I hope I’m not asking too much, but could I just pay?
Could I just hand you some cash or swipe my credit card, take my purchase and go?
Why do you have to make me feel like a worm?
I’m friendly by nature, really I am. Surely you saw that when I approached the checkout counter and smiled.
We’re getting along fabulously, the transaction is going smoothly and then you have to sour it all by asking for my phone number.
Are you going to give me your phone number? I didn’t think so. I’m not giving you my phone number any more than I’m going to the parking lot and writing it in the dirt on the back windshields of pickup trucks. I don’t need a new best friend; I just need a new scrub brush I can fill with dish soap.
Now you look hurt and disappointed because I won’t give you my phone number. I feel terrible.
What’s that? You’d like my email address? No, you can’t have my email address.
What’s that? If I give you my email address, you’ll take five dollars off my next purchase? Look, I’ll pay you five dollars here and now if you’ll never ask me for personal information again. No? You can’t take cash? Too bad.
What’s that? Would I like to give you my street address? Why? Are you coming over? No, you can’t have my address. And if I see you follow me out of the store, I’m calling the police.
My ZIP code? All right. My ZIP code you can have. Now will you wipe that sad-puppy look off your face?
Did I know I could “like” your store on Facebook? Marvelous.
Would I like to donate to a charitable cause? If I say no, you’re going to think I’m cold and uncaring. What does it matter? You already think I’m a snob.
Would I like to take a survey? You’re circling the Web address I can access to take a survey about my shopping experience today? If I say yes I’ll be lying, but if I say no you’re going to get that sad look again. I don’t’ say anything and now you’re certain I’m a snob, cold and uncaring.
Excuse me, I have a text: “Would you like a six-pack of Coke just for being you?”
How did the grocery get my cell? I never, ever, ever give out my cell. Blast that NSA!
For the record, the answer is no. No, I don’t want a six-pack of Coke, no, I don’t want to give you my phone number, my address, my email, my cell, my birth date, my Social Security number, my shoe size or my blood type. For the record, I make charitable contributions without solicitation and I probably won’t take time to go online and rate my shopping experience
I’m leaving now. I feel like a jerk. I’m sorry it had to end this way. I just wanted to pay.
Lori Borgman is the author of “The Death of Common Sense and Profiles of Those Who Knew Him.” Contact her at email@example.com.