They’re fond of greeting you in stores here.
“Hello sir, and welcome to Wal-Mart / Best Buy / PetCo / Futility / Your Worst Nightmare.”
If you’re entering a Wal-Mart, you’d rather not be reminded of the fact. Yes, this may be all you’ve got planned for your Saturday as your life slips into quotidian drudgery, but you’re doing your best, your damnedest, to not dwell on it.
If the greeter only had the decency to be bored or surly, you could, at least, respond in kind, but no, that’s not the American spirit. Instead, he greets you with sincerity. You look into his eyes as he greets you, you can see his eyes don’t betray him and the greeting is genuine. How do you greet someone in that way when they’re entering a store with all the joy and charm of a FEMA prison? Shouldn’t he be warning you? “Abandon all hope who enter here.”
And so you wander the FEMA prison looking for what you came in for – 1% milk, Special K, a sense of perspective. That one item that you desperately need so you can kid yourself this is going to be a functioning day, and you find it – it was in the cereal aisle – and you take it to the check-out so you can get the hell out of there. But Dalton, who rings you up, has that same sincere glint in his eye at the greeter.
“How are you doing today?” he asks.
Crippled with despair, Dalton – thanks for asking.
But instead you smile, and say, “good, how’s yours?”
“Great,” says Dalton, mistaking your token response for genuine interest, “just great. Weather’s not too hot, not too cool.”
You wait impatiently for him to hand over your receipt, he drones on far too long for your liking, but then you’ve got the receipt and you can leave, but as you leave you pass the greeter and hear – “thanks for visiting, hope to see you soon.”