Convenience stores provide the most interesting of transactions. It could be the proximity to the buyer that makes this so; you aren’t really in a queue like at a grocery store or waiting at felt ropes like in a bank. It could also be the availability of such a diverse range of products; coffee and soda, gas and lottery tickets. I usually pay very little attention to what my fellow consumers are buying but I find myself drawn into the microcosm of the exchanges that happen at convenience stores…and I am not sure why.
Here are a few character studies I have observed recently:
1. The person who pays with a debit/credit card for purchases under three dollars. Those commercials are lies that try to show how cash holds up a line. No way. Paying with plastic holds up a line. I can’t imagine not having a few dollars.
2. The person who pays with cash who insists on putting away their bills in sequential order by year, mint and Treasury Secretary, and their coins like they are loading a six-shooter. Can you step to the side?
3. The person who pays cash for their fuel. Maybe not such a big deal in the larger sense; but with the convenience of pay at the pump…come on. I wonder if these are the same people who pay for their Juicy Fruit with plastic.
4. The Lottery grazer. The convenience store I go to has all those scratch off tickets at the main counter, so we can’t separate this person. They gaze at all those ways to give the state money like six year old trying to decide on a stuffed animal at a carnival.
5. The varied purchaser. This is the person who, at six in the morning is buying a 64oz Diet Coke, three packs of Marlboro Reds, a protein bar, a loaf of white bread and a can of cat food. Every time I see this person, I wish I had a contract for a reality show pilot. Nonetheless, they leave looking as satisfied as I do when walking out of Brittner’s Smokehouse with two giant Delmonico steaks for the grill.
What does this all mean? Well, I guess, upon reflection, I am the guy who stares at people at cash registers.