I approached the checkout line at Target with caution. As a painfully neurotic and self-conscious person, I can get pretty freaked out about my shopping choices.
â€¨â€œSir? I can help you over here,â€ a pleasant voice said, coming from the express line.
Damn it, stuck with the young, cute cashier again. Always the least attentive and most judgmental cashier available âˆ’ too attractive to have a filter and too curious to leave me alone. The worst combination possible.
I tiptoed over slowly, put my hands in my pockets and said, â€œUhhâ€¦yeah, Iâ€™ll just take everything in the basket. If you could just look to the left and blindly scan as quickly as possible, thatâ€™d be awesome.â€
She laughed, â€œSir, we canâ€™t do that.â€
As I was busy shifting my eyes side to side and fidgeting, she said, â€œHey, whatâ€™s this?â€
â€œITâ€™S FOR MY GIRLFRIEND!â€ I exclaimed, not knowing what she picked up.
â€œOh, Iâ€™m sorry. I guess itâ€™s a little personal,â€ she remarked, picking up a bottle of KY warming jelly.
Thank God. I wiped my forehead and casually quipped, â€œOh, that? Itâ€™s just lube. Iâ€™m really sorry, I get a little defensive this time of year.â€
She raised her eyebrows and went back to the basket to pick up a few more items. â€œThree bottles?â€
I squinted my eyes and nodded, â€œYeah. In addition to a little defensive, I get a lot of other emotions as well.â€
Then her hand went for the last item in the basket. My heart raced. Holy shit, she was really going to see it. I braced myself as she looked at it.
Her eyes lit up. â€œWow, this is cute! What is it?â€
I slowly shook my head and pretended to look puzzled, saying, â€œWow. Thatâ€™sâ€¦thatâ€™s crazy, how did that get in there? Oh wait, I think I got that for myâ€¦myâ€¦valentine?â€
â€œIs your valentine a ten year old girl?â€ she asked.
I sighed. The jig was up. I explained, â€œLook, itâ€™s a collection of Hello Kitty PEZ dispensers, okay? Not only does it have three Hello Kitty designs, it also has a bunny thing confusingly named My Melody. Her ears kind of look like one of those giant foam fingers that you get at baseball games and Phoenix Wright conventions, so I thought it was pretty cool. I was just buying the other stuff so that maybe you wouldnâ€™t notice the box.â€
â€œAwwâ€¦you didnâ€™t have to do that. You shouldnâ€™t be embarrassed to like a kidâ€™s candy,â€ she replied.
I felt the need to further incriminate myself by saying, â€œWell, thatâ€™s the thing. I donâ€™t really like PEZ. Itâ€™s basically colored sugar in brick form and the bonus candy bracelet is just about the most unsanitary method of eating I can think of. The box is really cool, though. I bet itâ€™ll sell for a lot on eBay.â€
She was beginning to look tired of feigning interest, saying, â€œYeahâ€¦I mean, yeah, I guess it is. Well, I hope you enjoy your Valentineâ€™s Day.â€
I got over the embarrassment of my purchase and found the courage to ask, â€œHeyâ€¦if youâ€™re not doing anything that day, maybe I pick you up at around 7:30?â€
She stared at me blankly for few moments and began to crack a smile. The smile turned into giggle which turned into a cacophony of laughter. She shook her head and tore out the receipt, saying, â€œYouâ€™re hilarious, have a nice day!â€
I took my bag and made a beeline for the exit. I whispered under my breath, â€œGodâ€¦this is just as humiliating as Christmas shopping at the 99 Cent Store, just with higher prices and fewer rapists.â€
Despite my troubles, I left Target with my head held up high. I didnâ€™t have my manhood, dignity, or a Valentineâ€™s Day date, but I had something that money canâ€™t buy. The pride of having a lunchbox full of glass Hello Kitty PEZ dispensers, and really, thatâ€™s at least one more thing than I had last Valentine’s Day.
Item: Sanrio Hello Kitty PEZ Dispensers
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Fun design and shapes that kids and nerds can appreciate. Comes in an adorable tin box. Well made glass material. Might be worth something to a socially awkward collector on eBay.
Cons: PEZ is pretty plain and doesnâ€™t taste very interesting. PEZ candy can probably destroy your fillings. Attractive cashiers who question the things that you buy.