Top Web Comics restarts it’s voting every month, so we’re beginning again from zero today. But that means that we made it to number 59 last month with only TWO WEEKS of voting! I’d be willing to bet we could do even better this month, with YOUR help! When you vote for HOLE every day, you bring new readers to the comic, which will help me make a living! Thanks a million, guys!
I know I have told similar stories to this in the past, but it just keeps happening… and they are too funny not to share.
So Lena and I are at the mall… (I know, I know) blowing some time before the new Star Trek movie starts. We’re just wandering around seeing what’s there, when she decides to go into the AT&T store to see if they have any good iPhone cases, as the one she had never fit quite right. We go in and start looking around around and are quickly approached by a helpful young man we are going to call Landrew. Nice kid, good handshake.
Landrew guided Lena away from the case she had in her hands and towards a nicer hard-shell case with a sort of satin-like grippy feel too it that came in some intensely subtle shades Lena just loved. The price was $30, which fell neatly into that pocket of price comprised of “there is no way in hell I would ever buy this for myself…” and “Oh you want this, Baby? Okay… let me pay for that for you…”
As we walked over to the desk, (at an AT&T store, you can’t pay a nickel for a stick of gum without sitting down at the desk and making an interview out of it) Lena was joking about having been searching for an iPhone case she liked for six months and being unable to accomplish even this one simple task. Landrew made the observation that the smartest people had the most problems with the simplest things.
Me: The stupidest people have that same problem.
Me: I was just agreeing with you.
Landrew: Oh. Right! Like geniuses can’t tie their shoes and stuff.
Me: Yeah. Geniuses with brain damage.
Landrew: Hunh? No… I meant…
Lena: Relax, he’s just playing with you. You’ve already made the sale.
Landrew: I’m not a salesman. I’m a helper.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but either Landrew had a severe short-term memory problem, or he thought that we did, because he repeated the phrase, “I’m not a salesman. I’m a helper.” at least eight more times during the course of our four-minute conversation with him. I couldn’t keep myself from associating him with Santa’s elves, but he seemed proud of it… so good for him I guess.
I wanted to pay with a credit card which was all okay, until he asked for my drivers license. He picked it up and told me he was about to make a photocopy of it for their records, because I had asked to pay by credit card. I put the breaks on and told him no way.
Now many people have the mistaken impression that it’s illegal to make a photocopy of a drivers license. It’s not. (Unless you live in Virginia and a handful of other hyper-vigilant states.) It’s illegal to use one for identification, and it’s illegal for a company with a copy of your drivers license to use any of the information on that copy. Mostly however it is a security risk worth being aware of to hand your drivers license number, home address, date of birth, and name over on one sheet of paper that can be accessed by anyone who works or will ever work at any given location. I can be accused of being paranoid here, and if so, I am perfectly happy to live with that appellation. But I don’t know Landrew, I don’t know the other salesmen… helpers… working at that store, and I certainly won’t be responsible for the trustworthiness of anyone they might hire in the future.
As politely as I could, after all it was AT&T and not Landrew who created this policy, I informed him that making the copy was not cool with me, and I asked where the nearest ATM was. He told me that if it would make me feel better he would draw through my license number with a marker. I pointed to the “copier” and told him that the scanner connected to his computer made an electronic copy on his hard drive that I was not prepared to be responsible for and where was the nearest ATM? He replied that he didn’t know about any electronic copies, and the computer must automatically delete everything, after all he was not a salesman but a helper. Reading my expression, Lena provided that the nearest ATM was probably the one behind the food court. I left for cash.
This next bit was provided to me by Lena after we finally left the store with her new iPhone case. After I walked off in search of the ATM, Landrew sat quietly watching me go. Finally he turned to Lena and asked in a quiet voice, “Is he some kind of viking or something?”
Lena looked at him a beat, and then replied in measured tones, “No, he’s a webcomic artist.”
“Aah… right.” Landrew said in response. As if, lacking actual vikinghood, webcomic artist explained everything. I think this exchange was really weird, and I have nothing really to offer by way of elucidation as to it’s nature. No one has ever asked if I was a viking before, I kinda thought they were all pretty much… dead. I don’t look like a viking, and as far as I know, I don’t act or talk like one either.
The ATM was out, so I had to go through another round of “I’m not going to steal your information… I’m a helper!” before I could find the location of the next nearest ATM. I did though, and got my cash and made my transaction. As I put my card away I started laughing, and Lena asked me what was funny. I opened my wallet to her, and showed her the fifty dollars that I had had in there the entire time.
Chuckling, I shook Landrew’s hand once more, and Lena and I went to the movies.
(On a sort of related note, Lena and I went last night to see Disney’s Up. Now everyone seems to really love this flick… except for the two of us. It was sad and funny, but for us the misery outweighed the happy, and when we left the misery was all we could remember. Both of us ended up wishing we had not seen that movie. I think most of the sad would fly right over the heads of children, or single folks, or people who hate their spouses and can’t wait for them to die… but for us it was not an uplifting film.
I just kinda wish someone had warned me. We could have watched something else and left happy.)