Price Breaks And Heartaches
A journal of retail and failed romance
Al And Tallulah’s Wild Ride
School was going pretty well, I was getting good grades even by community college standards. The college literary magazine was shaping up nicely, sadly the editorial staff had figured out all my pseudonyms and banned me from nominating any of them. My hopes of making a one man clean sweep of the magazine were dashed but they did take one of my stories.
Meanwhile Tallulah and I found ourselves working on Valentine's Day that year.
“I can’t explain why,” I said as I stood unprofessionally close to my girl, “that you shouldn't ever ever use the telephone in the manager's office.”
She nodded, “If you say so. And hey! What you doing tonight?”
I grinned, “Hopefully you.”
Trust me kids it was funny back then.
She batted her eyelashes at me, “I got you a little something.”
A slender red-wrapped package settled into my hands, “You didn't!”
“I did, now open it.”
We both giggled as I unwrapped the present, I jumped with glee, “The novelization of The Twin Dilemma! How did you know?”
“How could I not?”
“Well wait till you see what I've got for you.” I said with a grin.
The store intercom went off, “AL TO AISLE 2 FOR CUSTOMER ASSISTANCE.”
I gave her a wink in lieu of a kiss and headed off to assist a customer. There was an older couple waiting for me in aisle 2. “Hello,” I said, “and welcome to Paper Shredder where we shred prices and pass the savings on to you.”
The old man scowled at me, “Zavings? Vat kind uf zavings is ziz? A package of twelve vite out bottles vor seven dollars! Ve only want one.”
“I apologize but white out is only sold in packages of 12 so you can enjoy greater savings.”
The old woman shook the package at me, “Vat kind uf imbecile vould need zo many bottles of vite out? It is vasteful. Is zis your American vay?”
“Ve only want one,” The old man explained, “Ven Shlappy's Office Zupplies vas in business zey sold uz single bottles of vite out for vone dollar.”
I nodded understandingly, “But you were paying a dollar for a single bottle and with this package you are paying about fifty cents each.”
“But-” the old woman shook with rage, “Ve do not vant zat many. Ve are on a fixed income.”
“How do you know? I mean you need one now don't you?” I tried to sound reasonable, “Maybe you could use them for stocking stuffers.”
The old man stamped his foot, “I vant to zpeak to your manager!”
Oh that is all I need. I thought.
“Now folks,” I began. “I think we all got on the wrong foot here. I don't want to cause some kind of a furor...”
Both of them paled. The old man said, “Ve know nozing about the Fuhrer!”
“Ve are from Luxemborg!” the old woman added.
That was it, I gave up, “I'll just go get the assistant manager for you.”
I told the assistant manager Mr. Horne that he had some folks in Aisle 2 that needed help and made my way back into the copy center. There was a bulging Valentine's Day card I couldn't wait to give away.
“You're back,” she gave me a grin.
I didn't give you your present yet, “I passed her the pink envelope.”
Tallulah held it to her chest in a mock swoon, “Should I open it now?”
“You're damn right you better.”
There were copy orders going awry and price checks being ignored. She just had to see what I had gotten her, and I just had to see her reaction.
She opened the card and pulled out a sheaf of concert tickets, “Dio? And Megadeth ? And Iron Maiden? And Judas Priest? And Def Leopard? And Robert Plant?”
That's right six concert tickets for shows stretching from the spring to the fall. You see a few weeks ago Tallulah had been house-sitting for her parents again, which of course meant extended naked time for us. We got into the post coital habit of watching MTV's Headbangers' Ball and I made note of her favorite groups.
The rest was easy, expensive but easy. I bought each ticket for each event with my hard earned cash. Actually, considering I used Ticketmaster I probably bought each ticket twice over.
She hugged me with such forced it nearly knocked me over and I knew that heads wouldn’t be the only things banging tonight. I didn’t care what the store policy was about public displays of affection I wasn’t about to let her go.
“I wish I was carrying your baby,” her breath was warm against my ear.
I gave her the kind of workplace kiss that would send Human Resource directors diving for cover, “There’s plenty of time for that after we’re married.”
Tallulah stepped back, “You… you’re asking me to marry you?”
Well I hadn’t meant it that way but I didn’t want her to think I was toying with her so I nodded, “What do you say?”
“Yes!” That time she did knock me down with her embrace.
Later that night, hours after work as we dozed in the back seat of my Monte Carlo in a state of semi undress I realized that I had just gotten engaged.
What the Hell. I thought, I didn’t have any plans for the next thirty years or so anyway.