Monday, October 6, 2008

Big Red at Walgreens

I was in Walgreens today returning one of the packs of gel heel liners I bought (Ive am over-buyer. You need 3? I buy 5. Its a problem).First I went to the slightly intelligent looking kid in checkout #1. This was a mistake.

Duuuur, errr I think Betty can help you, he stuttered, pointing to Betty.

Betty did not smile. Betty rolled her eyes. Go to photo, she barked. And someone will be with you.

I swear she muttered maybe under her breath but Im probably just projecting. So I wander over to photo and Betty picks up the intercom and calls for the manager. At least, I think she calls for the manager. I cant really understand her sixty year-old smokers voice. At photo the girl actually smiles at me.

Manager will be right out, Photo Girl said and returned to sorting photos.

I cant help but wonder how often she comes across inappropriate photos. Every time I pick up one hour, I think about Birdie in Hope Floats and how the manager of the one hour photo booth had a special drawer where duplicates of dirty photos were kept. I bet Walgreens has a drawer like that. So there I am, just waiting around and thinking innocently of what kind of pictures are deemed worthy enough to put in that mythical drawer when a woman in her mid-thirties comes barreling up to the desk. Her hair is an unnatural shade of vivid red and sticking up in curly corkscrews all over her head. A row of silver and gold colored bracelets jangle on her wrists with a plastic-like clink

Yes, maam? Photo Girls asks, every so politely.

Red shoves a box at Photo Girl. Is this considered a disposable camera? Ive never seen one used before.

I look at the box. Photo Girl looks at the box. Inside are two disposable cameras. Which the box clearly states.

Yes, maam, they sure are. Photo Girl smiles and tries not to look at me. I study the candy display in front of me intently.

Red waves the box around, jiggling the cameras inside. How do I use em?

The Junior Mints box Im looking at is getting blurry because Im trying to focus too hard. If I look at Photo Girl, Im going to laugh. I cant resist a peek. Red is leaning over the desk now, eyes boring into Photo Girl. Photo Girl is trying to keep her eyes on Reds face but Reds tank top has stretched to the max and at any second her goodies are going to spill all over the counter.

Photo Girl scratches at her neck and focuses at a point over Reds curls. Just point and click. 

All right then. Red eases off the counter, pushes back her bracelets and turns the box over in her hands. The strap on her tank slips off one shoulder. She ignores it. And then what? There arent any directions.

Ive given up on the Junior Mints box completely and look at Red. Shes uber confused as she squints at the box.

Photo Girl, bless her patience, takes the cameras gently from Red. You just bring them back here, camera and all after youve taken the pictures and well develop them for you.

Huh. Red finally snaps her tank top strap into place and reaches for the cameras which Photo Girls hands over, still studying the point over Reds head. Meanwhile I am in near convulsions and my bladder is starting to hurt. My eyes are actually watering.

Its so simple, Red marvels.

Photo Girl nods. Then she hesitates, as though she is not sure she should offer up this next bit of information. Im all for hesitating. I dont think Red can handle any more simpleness. Nor can I for that matter. But Photo Girl shrugs and plows on.  When we develop them for you, we can put them on a CD so you can upload them to your computer.

A line appears between Reds eyes. Wow. Really?

For $2.99.

Reds face wobbles a bit. Oh. Thats not part of the development, huh?

No, maam. Photo Girls shakes her head regretfully.

That would be really cool. Darrell would love it. Darrell loves to take photos. Red pushes out her lower lip and then brightens. Salright, I dont have a computer anyway. Thanks! And she walks away. Photo Girl and I stare after her. She bumps into a candy display and drops the cameras. Shhhhhhhhh-it.

Photo Girl looks at me. I agree, she mumbles and turns on heel for the backroom just as the manager approaches. He rings up my exchange without a smile or word. Im ok with this. I think Ive heard it all now anyway. And I wonder  what would Red think of a digital camera? I think she and Darrell would have a lot of fun with a digital camera. And I bet Photo Girl is going to get some interesting photos for that drawer. 

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