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Passive-Aggressive Cashier Pinches Your Bread

Amy Vansant




In this sharp vignette, Vassant’s wry, vindictive humor enlivens the mundane world of a grocery store.



I know you. Not by your real name, but by the name I've created for you. Poodle Girl, Mr. Tracksuit, Lipstick Teeth, Porn Mustache... I know you all. You treat me like you're so much better than I am. Why? Because I wear a polyester vest? Because I have a name tag? Have you ever read my name tag?

Hello, my name is: The Angel of Vengeance.

Perhaps you disregard me because you are jealous. I've seen you in the self-checkout aisle before; you don't have a fraction of my skills. I can weigh AND ring-up 30 different kinds of produce in less time than it takes you to find a parking space no more than five spots away from the automatic door. The same automatic door you huff at for being too slow to open. Every. Single. Time. Why is it still such a shock when you have to slow your cart from the battering ram speed you've achieved by the time you've reached that door?

You're rude to me in a hundred different ways, and you think it doesn't matter. But what you don't know is, while you stand there in line yapping on your cell phone so I can see how hectic and important your life is, I pinch your bread.

You know the bread you throw out because it got squished in the bag on the way home? It wasn't squished in the bag. I pressed it into dough between my nimble fingers while you were idly watching your kid knock 10 packs of gum to the ground.

And it isn't just the bread.

You know those crescent moon shaped holes in your apples? About the size of my fingernails? I grow out my nails just so I can tattoo my revenge on your produce. Sometimes their length slows me down on the register --- speed of which I'm proud --- but I don't care.

I've cracked your butter sticks. If you shop long enough they soften, and with a little pressure I can snap them as they sit still wrapped in wax paper. It's the perfect crime. It's like finding a body in a room locked from the inside.

Feel like your yogurt goes bad before the expiration date? I've imperceptibly slit the foil top on your fat-free treats with a deft poke of my index finger right in front of you. I've done it a dozen times and still you never see.

Oh, and for the record, those yogurts may be fat-free, but the fructose in them contributes 11g of sugar, Stretchy-Pants.

When I ask you how you are, the correct answer is "Fine, how are you?" Not just "good." Not an unintelligible grunt. Grunt at me and when you think I'm securing your egg carton with a rubber band, I'm REALLY cracking the lid and flicking an egg shell with all the force and accuracy that years of sitting the backseat with siblings has afforded me. You thought you checked to be sure no eggs were broken. Looks like you missed one.

I'm sure once or twice you've thought to yourself, how did my bread end up flattened like a pancake? How did I miss that broken egg shell?

But it doesn't matter. I'm not even the lowest animal on your totem pole.

You'll blame it on the bag boy.









Amy Vansant was the East Coast Editor of SURFER Magazine for 5 years and as a freelancer, has been published in Modern Maturity, Caribbean Travel and Life, Yankee, Skirt!, McSweeney's Internet Tendencies, Chesapeake Bay Magazine, and others. She is the author of The Surfer’s Guide to Florida (Pineapple Press, 1995). You can read more at her humor blog:

A perfectly healthy sentence, it is true, is extremely rare. For the most part we miss the hue and fragrance of the thought; as if we could be satisfied with the dews of the morning or evening without their colors, or the heavens without their azure. - Henry David Thoreau


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