Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The 7 (Seven) Cents Nail Polish Girl

The sky was dark and damp. The rain had been drizzling all day yesterday as the mammoth cold air mass was pushing towards the Eastern part of America from the Rocky Mountain Range, forcing the idle warmer air to elevate to the higher sky and forming an enormous piece of charcoal blanket covering the entire space.

My work at the drugstore started at 4 PM. I, Cotton Boy, thought the harsh icy rainy weather would hinder many shoppers from going out to run their errands. When I arrived at the parking lot, I was surprised and screamed, “Damn, almost all the parking spaces are occupied. People should stay home and watch “Two and a Half Men”. I entered the store, clocked in, put my name tag on and confiscated my territory as a cashier once again. The sun flower seed size raindrops were still descending. Americans, in general, do not have the habit to carry umbrellas even it rains torrentially. People drive their own vehicles to reach anywhere at any time. The cash register machine is next to the entrance. I stood there and watched people running in and out of their cars with their tiny hands sheltering their big heads.

I believe after the clock hit 8 PM, business began slowing down bit by bit. I caught my breath and looked around to tidy up my region, such as filling up the cigarettes on the rack, returning the baskets in which they should be located. At the cosmetic area, a young girl around at age 12-14 was holding several bottles of nail polish. I realized she was there at least around 8-10 minutes and assumed she must be dazzled by all colors that she could select.

She approached me with a bottle of pinkish red nail polish and asked, “Do you mind telling me how much it is?” I verified and told her that the price was $1.99. She gaped in bewilderment, “How much is the total after tax?” (Here in America, everything is about tax, tax and tax. If you purchase goods besides food and non alcohol beverages, everything automatically attaches 7.75% sale tax in Cleveland, Ohio before you can check them out from stores.)

I replied the total was $2.14. She frowned and re-started counting her coins; some are quarters, but mainly nickels and pennies. She was much abashed and whispered, “I only have $2.07. What can I do?” She looked like she was falling into a black hole. I wanted to rescue her by giving her 7 cents, but I was not in a position. First, have you ever heard of a cashier paying his client’s merchandize? The answer is obvious “NO”. Second, if you can’t afford it, you don’t buy it. Third, many surveillance cameras were installed on the ceiling. If I pull out my wallet, I would be on the cameras. I really pitied her but said, “I am sorry!”

I judged she would place back the item, go home and return with sufficient funds. Instead, she stayed and looked at me with a pair of sparkling begging blue eyes. A shooting star flashed through my mind. I said, “Just give me few seconds.” She froze herself on the floor with her hands praying.

At that precise moment, a middle aged lady was ready to check out her merchandise and overheard the conversation between the purple dress girl and me. “How much does she owe? I will pay for her,” she stressed candidly. “7 cents if you can,” I informed her. The girl instantly was in high glee, “Thank you so much, both of you”. She grabbed the nail polish and ran out with her little two hands on top of her head. The rain was still dropping.

I praised the lady as a heroine. She said, “Don’t mention it. Everyone deserves a better Christmas.” She walked out and disappeared in the rain with her both hands on her head too.