I’ve written about Ms. Snarky many times in the past. Her most noteworthy traits are that she’s eighteenish, delusional about her importance, and always has her antennae actively searching for a nasty encounter with anyone who carelessly crosses her path. Even though she gives the impression of being omnipresent, she most frequently can be found in minimum-wage, retail-store jobs.
As longtime readers know, it’s always a dangerous adventure when, on rare occasions, I enter a retail establishment, especially a supermarket. But the other day, I was in a defiant mood and felt like thumbing my nose at the idea that cholesterol and saturated fat might somehow be linked to such minor inconveniences as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
It was as though Homer Simpson had commandeered my brain … “Umm … cholesterol.” So, sympathetic soul that she is, my wife let me go to Wegmans with her on the condition that I would behave myself. (She never seems to learn.)
(If you don’t live in the Northeast, you’re probably not familiar with Wegmans. It’s a family owned and operated chain of high-end supermarkets that specializes in items that no one can afford but everyone in our bread-and-circus society buys anyway — like $25/pound shrimp!)
Wegmans also has great pizza, which they sell by the slice. If you prefer, they will also make up a whole pizza for you. After standing at the pizza counter for a couple of minutes, I told Ms. Snarky that I’d like to order a medium mushroom pizza to go. (Oddly, since Wegmans doesn’t sell mushroom pizza by the slice, they consider a whole mushroom pizza to be a “special order.”)
Judging from Ms. Snarky’s reaction, you would have thought I had ordered a chocolate-covered Ferrari. She was so stupefied by my request that, in full panic mode, she consulted with the manager of the pizza section to find out what she should do. How in the world could she possibly know how to handle a complicated “special order” like a mushroom pizza?
After the manager assured her that it was perfectly legal to special order a mushroom pizza and explained to her how to write it up, Ms. Snarky passed the order along to the Chief Pizza Maker (CPM), who in turn told us it would take about twenty minutes to have our pizza ready.
That accomplished, we ventured into Wegmans’ aisles to marvel at the Trump-size prices. Twenty minutes later, we were back at the pizza counter, and I had to admit I was looking forward to some great material for another article. I was totally confident that I could count on Ms. Snarky to come through on her end, and she did not disappoint.
There she was, in all her eighteen-year-old glory, standard scowl pasted perfectly just below her erring-adorned nostrils, and a “don’t mess with me” tone in her soothing voice. Her snarling expression reminded me of a younger version of Kathleen Sebelius.
As is my custom, and to the never-ending irritation of minimum-wage employees throughout the world, I looked inside the box to see what was wrong with the mushroom pizza. (Based on decades of firsthand experience, I always begin with the assumption that when it comes to ordering food, whatever an employee hands me will not be what I ordered.)
Again, Ms. Snarky did not disappoint. Lying inside the box was what was essentially a cheese pizza with a few mushrooms scattered about. To my wife’s chagrin, I immediately said to Ms. Snarky, “This isn’t a mushroom pizza. It’s a cheese pizza with a handful of mushrooms tossed on top.” Fortunately for me, she did not have an AR-15 rifle close at hand (that I could see).
Ramping up her snarkiness, she then proceeded to inform me that the amount of mushrooms used on my pizza was standard for Wegmans. Shamefully, I then entered into a jousting match with her, letting her know that I had purchased mushroom pizzas at Wegman’s many times in the past — probably before she had even advanced to middle school — and that they always had about three times the amount of mushrooms that this sorry looking pizza possessed.
As we both drew our spears in preparation for battle, workers began diving under counters to avoid what appeared to them to be a certain bloodbath. But, being the gentle soul that I am, and being particularly sensitive to youths with mental disorders, I decided to reach for my peace pipe instead.
In a pleasant voice, I said to Ms. Snarky, “Okay, let’s put all this nonsense aside. Forget the past, and just go ahead and add a lot more mushrooms to my pizza. No reason to make a big deal out of it.”
Whereupon she handed the controversial pizza to the CPM and told him to mushroom up. Before you could say snippety, snarkity, snipe, Ms. Snarky was handing me my spruced-up mushroom pizza. (Still not enough mushrooms, mind you, but more than the first time around.)
But, wait — I noticed that Ms. Snarky slapped some kind of sticker on my box of pizza before handing it to me. “Why,” I asked her, “did you just put another sticker on the box?”
“Because,” said the loathsome lass, “I had to charge you for the additional mushrooms.” Really? And here I was thinking more of an apology for inconveniencing me and perhaps a bit of a discount as a way of showing contriteness toward a loyal customer. But, knowing I was on thin ice with my wife, I kept it to myself.
The sad part of all this is that there’s a Mr. Wegman somewhere who probably has no idea that this kind of thing goes on in his stores. Which is mainly because most customers are probably like me and don’t want to lower themselves, or take the time, to report such incidents to customer service.
Also, the guy working behind the customer-service counter could be Ms. Snarky’s boyfriend, and he doesn’t like old guys who hassle his snippy little princess over in the pizza section.
Hmm … I think I’ll make life easy on my wife and stay home next time.