Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Passion of the Low Price

A religious story for Good Friday

On a Saturday morning one fortnight ago, I found myself shopping at virtually the only place one can shop in Lafayette, LA at 5 a.m.: the Wal-Mart Stupidcenter. After grabbing the supplies I would need for the events of the day (a newspaper, granola bars and a pack of videotapes...use your imagination), I stood in the only available line. In front of me were four or five very pretty young women, all in a bunch. They were all engaged in a conversation with the cashier, a fact that allowed me ample opportunity to fret at the short time I had to get out of there (and to ogle).

The conversation among the girls (and clerk) was spotty and filled with apparent insider references; I suspect the cashier knew at least one of them beforehand. From the snippets of conversation I collected, I ascertained the following things:

1) These girls were really into cigarettes
2) Some or all of them were just getting off work
3) The cashier definitely did not approve of whatever they did

I'm guessing that the girls were strippers. They were cute and modestly dressed (i.e., not in clubbing gear, though their faces were overly made up), suggesting an incognito ride home. They also reminded me somehow of a couple of strippers I have known over time, girls who found themselves in a rough patch while going through college or raising a kid. On the other hand, they make a ton of money too. I didn't know how to feel about that, or about assuming that they were strippers in the first place.

With mere minutes to spare, the ladies left and I got up to the counter. The clerk lady smiled at me, nodded her head toward the departing girls and said to me, "Those girls need Jesus. They lack direction!" All the while I thought to myself, "I'd like some their place." I also reflected on how ironic it was that the clerk was more concerned about guys seeing their naughty bits than she was about them smoking. I didn't say those thoughts out loud, of course; I don't need my issues projected onto the next customer. Instead, I smiled and handed over my debit card, affecting the good-little-short-haired-non-rebellious-young-man look I've worked so many years at perfecting.

Out in the parking lot, I saw all of the girls backing out in their car. Not one of them even glanced back at me. Not one. I'm guessing they were just coming down from the many hours of drunken, horny leering made to them by men holding sticky dollar bills (being that they need Jesus and all), so I didn't take it too personally.

As someone who has worked the night shift at numerous jobs, I have to recommend stepping out to these places in the thick of the night. It's great entertainment! See, once and for all, why they call them "ungodly" hours.

Have a good, uh, Good Friday!


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thehim said...

A good Good Friday story for our times, Ian. The cashier can criticize the girls all she wants, but it's money that causes them to do what they do. It has nothing to do with Jesus. Neither Jesus nor a minimum wage job at Wal-Mart is going to keep any of those girls out of debt.

Phillip said...

what do you think getting jesus (in the question of "needing jesus") would entail?