An Open Letter to the Checker at Costco

Dear Checker at Costco,

Yes, you. The guy at the register.

The other day you and I were having a little conversation about why I didn't want to renew my executive membership. "Just give me the plain ol' plain ol' membership," I said. "Because we're going away."  This is where our discourse became, well, ridiculous. Because you assumed that when I said going away, what I meant was going to prison.

You paused and said, "you mean, to the slammer?" And I scratched my head and thought, what an odd way to joke around with a customer, but I went along with your joke and said, "Yeah, what I should have said was, 'they're putting us away.'

And you paused, and said, "that's terrible. When?"

I said, "Oh you know- soon."

And then you looked at me and said, "Wow. Are you serious?"

And that's when I realized you weren't joking.

I was having my own little joke there, all by myself. Because you thought that I was going to prison and that I was confiding it in you while I was buying my groceries.

Okay, so 1. If I was going to prison, I probably wouldn't tell you. I mean, I know we have history and everything, but I just don't think I'd be broadcasting it around the large warehouse store that sells Polish dogs and chocolate fountains.

2. If I was going to prison, I wouldn't be buying a huge bag of organic baby carrots and a huge bag of toilet paper. Why would I be stocking up on carrots and t.p.? You really need to think about this before assuming that people are going to be doing time. It would be better for customer relations, my friend. You need to know your target market. I'd probably be buying a giant pack of pens, for all my letter-writing.

So, I asked you, "Do you always assume that when someone says they're going away, they're saying they're going to jail?"

And you said, "Yes, when... uh... you come from a town like mine."

What? What? That little pause said it all. You meant, when the someone looks like you.

I mean, we know that people assume that we grow plants. That we have big marijuana forests. That's what people do, on land around here. But we don't. And I wish more people would ask, rather than just assuming, because then I could set them straight. But it isn't done, because it isn't done, you know, and that's what happens when you live in a county as secretive as ours. So I guess I can only say this:

Next time, if I'm going to tell you that I'm heading for prison, I'll be clear, okay? I'll say, "I don't want to renew my executive membership because they don't have Costco in jail."

And you can make sympathetic noises and think pleasantly to yourself that all your suspicions about me have been happily confirmed.


The dready girl who buys all those carrots.