I noticed her in the parking lot.
I had taken Liv to school and decided to stop at Walgreens on the way home to pick up a new ink jet refill. I am not a big Walgreens shopper because it is the kind of store (like Target) where you go in for one thing and come out with ten.
I sighed as I pulled into the parking lot, seeing that it was nearly full. This meant a long line at the check out counter since for some reason, even though there are TWO registers, there is never more than one check out clerk.
The handicapped section was filled to the the brim with fancy cars, New Yorkers, Cadillacs, even a Mercedes. I wondered briefly why there are never any junker cars with handicapped stickers. Probably because poor people can't afford to take the time off of work to obtain their stickers. Getting out of a pale cream colored Mercedes was a woman in a blindingly bright white fur coat. She was older, probably in her sixties, with the kind of makeup that is just so wrong on an elderly woman: eyebrows painted in, high and dark, Joan Crawford/Mommie Dearest style. Bright red lipstick that looked like a slash of blood over that white mink. Not that I am a big anti-fur person. I actually own a lovely fur coat that was left to me by my dear departed neighbor, Orna. I seldom wear it because it is a heavy thing, but it is undeniably the warmest coat I have.
I went inside the store and yes, wandered around for items that I suddenly remembered that I needed and might as well get. Liv has a cold and we were nearly out of children's Mucinex, so I had better pick some up while I was there. And, yes, nearly out of laundry detergent too...And, hey, there were some multiplication flash cards which Liv could sure use. White chocolate covered pretzels...okay, walk carefully away from them, hands in the air, DO NOT SUCCUMB to the temptation. Whew. Good job! That was very, very close.
When I got to the check out lane, there were about four people in front of me, including Mommie Dearest in the fur coat. She had hydrogen peroxide, a jar of cold cream, malto meal and two huge bags of popcorn. What? Gonna go home, dye the hair, slap on some cold cream and eat a bowl of malto meal and some popcorn while watching Johnny Guitar?
When it was Mommie's turn, she became angry when the check out clerk didn't give her a dollar off on the popcorn. The clerk tried to explain that she had the wrong brand, but she ended up leaving in a huff, saying that she had "never, ever been so badly treated" in her life.
Good lord, THAT was the worst she had been treated? Having a check out clerk tell her that she had the wrong coupon? Must be nice....
Good riddance to expensive rubbish.
It was finally my turn and I dropped all of my stuff on the counter. Before the clerk could ring it up, Mommie came flouncing back into the store and cut in front of me to complain some more.
Mommie: I've decided NOT to sit down for this! I want my dollar off. I will have you know, young lady, that I have stock in Walgreens and if you insist on "jewing" me, I want to talk to upper management!!
The clerk looked bewildered. I mean, MOMMIE had the wrong popcorn! Why couldn't she seem to understand that? But, the clerk politely offered to find someone to assist her and left her station to go in the back to get the manager.
Mommie smiled at me triumphantly, as if we were co-conspirators and bosom pals.
Mommie: A dollar is a dollar!
This was too much. I mean, I was already running late and now this moronic bat was going to make me more late. I decided to just tell her what I thought.
Maria: And good manners are good manners, ma'am.
Mommie: (eyebrows raised) Pardon me?
Maria: I SAID GOOD MANNERS ARE GOOD MANNERS. This means that just because you have stock in the company and wear a fur coat, does not mean that you can cut in front of people. GET IN THE BACK OF THE LINE and wait your turn. It shows VERY BAD MANNERS to cut in front of people. And by the way, you bought ORVILLE REDENBACHER popcorn and the coupon you had was for PALACE POPCORN. YOU ARE IN THE WRONG. Get a clue. And furthermore, it is vulgar to use the term "jewing."
Before she could answer, the manager came out all smiles and good customer service face on. He gently took her arm and led her to the other register, saying that he would "help her with this difficulty."
I paid for my items and started back to my car, looking over at Mommie who was talking so earnestly to the manager, who looked like he was just going to give her the fucking dollar and call it a day.
"Miss? Um. MISS?"
I turned around to see a smiling man in a business suit coming towards me.
"I was right behind you and hey...you have moxie!"
I smiled. Told him thanks. We talked briefly about how neither one of us could be a successful manager at Walgreens since we would both have told Mommie to take a walk.
As we talked, Mommie flounced out of the store and smirking, shook her dollar at me as she got to her car. I looked back at business suit guy.
"I wonder why she has a handicapped sticker," I mused. "I mean, she hardly looks handicapped...."
Business suit smiled at me. Shook my hand again and left to get into his car.
I sighed and got into my car, shivering in the cold.
I put it in reverse and started to back out.
And realized that, of course, I had forgotten what I came to Walgreens for in the first place: ink jet refill.
It was going to be one of those kinds of days.....