Black Friday

On Black Friday this year, I went to the mall to buy some pants with my parents. We stood at the check-out counter of a department store and waited while a clearly overburdened network took its time to process our credit card transaction. While we waited, I noticed something.

I addressed the cashier:

"Someone left a half-full can of soda on the edge of the counter here."

Separating the ledge where some previous customer had placed the can and the computer processing our transaction was a divider about five inches high. The cashier took the can from me and placed it on the other side of the divider - closer to a bundle of wires and a power strip.

"That's going to spill," I said.

"I'll deal with it after this," he responded.

The credit card transaction didn't go through, and the cashier ran it again. The first swipe seemed to be a ping timeout, but it went through on the second try.

Just as the cashier was handing us the receipt, another store employee plopped down a pile of clothes on the counter - right on top of the half-full can of soda.

In that moment, I yelled,

"The can!"

Simultaneously I processed the potential joy I would've felt by allowing chaos to ensue, as, in my imagination, sticky high fructose water poured along the counter and potentially into the computer circuits of this enterprise.

"I'll put it here,"

our unwitting cashier said, moving the can even closer again toward the power strip. The employee who had laid the clothes down responded,

"I'll just throw it away,"

took the can, and walked away. I turned to my parents and said,

"Something within me realized I would've taken great joy in seeing such chaos occur on this day, but something within me also decided to not let it happen."

And we took our bags, left the store, and continued on in search of discounted track pants.

Published December 03, 2017