Life, writing

How I Earned a Walmart Employee’s Undying Respect

Welcome back, peeps, to our weekly Thurs—er, Friday post. Today, I’ll be sharing a strange and mildly fascinating experience that includes eyeglasses, introversion, and an Indian man.

Woo woo.

What some of you may not know is that my eyesight stinks. (To put it simply.) A trip to the eye-doctor has been a long time coming, and yesterday, mom finally took me—albeit a bit of kicking and screaming on my part, because “I CAN SEE FINE, PEOPLE.”

*as she runs into the door*

We generally go to the Walmart optometrist (who isn’t nearly as skeezy as most things affiliated with Walmart, believe me), and after looking through a bunch of lenses and reading tons of random letters, I was informed that I am officially blind as a bat.

After this earth-shattering announcement, I was told to kindly remove myself from the fancy chair and let my mother take my place. (She was getting her eyes checked too, you know.) Since that would probably take a while, and I was sitting there twiddling my thumbs and looking like my world was coming to an end, the optometrist lady asked me if I would take my prescription out to the guy at the front desk.

I could see the panic growing in my mother’s eyes. I was an… erm… interesting child in my youth, and the prospects of going into the Walmart optometry lobby without her, to talk to a person I didn’t know, would have once scared the living daylights out of me.

However, I am now almost seventeen. Sure, as a ten year old, I probably would have crumpled into a fidgeting heap of limbs at the suggestion. Now? Pfffft. So I took the slip of paper she gave me and headed off, feeling remarkably chill about the entire situation. (I honestly think mom was more worried about how it would affect me than I was worried about how it would affect me. These people have no confidence in my social skills.)

The Ruler Supreme of the front desk was a little elderly Indian man with a mellow, pudgy face. He was even shorter than me, and the pinnacle of roundness. Little round, bald head. Little fat stomach. Cheerfullest, mellowest, sweetest guy I’d ever met—even though he couldn’t half speak English. I gave him the prescription, and he did… something with it, I’m sure. He then gave me some papers I had to fill out with my name, birthday, address, etc.

Useful Tip of the Day: Even if you’ve moved seven billion times, it’s always wise to learn your street address. You never know when you’re going to need it. And let me tell you, it’s terribly demoralizing when a Walmart employee has to look up your previous eye-doctor forms just so you can figure out your own stupid address.

Totally not speaking from experience here.

Another Useful Tip of the Day: You should probably also figure out when your mother was born. Just sayin’.

After all that, he asked me a couple of questions about my eyesight and what I use my eyes for. “What do you like to do?” he asked. “Do you watch a lot of TV?”

That earned him an emphatic NO.

I told him that I’m an artist and a writer, so I spend a lot of my eyesight on computer screens, notepads, and books.

Well.

“A writer?” he said, his little round face slowly lighting up. “What do you write?”

This one never gets old. I can be completely polished and totally sure of my answer before someone asks me this. Then they actually ask it, and my entire mind shuts off—all except for one word that gets pitched at my mouth:

…books.

Fortunately, I didn’t have the chance to say that, because he wasn’t done with his question yet. “Fiction or non-fiction?”

“Fiction,” I said. “I’m actually writing a book.”

You would have thought I’d told him I built the Empire State building. The man got so excited, I thought he was going to explode from beaming so hard. “You’re writing a book! What’s it about?”

You know how my brain shuts off when people ask about my writing? Well this time, the first thing that popped into my head (which I did not say, just so we’re clear), was, “…a monster comes out of a hole in the ground and starts eating people.”

Just… no.

Some slightly put-together part of my brain managed to pull itself from the void, and I ended up saying, “I’m working on a speculative fiction novel that explores themes such as human depravity and racism.”

I felt mildly pleased with that answer, and as I was patting myself on the back for not saying something exceedingly stupid, this little optometrist guy slowly sank back into his chair, looking slightly dazed.

“…wow.”

For a moment, I felt like Charles Dickens.

He asked me if I’d ever gotten published in magazines or anything, and I (desperately trying to sound humble, though at this point, it was getting hard) told him that I’d once won second place in a short-story contest, and earned a hundred bucks.

I have never seen someone look so ecstatic.

We talked for a little while longer, as he asked me questions about my craft in his barely understandable English, and I answered to the best of my awkward introverted ability. When did I start writing? Why did I choose it above of all the other things girls my age usually want to do? (I’m looking at you, Hollywood…) Does anyone else in my family write—does my mother?

Um, no.

He got really excited at this point, and almost fell off his chair. “Is your mother a teacher?!”

I blinked several times. I mean, we are homeschooled, so…

“Of a sort.”

I felt like that was a very diplomatic answer.

The mother herself showed up several minutes later, and I got up so she could have my chair while she filled out her own forms. As I stood behind her, the Indian gentleman looked up at me and then pointed to a chair close by, urging me to sit. He glanced at mom, and got the biggest, brightest smile on his face as he nodded at me and said, “She’s a writer.”

Mom honestly looked so confused.

(It must also be mentioned that in the space on the form asking what you like to do—obviously meaning what you do with your eyesight—mom wrote down, “drink coffee.”

I mean, it’s the truth…)

As we went to check out, we were slightly dismayed by how expensive our glasses were. Mine were by far the more expensive (I refuse to feel guilty about that, since I’ll probably be wearing them more), and though there was a slight price-reduction on them since I’m a minor, mom’s were still way cheaper.

“Oh no, it’s fine,” the Indian Gentleman randomly said. Mom squinted, still stuck on the “she’s a writer” part.

“It’s fine,” he said again.

And that’s when we realized that he’d just given us a discount.

Not on mom’s glasses, mind you, even though the big sign on his desk said that all discounts would be for the frames of lesser expense. Nope. The guy chopped about 25% off of my frames. To the point that they actually ended up being cheaper than mom’s. For absolutely no reason other than he liked me.

To those who say writing has no practical benefit, look again. I just saved us fifty bucks, all by my shining personality and effervescent attitude.

We left soon after. And though I’ll probably never see him again, I can still remember with perfect clarity the joy on his face when said to mom, “She’s a writer.” I think that moment will stick with me for the rest of my life. Generally, when people hear that I’m a writer, they get the “let’s see how long this phase lasts before she gets bored of it” look in their eyes. I have honestly never met someone who was so darn excited to hear I was writing a book. This random elderly man in the Walmart optometry lobby, this mild little guy, going into spasms over the fact that I write things.

To me, that’s pretty inspiring. And in a time when I’ve finally started to conquer some of the self-doubt surrounding my calling, it was a monstrous encouragement to remember that what I do will affect people, whether they’re actually reading my work, or just hearing about it. It was a reminder to persevere, to keep going, to stay confidant. People will care.

What I do—what all of us young writers do—is important. And you never know who it will make an impression on.

Moral of the Story: Being a writer will save you money and earn a Walmart employee’s undying respect.

~Sarah

 

Advertisements

35 thoughts on “How I Earned a Walmart Employee’s Undying Respect”

  1. Oh. My. Word. I have officially both died of laughter and amazement at this story. Thank you for sharing this. πŸ˜€

    Like

  2. I feel compelled to interrupt the regularly scheduled program (meaning that I have only gotten 1/8 th of the way through the post) to state that at FIFTEEN you would have collapsed into a heap of whatever you said…at TEN, it would have taken a crowbar the size of Philadelphia to detach you from my person (the autocorrect for detach is “dear Taco” πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚). Not that I would have even sent you out there by yourself at ten…😳 Good grief. Or “Good gravy” as Emma would say.

    Carry on.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This was both absolutely hilarious and brilliant at the same time. I just totally love this guy now. And you were super amazing to actually have a good answer for the whole ‘what do you write’ question. (Me when I get asked that: …………stuff. Or: well it’s kind of set in medieval times but it’s not totally in this world because I changed stuff, and there are assassins, retired samurai, triplets, and taking over the world going on. Oh, and it’s in a fantasy-adventure genre. Capice?)

    Like

    1. I know, right? He’s one of my new favorite people.

      HA, BUT THAT IS SO ME. “…stuff.” 🀣 Ehhhh, yeah. I was really surprised by myself, too. That level of professionalism is NOT natural, let me tell you.

      Like

  4. It’s kind of a trick of the universe that I read this post with one eye closed and drenching my cheek in tears because I got sunscreen in my eye and couldn’t get it out.

    XD I feel like I kind of want to go to Walmart now and see if I can find any their employees near me who also appreciate writing. I don’t know many people who have as much reverence for our beloved art…
    πŸ˜€ I would have actually said “…a monster comes out of a hole in the ground and starts eating people” and been semi-serious. As you know from the way I butchered Narnia, my book descriptions are all: “Lord of the Rings? That’s about short guys who hate jewelry” and I probably would have walked away with much less respect than you got… *sigh*

    Like

  5. This reminds me of the time we went to a train station and we were waiting for the train and my sister and I started talking about my story and someone asked me what it was about and I told them I was doing research for it at the moment because it was a long story and somehow that got to the conductor and my entire family of eight people ended up in this special cab in the train for free where we were visited by the conductor himself (why wasn’t he driving, I wonder? #hindsight) and it was all a very remarkable experiance, and I learned a lot about travel through the ages.

    That was all one sentence. Wow.

    We writers get lucky sometimes, I guess!

    Like

    1. *drops fork* Oh. My. Goodness. That is… that is the BEST. 🀣 This is my new favorite story. Thank you for blessing my day with this.

      Also, your one-sentence story skills are on point. You deserve a medal.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I still chuckle over the reality of that story sometimes. You are most welcomed. XD

        I look forward to recieving the Golden Monosentence Award. XD

        Like

  6. I can’t stop smiling. πŸ˜€
    Maybe all Walmart optometrists are nice. The one at my Walmart is an older gentleman who knows lots of things about lots of things, and we end up having the most interesting conversations. He’s made me like going to the eye doctor.

    Like

  7. Aw, he sounds like a really nice guy. I bet it felt so good to be called a writer!! What a cool thing to happen to you. πŸ™‚

    Like

  8. Oh my goodness. Teach me the ways of being likable to people!! My eyes are so bad I can barely see anything when I take my glasses off, so I could use that advice to help get cheaper glasses… also, this was a hilariously awesome (or maybe awesomely hilarious) post. Great work.

    Like

    1. Well, the first step to being likeable is… *realizes she doesn’t know herself* *cough* So this experience might have been a one time fluke… 😬 Once I escape my introversion long enough to figure it out, I’ll be sure to tell you. πŸ˜‰

      Like

      1. *gulps* Wait, being likable requires escaping introversion for a short time? *shakes head* Nuh uh. No thanks. I’ll pass, and just stick with annoying and/or talking to sometimes-irritating older boys until they ‘adopt’ me as their little sister. I’ve done that… well, only once so far. I think that’s enough.

        Like

  9. AWWWWW. ❀ That's so…CUTE. I love nice employees. They're quite a rarity in Walmart, but I always keep my eyes peeled. Good for you. Congratulations on your polished answer.
    I officially love that guy.

    (But you DO do a lot of movie watching, which is the same as staring at a screen for TV, right? I mean…physical effects are the same. Right? Mental effects maybe not so much. But since you already had your prescription at that point, I suppose it doesn't matter. I'm just, y'know, concerned for your optometric safety, dear.
    All right all right I'm done nitpicking.)

    Like

    1. You’re not the first…. I think he’s officially become a celebrity. I’ve had three people I know come up to me and tell me how much they love him now. Little does he know… πŸ˜‚

      Yeah, but it’s not like we watch movies all the time, every day. I told him I look at a computer screen a lot for my writing, so I think that constitutes as the same thing. Never fear, dear. I’m not going to go blind. 😏

      Like

  10. Yes, getting glasses for the first time can be scary (I didn’t want to get mine either). It was weird putting them on for the first time…everything was so clear and sharp and I wondered how I ever saw anything without them. πŸ˜…

    Wow. That’s a neat story. If you ever see that guy again, tell him I think he’s cool. And awesome. We need more people like him. πŸ™‚

    Like

  11. …. My comment must have melted along with that chair.

    Anyway, I meant to say this a week ago, but I absolutely love this. So much. It’s such a great feeling when people are interesting in your writing. And you did the thing brilliantly. Today, old elf, you have proved that we writers can provide a one sentence explanation of our stories.
    Thank you for the hope you have instilled in this dragon.
    *nods*

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s