Do My Ears Deceive Me?

I was out going grocery shopping yesterday and picking up the box set of "Jericho" DVDs for my mom to watch while she's out on disability and went into the REI in Issaquah to see what their selection of rock climbing shoes was like. It's one of their smaller locations, but I lucked out snagging shoes for both Kristin and I that were normally $125 on sale for $40 (Five-Ten Gambits).

There was a small line at the register, just one or two people. It's soon my turn to pay and as the woman is scanning the boxes, a guy approaches the clerk to my right and inquires about a job.

"I saw on your website that people looking for employment should contact the stores nearest them, so are you hiring?" The guy was a hard looking guy. Pretty monotone voice, perhaps with a touch of the South in him. A bit grayed and in his late forties if I had to guess.

"Well, sir, you can take home an application and fill it out. We're not hiring at the moment, but we usually bring on a few extra people in April when the weather starts getting nice."

"Any chance you can just fire someone now?"

Again, monotone. Deadpan. No smirk. My eyes got big and met the equally bulging pair of the woman ringing up my big score on the shoes. I could tell we were thinking the same thing: is this guy joking?

"Well," the clerk began, then chuckled a bit to break the awkwardness, "I suppose you could fill out some complaint cards, that might help."

"Alright. I see. I might do that, I really need a job."

I couldn't take it anymore, I had to say something. It was all too surreal. So I turned to the guy and said, "Don't forget to write on that application that you're a real team player. You know, in case the getting someone fired route doesn't pan out."


I did the grocery shopping at Safeway and was treating myself to a Jamba Juice on the way out. I ordered a 16oz Mega-Mango all-fruit smoothie and, since they always ask if you want the free boost (vitamin powder), I went ahead and requested the "Energy Boost" ahead of time. I don't really expect to feel extra energy, but some extra vitamins and nutrients never hurt.

"Okay, that's one Mega-Mango with a shot of manatee." The clerk was a teenage boy with a thick Asian accent. Very polite, hard-working (he was running the shop by himself with little trouble) but he was a bit hard to understand.

"Did you say a shot of manatee?" I was completely confused and straining to not start laughing.

"Yes, sir. Manatee boost."

"You mean the fish-animal thing from Florida?"

At this point he was probably beginning to think the same about me that I was thinking about him: this guy's bat-shit crazy. He simply smiled and nodded.

"Did you just ask if I wanted a shot of endangered species in my smoothie?" By now I was laughing. I couldn't help it.

"What, sir?" He smiled at me. It was the smile you give a kid as you watch him shove pencils up his nose and eat paste. "You ordered sixteen ounce Mega-Mango with ehmennaty boost, right?"

My ears picked up something different that last time. I looked at the list of available boosts and realized he must have been saying immunity not manatee.

"Ohhh... no, the energy boost, or the immunity, or the fish-mammal thing. I don't care anymore, I really just want the mangoes."

The one freaking time I actually ask for a vitamin boosts... never again.

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