes, I AM cynical) and that is probably why I will never know the answers to all of Life’s Great Mysteries. OMG. Uh, I mean…Om.

 

The View Through My Rose-Colored Bifocals

Buy The View Through My Rose-Colored Bifocals

heart & soul food cooking with friends

Heart & Soul Food
Tales of Food, Family, and Friends
perfect for cooking with friends

Reflection … What Do You See When You See Yourself?

Reflection

reflection

Reflection
image:Stuart Miles/freedigitalphotos.net

A few months ago I moved to Ponca City, Oklahoma. I knew only one person in this place, a friend of 20 years, and she had generously offered for me to come stay with her, take a break, work on my writing, and re-organize my life. She was giving me time for reflection.

I am a native Texan. And I have moved to north central Oklahoma, twenty miles from the Oklahoma-Kansas border. For the very first time in my life, I am away from my family, away from my kids…and I feel a bit homesick, but strangely free. I am a stranger in a strange land. (You probably have to be a Texan to fully understand this…native Texans don’t quickly acknowledge that there is another world just across the Red River.)

Not long after I arrived here, I wandered downtown trying to acquaint myself with this lovely town. I stood in front of a shop and tried to determine if it was open. The sign said it was, but there were no lights on and it didn’t look welcoming…

Reflection

I looked to my left and saw a woman standing there. In the span of a second or two, I thought…that’s an attractive lady…she looks nice…I could ask her a question and she would answer it kindly and with a little bit of humor…and I know she would smile at me and be helpful. I could see that she liked me.

I opened my mouth to ask her about the shop…about the town…about helping me a little. Then I realized that nice, attractive, kindly-looking woman was me. I was looking into a mirror.

“Well, good lord,” I laughed at myself. ” I have finally lost my mind. I didn’t even recognize myself in a mirror.”

I have often described myself by the reflection from my mirror. Put on a few pounds…I’m fat. Have a pimple…I’m ugly. Unhappy with my job…I’m a loser. My hair is gray and I have a new wrinkle…I’m too old. That was all I could see.

And then…I saw that kindly woman in the mirror on the street in Ponca City. And I didn’t even recognize myself.

But the moment and reflection stuck with me. I felt like I had the rarest of all chances to see myself as I am, and how other people may see me. And I liked it. I hope that is my true reflection: kind, friendly, tolerant, humorous. I would really like that.

And now I’m in Oklahoma…being free…seeing all kinds of interesting stuff…learning all kinds of interesting stuff…meeting all kinds of interesting people…and hopefully putting out a reflection of my truest self.

Last week I had the opportunity to meet Ryan Reid and sit in on a music video shoot for his new single Ain’t Enough Water. Then I had a chance to interview this talented, soft-spoken young man. And we talked about reflection. It is his hope to reflect the Light…and Shine. That’s my hope, too…for both of us.

Here’s the story at Red Dirt Report….
Read More…..

Dump Trump and Cable News

Dump Trump & Cable News

by Peggy Browning

 

Dump Trump and Cable News

Image: ikpro/freedigitalphotos.net

I am so sick of hearing about Donald Trump that I could spew green vomit and twist my head around a full 360 degrees.  It’s time to dump Trump. I have to dump cable news coverage too.

I never supported this obnoxious, dangerous fool, but I admit I did listen because it was appalling that he just kept on being more and more outrageous. I suspect that is why cable news shows continue to report on his god-awful stunts…because they have high ratings from people watching and saying…”Oh, dear god. What will he come up with next?”

But no more for me. I’m done. I can’t do this for another eleven months. Or even three months until Super Tuesday.

I am a news junkie. I watched Walter Cronkite on the CBS Evening News when I was just a little girl. I remember when Dan Rather reported from battlegrounds in Vietnam.  I respect real news and ethical news reporting.  I wrote my own first news article about Walt Disney’s death when I was in the 5th grade, for Pete’s sake.

Last night I went to sleep with MSNBC still on the air. I dozed off while listening to Rachel Maddow and even though I roused a few times in the night, I couldn’t get it together enough to click the remote and change to re-runs of Law & Order.

I woke up this morning with my bedroom air all afoul with news people talking about that orange-haired buffoon and all the ugly things he says about everybody and everything. This was NOT how I wanted to start my day.

So I DID click the remote until I found Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Then I sang the Hot-Diggity-Dog song and danced the Hot-Diggity-Dog dance. That is a very good way to start the day.

So here is what I have decided… I am no longer watching anything that allows orange haired obnoxious people to spout mean words and aggravate the hell out of me and everybody else. I had enough of that stuff when I was in junior high and Joe Don Scroggins picked at me and all the other kids.

I don’t hang out with obnoxious people. I don’t invite obnoxious people to visit in my home. I have even quit jobs because I couldn’t stand to work with the obnoxious people I was supposed to work with. So why should I allow them in my bedroom via TV?

On this day, January 14, 2016, I hereby dump Trump and all “news” related to him. I dump all cable TV news shows. I will watch only PBS nightly news to get my information from Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill because they actually report news and they do it in a sane, calm manner. I will watch Tavis Smiley and Charlie Rose to hear commentary and interviews. I will continue to watch the Late Show with Stephen Colbert because I like Stephen Colbert and he has some very interesting people on his show. Plus he is on CBS, not 24 hour cable TV.

I would give anything to hear Eric Sevareid  give just one more news commentary about any subject.

But no more of this bull hockey from cable news. I’m done. When they start doing a better job of reporting actual news, I will consider coming back to the fold.  If they should ever dump Trump and stop reporting gossip and BS, I could watch them again.

But for now, not even Anderson Cooper can entice me to watch.

Watch Don Lemon interview Tavis Smiley. 

 

 

Retail Hell

Retail Hell

Christmas Eve… Just another day in Retail Hell
image by imagerymajestic/freedigitalphotos.net

Retail Hell

by Peggy Browning

On Christmas Eve, I walked out of Retail Hell at 7:12 p.m and I never looked back. I was not shopping; I was the person behind the counter ringing up totals for ice cream and milk and eggnog and listening to people complain because the store where I work didn’t have all the ingredients for the pie they wanted to bake.

It’s Christmas Eve. Maybe you should have planned ahead, fool.

I am convinced that anyone who works retail is a special kind of person. Actually, I am convinced they are saints. I’m not a saint; I’m a full-on sinner. I have no place in retail sales. I hate every minute I am working because, basically I don’t like people all that much.

Here’s a sample of what I endured on Xmas Eve in Retail Hell.

A woman purchased a gallon of milk for $3.36. Her change from a five was $1.64. I placed the paper money in her hand and put the coins and receipt on top of it. She grimaced.

I said, “Is something wrong?” “Yes,” she said. “That’s not how you are supposed to return change. I was taught that you put the coins in the hand first, then the paper money.”

I asked, “Is the change correct?”

“Yes.”

“Okay, then.” Next…

“I got the last eggnog on the shelf,” my next customer said.

“Well…it’s your lucky day, then!” I said.

“No it’s not. I have to pay $4.29 for it and that’s before tax.”

“Actually, the price has gone down and is only $3.99 for a half gallon, so with tax it’s only $4.34.”

“That’s still too high.”

“You don’t have to buy it; I can put it back on the shelf if you don’t want it,” I said.

Then we had a staring contest….I guess I won because he finally broke and said, “My wife wants it.”

“Okay, then.”  Next….

More than one frantic woman yelled… “You don’t have any frozen pecan pies!”

“No. We sold out early this morning.”

“What am I going to do?! I depend on you all to do my baking!” (No, folks, I am NOT exaggerating this.)

And I said, helpfully I thought, “How would apple pie work for you?”

“No, no, absolutely not. We always have pecan pie. It’s our tradition.”

And I thought, but didn’t say…shitfire, lady, it looks like it’s time to start a new tradition. Frozen pecan pie sucks.

My register went down….it stopped scanning on the biggest order of the day while people lined up past the frozen pizza section. The manager fixed it by re-starting the computer because they don’t trust us to re-start it even though every clerk behind a register knows how to do it. Then it stopped weighing bananas…and, well, let’s just say, lots of folks might have received a banana flavored Christmas miracle.

On Christmas Eve in Retail Hell, our store ran out of half-gallons of whole milk, eggs, half-gallons of 2% milk, sausage, canned biscuits, frozen pecan pies, and whipping cream. People begged me to go look in the back storage refrigerator for them.

At first I tried to console the shoppers and offer alternative suggestions.  But after five hours of pouty, whining customers asking me to do the impossible, I finally broke.

“I’m mad at this store,” said a relatively sane looking man. He was dragging along his tween-age granddaughter and both were sucking down milkshakes. I hadn’t had a sip of water for five freaking hours.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because you’ve only got gallons of whole milk. And I need a half-gallon. Would you go get me one out of the back?”

“We don’t have any.”

“Why not?”

“We sold out of them. We’ve been very busy today.”

“And you don’t have any in the back?”

“Sir, I assure you we don’t have any in the back. We are not hiding anything from you.”

“I’m not getting any then. My wife told me to get a half-gallon.” He scowled and lingered at the register.  He shouldn’t have stayed.

“What can I say, Dude? We had them this morning. You should have come in earlier.”

I could have said so much more, like…suck it up, whiny-butt….do I look like I care?…sir, you need to get out of my line before I stab you in the eye with a spork… but I didn’t. I kept my thoughts to myself.

I’m sure his wife dealt with him later…because she needed more milk, obviously,  and wouldn’t have cared if it was in a gallon or half-gallon.

Next…

Some really nice folks came in. Some wished me a Merry Christmas. But the experiences with rude jack-wagons far outweighed the nicer ones.

Moral of this story: Hell is real. You can experience it in any retail business on Christmas Eve or the day before a major snowstorm is predicted. Be nice to the person behind the counter; don’t be a jack-wagon and you might get free bananas instead of a spork in the eye.

 

Save me from Retail Hell next year…I’m begging you! …Please purchase my books!

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