Say Their Name

Courtney and I were out buying groceries yesterday. Well, she was getting groceries while I was texting guitar students and working on our budget (and checking facebook). At one point I had slowed to such a snail's pace that she huffed and jerked the shopping cart out of my hands, ducking down the canned goods aisle. I might be embellishing a little. In the checkout line I was thinking about the fact that the employees were wearing name tags, which struck me as funny as saying the name of a person you don't and will never even know feels awkward, maybe intrusive, like calling a former teacher by their first name for the first time. But I suppose it's good to be able to identify someone in case you need to complain about them later.

At the end of the conveyer belt, a fellow whose name tag read Everett was mechanically bagging our groceries in an obviously rookie fashion. It didn't help that I again wasn't paying attention and hadn't pushed the cart forward for him to fill. When Courtney again violently relinquished me from my cart duties and apologized for my incompetence (again Courtney told me to tell you I'm being dramatic) he remarked with a heavy dose of melancholy, "Yea, it comes with the job." I could have at this point grumbled off and let it taint my usually wonderful experience at this grocery store. But instead I decided to say his name.

"Thanks. You have a great evening Everett."

By the way he whipped his head around you'd have thought I just shot a juicy spit-wad in his ear–but he was beaming, "Oh, well, uh, thank you sir!"

For a moment there I wished I would have been wearing a name tag too.