A little baby stopped breathing at a superstore a few weeks ago. I arrived just as the medics placed the baby and a distraught woman into an ambulance outside the front doors. Inside, a visibly emotional, shaken employee was kindly directing a shopper to an open checkout lane. The shopper was evidently upset too… but not out of a sensitivity to the events that had just occurred.
The shopper, with annoyance on his face, raised his voice towards the employee:
“I don’t want a checkout lane. I want to complain. Tell me, what is this?!”
The angry shopper, jutting a box of toothpaste 12 inches from the face of the employee, had a first-world problem:
“Do you mean to tell me that you no longer carry my brand of toothpaste?! What am I supposed to do with this?!”
Disgusted by his behavior, I moved to within a couple of feet of the man’s self-consuming diatribe and stood next to the employee. I looked at the eyes of the angry shopper until his attention was distracted and thereby diffused a bit. I pray he noticed my disdained expression, but i doubt so.
Collecting his own breath, the employee gently responded, “Sir, you could ask the pharmacist about our toothpaste products.”
“Ah, never-mind! I’m never shopping here again.”
The calloused self-consumer huffed into the checkout lane, purchased his undesired toothpaste, and with it, I suspect, later white-washed his mouth out with some sick, narcissistic irony.