I left Harris Teeter today. I sat in my car, and then remembered that I had put my purse in my trunk. So I got out of my car and muttered to myself, “I always forget that I leave it in there.”
“You’re not talking to Martians, are you?”
There was one of the cart attendants standing nearby. He was an older gentleman, wearing a Harris Teeter shirt and a bright orange safety vest. His glasses hid the fact that his eyes were spread apart farther than is typical.
“No,” I said.
“We had one girl who swore the Martians were after her,” said the cart attendant. “She ended up throwing knives and screaming that the Martians were coming to get her. We couldn’t get her to stop.”
“Oh my goodness,” I said.
“It happened twice,” he said.
“Well I just mutter memos to myself,” I said. “Nothing to worry about.”
“Are you excited for the success sharing check? Of course, I suppose you probably won’t be taking part in it, you’re probably too new. And by the time you get to participate — March, I think — they’ll probably be discontinuing it anyway, because Kroger bought us.”
He was talking to fill air. It was 11:30 on a Tuesday morning and he probably had absolutely nothing to do. No carts to put away. No customers needing their trunks loaded. I was probably the first person he had seen in a while.
“Oh that’s a shame,” I said.
“Yeah, but it wasn’t worth much, depending on what you contribute. It was $50, before taxes. It’s a big disappointment.”
I wondered how relevant my experience with success sharing was. $50 gross was typical with Home Depot. James had said that he typically got more than $50, although I couldn’t remember the exact amount. Splitting the bill based on your position seemed both fair and unfair. The lower-earning unskilled workers probably get less than the higher-earning skilled positions. This didn’t seem like the sort of thing to bring up in a random conversation with a bored stranger, so I simply smiled and nodded to show my ignorance.
The conversation sort of petered out soon after that, and I was waved on my way. I turned on my car, gave him a wave, and drove off.
Martians after me indeed.