Alice Column

Hey, Retailers, Here's a Question: Why So Many Freakin' Questions?

Welcome to Alice Column, in which Alice Laussade writes stories about things on (roughly) the same day of (roughly) every week, making it (roughly) a column. Got an idea for a column? Start your own blog and write it up, you lazy shit.

Dearest Every Current Retailer,

You always have long lines at the register. At first, this confuses me, because there are so many cashiers available and the customers have very few items to purchase. But soon it becomes very clear: I'm living the scene from Love Actually in which Mr. Bean takes forever gift-wrapping the whore gloves for the planning-on-cheating husband guy.

Only instead of gift-wrapping, it's a never-ending list of background questions. People aren't just purchasing items at your store, they're also being asked at least 20 personal questions before you'll give them their receipts.

  • Are you a member of our rewards program?
  • Are you using your credit card with the rewards benefits today?
  • What is your email address? Your real one, not the one you surf porn with.
  • What's your favorite ZIP code?
  • Can I have your phone number even though I didn't buy you a booze?
  • What is your mother's maiden name?
  • How long has it been since your last period?
  • How much do you weigh at night?
  • What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?
  • Who is your health insurance provider and do you like them?
  • What's your favorite Crayola crayon color? (Don't say macaroni and cheese.)
  • Stones or Beatles?
  • What is the current time in Moscow?
  • How come we haven't seen you in church lately?
  • Do you wash your hands thoroughly after you pee, or just kinda?
  • How was that hamburger you had at lunch? Because it looked goooood.
  • Does this register make me look fat?
  • Seriously, does it, though?
  • What is the 13th letter of the Greek alphabet?
  • Are you wearing that outfit seriously, or ironically? Or seriously ironically?

More questions are asked of someone trying to purchase a bra at Victoria's Secret than are asked of a person trying to purchase a gun. (Why would anyone try to buy a gun at Victoria's Secret? Because: Texas.) Maybe that's valid. Maybe the boob power bestowed upon a Victoria's Secret bra-wearer is far greater than the power of a gun-holder. I'm not sure.

I do know you're pretending you're tracking some sort of purchase information, and it does give me great pleasure to tell you that my phone number is 1-800-SHARTPARTY, my email address is [email protected] and that yes, I am a member of your rewards program if by "rewards program" you mean "I peed in that fake plant in the corner, so it's mine now." But I also know that there's no fucking reason the lady at CVS needs my digits. Just hand over the dang Skittles.

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Alice Laussade writes about food, kids, music, and anything else she finds to be completely ridiculous. She created and hosts the Dallas event, Meat Fight, which is a barbecue competition and fundraiser that benefits the National MS Society. Last year, the event raised $100,000 for people living with MS, and 750 people could be seen shoving sausage links into their faces. And one time, she won a James Beard Award for Humor in Writing. That was pretty cool.
Contact: Alice Laussade