Every Little Thing

Scene: Music department of a local store. Retail Employee biding time until latte-liscious lunch break. Customer is a woman in the Atlantic City Tour Bus years of her life and is sporting a mind bending half-beehive.

Retail Employee: Hi there! Can I help you?

Customer: Why yes, dear. I heard a song at my friend's luncheon bridge game the other day and I asked her who the performer was. She said a singer called Bob...Bob...oh now what was his last name?

Retail Employee: Geldof? Seger? Dylan? Vinton?

Customer: I don't think it was any of them. The song was something about little birds....

Retail Employee: Three Little Birds. Bob Marley.

Customer: Oh yes! That's the song. Bob Marley? Do you have any records by him?

Retail Employee: Yes we do, right over ...let me see...uhhhhhmmmm...right here! Here's a Bob Marley CD. (Hands CD to Customer.) I don't know if it has Three Little Birds on it.

Customer: Oh.

Retail Employee: Is Three Little Birds not on that CD? Let me look for the song on another CD.

Customer: He's colored.

Retail Employee: Do you not have a CD player?

Customer: He's colored.

Retail Employee: 

Customer: (Handing CD back to Retail Employee.) I didn't realize this singer was colored.

Retail Employee: Uhm. Yes. He is.

Customer: (Still handing CD back to Retail Employee.) I thought he was Hawaiian. It sounded like Hawaiian music.

Retail Employee: Well...Jamaica. It's an island. So, sorta like Hawaii. I guess.

Customer: (Bypassing Retail Employee and putting CD back in bin.) I didn't know he was colored.

Retail Employee: (Immediately taking another CD out of bin. Handing a copy of Legend to Customer.) If you liked Three Little Birds, you'll really like this CD. It's all Bob Marley's greatest hits. Really great music with the island sound you liked in the song your friend played for you.

Customer: (Gingerly handling CD with Bob Marley's face on it.) I just don't know....

Retail Employee: This music makes you feel good. It's called reggae.

Customer: (Trying to hand CD back to Retail Employee) Maybe not today.

Retail Employee: (Not taking CD) My mom listens to it.

Customer: She does?

Retail Employee: She likes Three Little Birds.


Retail Employee: Lots of people listen to Bob Marley. It's just wonderful music.

Customer: (Looking at CD cover with furrowed brow.)

Retail Employee: I'll let you think about it.
Customer: (Still looking at CD cover with furrowed brow.)

Retail Employee: Let me know if you have any questions, okay?  

Retail Employee walks away. Stands behind register.

Customer continues looking at CD cover with furrowed brow.

Retail Employee: (To self)  Hawaiian. Huh.

Customer: (Approaches register.) Thank you for your help.

Retail Employee: No problem. Did you need help finding anything else?

Customer: No, thank you.

Retail Employee: Okay. Have a good evening.

Customer: I'll just take this.

Long pause and with great hesitation Customer puts Legend CD on the counter.

Retail Employee: Sure.


Retail Employee:  (Trying hard not to smile at Customer with meaning.)


Retail Employee: Here's your change. And your CD. Thank you and have a nice evening.

Customer: Good night.

Retail Employee: 'Night


Ice Mom said...

Just when you think we've evolved as a society, one of these little old ladies comes along.

I'm really glad she bought the CD, though. Maybe there's hope yet!

josetteplank.com said...

If I had to bet, I'd bet a lot of not-little-old-ladies think what she thinks, but just don't say it out loud. I think some people assume they can be less guarded because they play the "this is the way I've always done things and I won't learn new tricks" line.

It's funny - wonderful funny - how the arts and even sports build bridges that seem impossible to build. Is it the feelings we experience from music, theater - that connections - is more meaningful than our knee-jerk reactions to how people look? I'm sure someone more eloquent has written on this topic.

jess said...

Wow. Just, wow. Good on you for handling it so well. It's never too late. :)

S said...

i'm so touched by this. & glad you didn't let her get away.


Rima said...

Wow. Just wow. I think you should get the retail employee of the year award!

P.S. You know next week she'll be back for some Flavor Flav.

josetteplank.com said...

Rima, lol!

Maybe Hendrix. Maybe.

Anonymous said...

Legend? Really?

What on earth were you thinking? The last thing we need is another little old lady lightin' up a spliff on the way to her knitting circle. You know how many hedges it takes to stop a cruising Oldsmobile?

Thank you, misguided soccer mom, for making the world a more dangerous place.

josetteplank.com said...

You know, I was trying to figure which one of my Anonymous friends posted that comment, and then I realized...

All of them. ;-)

Andrea said...

Isn't "I Shot the Sheriff" on that album? Wish I could see her expression when she gets to that track!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I think your response was better than what I would have come up with. Which I'm pretty sure would have been, "Are you f*cking kidding me?!"

Which may have been why I left retail.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

This post brought tears to my eyes. First, I just can't believe---I don't want to believe---that people won't buy music because the singer is not white! That is just beyond sad.

And, just as I'd expect from you, you handled this with so much grace and patience.

(and, man, do I love that song)

Anne said...

Mom had Legend?! I'm so borrowing that.

josetteplank.com said...

She had some sort of compilation. I bet she got it on QVC. Maybe it was "in the style of Bob Marley." The Fred Waring Singers or something.

Kyddryn said...

Heh...my first thought at "He's colored..." was "No, really? I had no idea - I'm color blind..."

Hmm...this reminds me a bit of something that happened many, many years ago when the world was new and dinosaurs walked the malls and I learned a new vocabulary word from my grandmother...I think I have blog fodder for the weekend - cheers!

Also...your cheerful determination is delightful.

Shade and Sweetwater,

Al_Pal said...

Awesome. Bless you!
Here via your comment on, "I didn't call her a bitch". ;-)

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