Life lessons from a dollar store clerk: 'Watch your mind, ma'am.'

Life lessons from a dollar store clerk: 'Watch your mind, ma'am.'

Quick true story: Last week I stopped by a dollar store to stock up on gloves and hats for some disabled folks I knew who might be needing them for the looming sub-zero temperatures.

As I pulled into the parking lot listening to the news about Stone and Wikileaks and political awfulness blah de blah, this hop-scotch bustle of randos scurried across the ADD playground that is my brain:

…..mmmm…peanut butter filled chocolate Clif bars…..Wikileaks, man….hacking…so rude..…what if we all got hacked? Dude. What if I’ve been hacked this morning and my card gets declined at this dollar store? How embarrassing…and what would I even do if that happened?…Maybe I should keep some cash in one of those books with secret storage compartments…or maybe I could carve out some pages in that 2007 Writers’ Market book that’s still on my shelf…but seriously what if I got hacked…how do people even find the time to hack…seems we may need a hack hack……ha ha….…hack hack….but seriously what would I do if I were hacked…


I grabbed 12 packs of gloves – 2 pair for a dollar! – and when the cashier rung them up she said, ‘Oops. It says transaction declined.’

Whaaat? I asked. Then again. Whaaat?

‘It says the transaction was declined.’

I went from ADD gerbil wheel to flop-sweat in 2.2 seconds. Had I forgotten to cancel a trial period and been charged for a three year membership something I never intended to buy?


Had my account been hacked by Wikileaks probably not but you know what I mean?

Whaaat? I repeated in case she didn’t hear me the first two times. Not so fun fact: I have zero stress filters. Ask anyone who knows me. I’m full-on Kristin Wiig’s Surprise Party Sue about everything.


Cashier: ‘You probably just entered your pin wrong.’

Now here’s the part that inspired this post: before I could pull my card out, and before she could cancel the transaction, the machine backtracked: Approved, it said.

The computer reversed its decision. The Universe: Psych!

Cashier: ‘Whoa. Never seen it do that.’

I then went full OSM-ADD on this poor cashier and spilled (barfed) the whole story about how only moments earlier I had imagined a scenario in which I had been hacked and only found out when I tried to pay for the 24 pairs of gloves and then it ACTUALLY HAPPENED but then it DIDN’T HAPPEN how crazy it that, huh, but what are the odds I mean could it be that somehow I made that happen by thinking about it and if that’s the case then why that and not the much cooler fantasies I imagine every day on my 45 minute commute……”

Cashier: ‘Do you want your receipt?’

Thankfully she was totally cool about the crazy lady in her dollar store. As I walked out she simply called out, ‘Watch your mind, ma’am.’

So, yeah. Watch your mind, y’all. 


That’s my piece, and that’s my peace. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my silly words. It truly means the world to me. Carry on…


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