Yesterday, I made my bi-monthly pilgrimage to Costco to stock up on paper towels, toilet paper, and impulse items I wouldn’t normally have bought – in this case, imitation fur-lined gloves and a paper shredder.
My basket was overflowing with my bounty, and being it was a weekend, I stood in line with all the other delusional people who thought they too were saving money by purchasing items in bulk, conveniently forgetting the items in their carts selected on a whim.
I picked my checkout line with care. I didn’t want to get behind the family with four kids and four times the amount of items I had in my own cart. I didn’t want to get in the line where the checker had no ‘box’ person to reload the cart with my purchases.
Assessing the checkers, I wanted one who seemed to be moving efficiently with not a lot of chatter. I found my line and started unloading the cart.
When the clerk reached out for my card, I also proudly handed him the three coupons for my fabric softener sheets, mouthwash, and Kleenex tissues. With his little barcode gun, he immediately went to work on the heavy items I’d left in the basket. This is where everything started to fall apart.
The checker moved like a whirling dervish. There were only five heavy items in my cart, but he must have scanned each item three times. He came back to the register and advanced the tape several times, counting items. He was in such a frenzy, he couldn’t figure out which of the five items wasn’t scanning. Eventually, he figured out it was the paper shredder…the reason it wasn’t scanning was because there was a ten dollar manufacturer discount that needed to be taken at the register. I don’t normally go over my receipts before I leave a store, but I made a mental note to do so this time.
Once he got the heavy items out of the way, he scanned the barcodes on my smaller items like a mad man. My order was done quite quickly. He finished with a flourish and announced my total. I asked him if he’d applied my coupons to the total. He quicuckly glanced at the register receipt and said yes. Then he scooped up my coupons, crumpled them up and put them under the counter.
I was suspicious. I hadn’t seen him scan my coupons. So, when I got my receipt I moved out of the flow of basket traffic and reviewed my purchases. I immediately realized he had NOT applied my coupons to my order. I wondered why someone would be so blatantly stupid to lie to me in that manner. I was transported back to my cop days when I’d caught someone in the act of criminal activity and the stupid lies they’d spin to try to convince me of their innocence.
I slogged my cart over to the customer service desk and relayed my experiences. I told the representative I wasn’t upset the clerk had missed the coupons. I was upset he’d transparently lied about it. I also relayed the fact I thought the checker was working very hard but maybe too fast. Eventually, I got my $8.00 in coupon savings applied back to my credit card and I left the store placated.
But it got me to thinking about my own habits. With my penchant for over-committing, I too am often moving faster than I’d like. It makes me worry about things I might have missed in haste.
Not wanting to dwell on my own possible shortcomings too much, I got to thinking about other writers. I wondered about writers who announce they’ve just finished their debut novel and are going to start the sequel – but that’s after they finish the novella they’ve had in the back of their mind. After they finish the sequel to their novel, they’ll try their hand at branching out to another genre, and then do a novella in that style as well. Oh, and they hope to get all these books and novellas written before summer ‘beach-read’ buying season.
Can a writer do so much writing a matter of months? Sure. Will it be good writing? I’m not sure.
I know I can’t turn out multiple quality stories in that amount of time. I suspect there are few writers who can. Do I think there are authors out there who are shooting themselves in the foot with their whirling dervish writing style? I’ll just say such writers may be hurting themselves by working hard…but maybe too fast.
Regardless of a writer’s speed in turning out the next book or novella, is there a customer service desk where readers can go when they feel they didn’t get what they were entitled to? Yep, it’s called one and two star book reviews. Oh, and don’t forget the ‘coupons’ also known as returns.
Until next time,