Gerald (Jerry) Zezas

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Stop Being So Nice To Me!

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Am I the only one who’s tired of this contrived and overdone “niceness” one sees every time one goes to the store?

I went to the supermarket today. As I walk in two different people say “good morning” to which I feel obligated to reply. As I’m walking to the deli counter, I pass two others who greet me similarly and, since I’m not rude, I reply to them as well.

I get to the deli counter and two people behind the counter say hello to me. They each get their respective replies. I ask for Boar’s Head Oven Gold Turkey (its really good). One of the two who greeted me starts to slice it, takes the first slice and walks over to me to show me her handiwork, and ask if it is sliced sufficiently thin for me. Once more I have to respond with, “yes, its fine”. She then asks if I’d like it as a sample, to which I reply “no thank-you”.

At this point I’ve had to have short conversations with 6 people and reply to 8 queries regarding how I am, my personal turkey thickness preferences, and whether I want to sample the food that I’ll be eating in its entirety in less than 15 minutes. Sheesh.

Then, after she slices it, “do I want any cheese or anything else”. No thanks. (#9). “Did you know that the bakery department has chocolate chip yada, yada, yada…” Thank you. (#10). “Have a wonderful day”. Yes, thank you. (apparently in this particular Publix, having a nice day or a good day or a great day is not sufficient for their customers. They want you to have a wonderful fucking day).(#11). I’ve now accomplished getting one 1/2 pound of lunch meat that I don’t yet own, talked to 6 people, and had 11 verbal interactions.

So, finally free of the deli counter Nazis, I approach checkout, dodging behind heavy-set older women with oxygen tanks to avoid being asked how I am by the people who get paid to stock shelves.

At the checkout counter, I’m asked how my day is going, (#12), if I found everything I’m looking for, (#13), if I’d like to donate to a charity so that Publix can claim, in their advertising, that they give such and such amount to charities, without mentioning that they got the money from their customers, (#14), asked if I have my Publix loyalty card, (#15), and since I don’t, would I like one, (#16).

I slide my credit card through the slot in the terminal, then, after being asked if its credit or debit, (#17), then having to decide between paper and plastic (#18), and thinking that I have finally escaped, I’m accosted by the bag guy, THE BAG GUY, who asks, “can I carry that out for you?”. Yeah, that was #19.

I had to stop my train of thought (and is often a lonnnnnnnng train) almost 20 times to respond to people who truly, with all their hearts and souls, couldn’t care less if I lived or died, yet force me to either engage them or appear to be rude. All so I can make a freaking turkey sandwich.

I shouldn’t complain though. They were just being “nice”.


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