I am standing slump shouldered in the queue for customer service at Walmart. We are a dejected lot. Dejection is a qualification for a place in line, along with a neon sticker on the item to be returned.
A grey headed man in matching grey coveralls is in front of me. He is holding a head of lettuce. It is unwrapped.
I can’t help myself. “Bad head of lettuce?”
He shakes his head sadly “Covered with rust.”
“Oh yeah, that’s what these here brown spots are called.” He tenderly peels back a leaf.
I can’t help myself. “Do they actually take back lettuce?”
He brightens, “Oh yeah, they’ll take back anything, especially if you got a receipt.” He reaches into a vast pocket in his coveralls and removes a bulging wallet. . It is fatter than a Big Mac; oozing receipts, cards and bills. Donald is a saver. Donald has his name written on his wallet with a sharpie. He removes a wad of receipts molded into a curved brick and pries one off with a yellowed thumb nail. His bushy eyebrows rise with pride. “Last summer I took back 13 watermelons.”
I can’t help myself. “What was wrong with them?”
“Oh you name it. Some weren’t ripe, some were too ripe” he pauses, remembering fondly. “A variety of problems.”
I can’t help myself. “Is there anything you wouldn’t take back?”
He stuffs the wallet back in his coveralls and tugs at his rubbery ear, wrinkles stacking up on his forehead. “Well now, I’d have to think about that. “
I wait breathlessly while he cogitates.
“Next!” the customer service lady with the ink black beehive says to no one in particular. Donald bears his rusty lettuce proudly…leaving me hanging.
18 hours ago