Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Good Pen

One customer I helped yesterday was buying some gifty shit. I thought she was going to try to pull the ever-so-popular gift wrap trick. But she didn't. She did want to borrow a pen to fill out a card she had purchased and was craning her head over and around the counter looking into my register area for a "good pen." She didn't want the regular old ball point pen she'd just used to sign her credit card slip.

I keep several "good pens" in my apron. Usually they are floating around like logs in a tiny lake of papers, but the past couple days, I've been clipping them to the top of my pockets so they are easy for me to find. As soon as the words "good pen" came out of her mouth, I discreetly turned and flipped all my pens into my pockets and out of sight.

Here's the thing: I cannot share pens. With anyone. Co-workers understand. They would never badger me "come on let me use your good pen!" They would find their own damn pen and then gloat about how it is the best pen ever. But if customers see a pen in hanging on your pocket, they will ask, or rather, they will say "you've got a good pen right there!" and to cover my unwillingness to share I will laugh and pretend I forgot I had them and then watch anxiously as they clip and press my precious and then I will use a Clorox wipe on my good pen later when I FINALLY get it back.

I found a "good pen" for the customer. There was a ratty yet reliable old thing rolling around in one of the pen jars. She did not use it. It was not the right kind of good pen. And I thought I was weird.

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