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Why are you buying that stuff, anyway?

November 27, 2011
By JANICE R. KIASKI - Community editor, Herald-Star , The Herald-Star

I looked at what I was about to buy and wondered something.

Are clerks ever curious about what the customers in their line are buying or amused or thinking there must be a story behind what they're scanning or ringing up?

I'm pretty sure I would be wondering and pretty confident I might even strike up a conversation and outright ask, "Uhh, excuse me, but this is some interesting stuff you put here on the counter. Do you mind telling me exactly why you're buying that and what you're going to do with it?"

I would suppose that's against store policy, a big no-no in a world where we're very private people and it's none of your business, except on Facebook, of course.

Then again, maybe clerks are numb to it all, not all that interested and busy enough as it is to finish one transaction in order to begin another and keep the line of consumers coming and going in a timely, happy fashion.

I didn't conduct any unscientifically scientific poll to determine any of this.

All I know is I was standing in line at a dollar store in recent days, thinking to myself I wonder if this clerk is going to think I'm weird when she sees what I'm buying.

I had three things.

A pair of dark red reading glasses. (And here I am already obviously wearing glasses with bifocals no less.)

A pair of red toy plastic glasses with a big fake nose attached to it. (Better Half later looked at it and suggested it wasn't big enough. Take it back.)

A pair of black toy glasses that actually have eyes that blink, depending how you move your head.

Now there is a reason why I bought these three things as I was on a mission to fulfill a need, which I will refrain from divulging, only because it has something to do with a surprise today at church. Members of my church family are known to read this column before the service and comment accordingly, so mum's the word.

If you want to know, though, feel free to e-mail me.

Anyway, the clerk didn't ask, didn't bat an eye, nothing. Next.

But the blabbermouth in me strains to refrain from offering unsolicited explanations.

The U.S. doesn't want to tell me any government secrets because one second on the stool under the bright bulb dangling, I'm spilling my guts, people.

I was actually about to justify or comment on what I was buying when I started to chuckle and left. I'm sure this clerk might think me nuts, purchase or no purchase.

There have been other times when I've felt compelled to tell a clerk why I'm buying what I'm buying.

This typically includes around Memorial Day every year when Better Half and I fill two buggies with about 60 dozen eggs, 10 loaves of bread, five gallons of milk, six jugs of orange juice and two big boxes of pancake mix.

We're big breakfast people.

Or the time I checked out with 80 boxes of crayons.

I was feeling artistic, ready at long last to color outside the lines.

As for the glasses, you'll have to wait and "see" what that was all about.

The clerk is sworn to secrecy.

(Kiaski, a resident of Steubenville, is a staff columnist for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and community editor for the Herald-Star. She can be contacted at jkiaski@heraldstaronline.)

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