Sunday, April 22, 2007

Grocery Store Artifact: Attack of the Psychic

Despite being sick and blurry on large amounts of flu medicine I managed last Friday night to keep my job. I accomplished this by being professional and reigning in every impulse I had not to hurl invectives and vitriol at a certain female customer who went through my line. Not that the particular customer acted badly in line or was an a-holeoid that treats other people like servants or anything like that, but she was by any rational definition a very bad person. The rationale for my assessment of her character will be explained shortly.

At about 6 p.m. the customer entered my line, buying a few personal items after a long day of what she probably considered to be hard work. After the items were rung up I asked if she had a store club card so she could get her discounts on the sale items. She was visibly surprised some items were on sale. After she entered her club info into the point of sale pad I then gave her the final amount. Much to the semi-silent annoyance of the customers waiting in line behind her the customer then had to take a minute to fumble and search through her purse, scratching and pawing like a cat using a litter box, for enough cash to pay the bill.

What it was about the situation that made me want to flip out was that on her blouse was an exhibitor badge of the type used by people hawking crap and services on the nearby beach front boardwalk. The badge identified her as a PSYCHIC working a stand. Of course, my usual reflex was to take the opportunity to point out how evil she was, but being on the clock I unfortunately could not. I remained professional from start to finish, even though I was very distracted by the JREF-ian need to reinforce some reality and shame the grifter straight on behalf of her victims.

Things I wanted to ask and say to the customer but didn't because I need the paycheck:

How come you didn't know these items were on sale?

Why didn't you foresee the total?

Shame on you. Shame!

Get a real job.

Don't you care about the harm you do to the stupid?

You know what, sport? It is less harmful to the public good to give a heroin-addicted chimp going through withdrawal an Uzi with the sear filed down and set it loose in a day care center than be a "professional psychic".

You suck.

Lucky for you that you are real hot. That should help you land a rich husband since you are proven useless for anything other than sex. At least, for a few more years. Better hurry.

What do you need Midol for? Can't you relieve cramping by chanting under a pyramid and cleansing your aura or something?

No homeopathic cures for you today? Wait, here's a bottle of water for fifty cents. It is just as effective.

Shouldn't your amazing powers that can penetrate time and space and reverse entropy have warned you not to come through my line?


  1. You have those kind of days too, huh?

  2. Could be worse. At least I don't work in Del Mar. The folks of La Jolla are high maintenance but they are not what we call Del Martians.

    Still, way better than the "people" of Maryland.

  3. Hmmm. I don't know that *all* 'psychics' are by definition evil. I suspect there's a small subset that really believes themselves to have special powers, despite all evidence to the contrary; another subset that honestly offers 'psychic advice' as an entertainment service only; and even some whose advice is passable talking therapy (cheaper than the usual kind, too) in the guise of a 'reading'. But yeah, most are probably grifter scum, especially those that pretend to be mediums and prey on people's grief.

    Still, I've always wanted to go into a Tarot reading or other psychic storefront, sit down, and when they inevitably ask what I'm there for, respond simply, "Well, don't you know? I thought you were psychic...." Good twisted fun, kind of like taunting door-to-door evangelists with contradictory passages from the Bible.

  4. Psychics can't answer questions like those. Refer to the John Edwards ep of South Park or better yet, browse through JREF.

  5. I like JREF-ian. I may use it in the future.

  6. Careful there, Sleestak. Of the two characters depicted in the story, you're the one who comes off with "a-holoid" tendencies.

    Point taken: you resent psychics to a degree far out of proportion to any personal slight. I suppose it's fair to say you despise them on principle?

    But what principle is that exactly? If you regard each and every one as being a confidence trickster, that's understandable, although I'd call that over-generalization. Con-men are rightly disliked.

    And what of those who earnestly believe in their "abilities"? Are they less loathsome to you? How about those who consult psychics, the "stupid", as you call them? Better? Worse?

    It just looks inconsistent to me is all. You revile the victims and detest the practitioners. Are you motivated by real compassion for anyone or merely indulging in cathartic outrage over a perceived injustice that doesn't directly involve you at all?

    If it's the latter, enjoy yourself, because there's plenty of it around. No point getting riled about it, though. Laughing's healthier.

  7. "Psychics" are predators and grifters. I get angry at their patrons for falling for the most obvious scam.


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