I swear there's some weird rule, maybe an offshoot of Murphy's Law, which dictates that I get the same awkward, dreadful cashiers every time I shop at a place.
Yesterday I was buying a new purse at Nordstrom Rack and the second I got called to to a checkout counter I recognized the weird middle-aged Asian woman who helped me the last two times I shopped there. She always makes very sweet but strange small talk about your purchases. This time: "Oh, this is nice! This bag is SO nice. Such a bright color, soft leather, so good for having coffee!" Say what? Isn't the only pre-requisite for a proper coffee-drinking bag that it have enough money for a cup of coffee contained somewhere within its confines? And she's always trying to get me to sign up for a Nordstrom charge card. You have to say no about four times, which is always pleasant and not at all repetitive or grating. She's also strangely insistent on asking if you want each item wrapped up in paper before bagging it, even when it is entirely unjustified (socks, a silk blouse). I'm like, just give me my shiz so I can get out of here, lady!
But I'm just being a grump. She's an absolute model employee compared to this one postal clerk at our nearby post office from Hell. I try to avoid this post office as much as possible because it is by far the WORST station I've ever been to, even worse than the decrepit office just off campus by U.C. Berkeley, which was composed almost entirely of bulletproof glass and where waiting times of an hour were not uncommon. There are actually two very pleasant post offices nearby but I inevitably have to visit Hell Station because it is where our packages go to die when no one is home to sign for them. Every postal worker at Hell Station is vaguely cold or incompetent, but there is one guy whom I dislike with a bitter dread verging on despair, and I absolutely swear I have had to go to his counter at the last SIX visits, even though there are three other clerks who work there.
First of all, he's always wearing a different outfit than the other clerks. I can only describe it as mildly jaunty. It's a blue dress shirt, made of what looks to me like an unpleasantly scratchy cotton blend, and snappy polyester pants. Everyone else has a regulation polo shirt, maybe a glum fleece vest tossed over that if the weather doesn't appear particularly clement that morning. But this guy is always dressed in the postal clerk outfit that Tim Gunn would pick for you if he didn't realize that your soul had disintegrated from helping angry, clueless people fill out customs forms.
Then he acts like he owns the place and it drives me nuts. This is one of a million government offices which are bleeding money at an alarming rate, but this clerk acts like it's his own little trattoria that only uses his mama's recipes and he has to keep careful quality control. He's always eyeing the people in line and he's all up in the other clerks business. Come on, guy, keep your eyes on your own paper.
The worst thing by far though, is his ludicrous, never-ending product spiel. Every single time I am helped by this man he has tried to upsell me: Express mail service, insurance, extra insurance, signature confirmation, extra packing materials, greeting cards, stamps, flag stamps, Forever stamps, Love stamps, wedding cake stamps, Washington Memorial stamps, Latin Music Legends stamps, Innovative Choreographers stamps, a stamp book. Three visits ago he asked if I was interested in a tote bag. One of these days I am going to cover his mouth with Priority Mail tape.