Saturday, December 03, 2005

Rush Hour at the Campus Snack Bar

The line was long.

When it was finally the Customer’s turn, she put down her coffee and Cheetos, and the cashier promptly advised her of her total: $2.18.

It was only then that she bent to the floor and began fumbling with a zipper on her wheeled backpack. Eventually, she pulled out a wallet and rezipped the backpack. Straightening up, she flipped through the wallet. Not finding what she was looking for, she flipped again. Finally, she pulled out a card.

The cashier slid the card through the reader. She slid it again. She slid it a third time. Frowning, she looked at it. “Ma’am,” she asked the Customer, who was neither a particularly young woman nor an old one, “do you have Blank Bucks on this card?”


“I’m sorry. You can only use this at (location 1) and (location 2) on campus unless you go to the food services office and put Blank Bucks on the card. ”

“Ok,” the Customer said. “I have another card.” She began flipping through the wallet. She flipped again. She flipped a third time. Finally, she pulled out a blue card with a Visa logo.

The cashier slid the card through the reader, and promptly handed the Customer her receipt. “Thank you,” the cashier said with a smile, and in the same moment began ringing up my Diet Pepsi and soup. “Three fifty-six,” she said.

I reached over the Customer to hand the cashier a ten-dollar bill while the Customer began fumbling with the wallet to put the two cards away. The cashier handed me change as the Customer zipped up her wallet. I picked up my things and walked around her. As I reached the door, I looked back. The cashier was handing change to the young man who had been behind me, and the Customer was bending toward her backpack to put the wallet away.

As far as I know, she might be there still.

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