Targeting Kindness

That day I’d had enough. I needed a web camera and the one I had wasn’t cutting it. I happen to mention this to my wife, and she says “Oh, I have one, lets go get it from the garage.”

It didn’t work. Wrong plug.


I’ll just buy a new one. I’d been shopping a little bit. It was the pandemic after all, and so many people had posted their opinion about the “best webcam” I was well informed. The one I wanted to buy online also happens to be at a local Target. I’ll stop in an get it while I’m out grocery shopping.

Now the day before I went to Costco and cashed in the big annual rebate. I was walking pretty tall because of it. Big man over here, FLUSH with $300 smackers. The hole burning in my pocket was getting hotter so off to Target to nab the best web cam that won’t show my unshaven neck to my workmates.

I go into Target

If you don’t know me, I’m not exactly a sartorial paragon. My jeans are saggy, but not in the cool intentional way, in the chubby old man who doesn’t think about it way. Plus its winter and cold outside so I’m wearing my heavy coat. But I’m a total miser at home, so I have a sweater on underneath. I’m comfy and bundled up is what I’m saying. Picture Ralphie’s little brother from A Christmas Story but driving a car and wearing a mask.

I find the camera in the back of the store. Its busy in the Target despite being pandemic times. It was a year into the pandemic so I guess people were just used it and happy enough to have full shelves of toilet paper.


I’ll get the wife one as well. She could use it too since she is working at home. Plus, I’m feeling pretty heavy with all these $20s and $50s in my wallet. Time to show the little lady she married the guy.

Lets Get out of here

I head to the checkout counter. I see some holiday Jelly Beans on the impulse shelf, and when it comes to candy I’m nothing if not impulsive.I grab a bag of those because I’M WORTH IT. (You are too reader.)

So here I am at the checkout. I have TWO (2) identical cameras and bag a candy. The checkout person’s name tag read Khalid and he asks “how are you doing today?”

But we both have masks on, and I’m deaf anyways in crowded areas. I can’t really hear him.

We stumble back and forth with a conversation of barely heard platitudes: “what? oh? Wait, what?”

K looks at my two cameras. And again asks how my day is going. “Pretty good after I saw those jelly beans” I say! I’m trying to be jovial in a busy store. I’m sure working in a checkout is a hard task, and nobody needs a grumpy customer. Dad-humor will always cut the cheese tension and make people feel at ease. Or at least recognize I’m no threat to their happiness. Or at least pity me.

Also, I’m sweating. A heavy coat, warm store, human interaction. Its all quite a bit for me. My glasses are fogging up. Anti-maskers were absolute childish twats, but they did have a point about foggy glasses being a bummer.

My new friend K says “its gonna be $162”….


I get out my wallet, and I start bumbling around, counting out the money. Since I’m a modern man™ I usually pay with plastic. I’m not the type of carry around a lot of cash in my wallet. I’m flipping bills. My glasses are foggy. I’m in a hurry because there is a line of people behind me. And I’m a cheapskate at heart so $162 bucks is a lot of money. It honestly took me a lot longer than it should have.

K is watching me carefully.

I hand over the money. K counts it. Then counts again. Then VERY S-L-O-W-L-Y shows me he is counting it. And then VERY S-L-O-W-L-Y (and kinda loudly) invites me to see the price on the register.

I have overpaid by $50.

He very kindly and gently give me back the extra money and says “we sure don’t want to overcharge you!” And “we have to be really careful, OKAY!?”

Finaly K and I are on the same page

And THAT is when it hit me. K wasn’t sure at first, but he suspected. I bet even in a short period of time, a cashier sees a lot of variety of the human species.

But when I handed him a fist full of cash, far too much cash, he is sure.

I’m touched. Special. Handy.

I’m out on my own, wasting money on TWO identical cameras and bag of jelly beans. I can’t count, I’m sensory overloaded1, and I need to be protected. Probably from myself from the looks of things.

This hero all but walks me to the door. I bet he was seeing if somebody responsible for me was gonna pick me up. He was gonna make sure I was safe so I could enjoy my jelly beans2.

I love you Khalid. Thanks for being so darn nice.

1 Actually, in retrospect, I might have been sensory overloaded.

2 The jelly beans were so-so. At best.

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