magnet1Don’t you just hate it when store clerks ask stupid questions? Unless you’re trying to buy items like a rope and a book on how to hang yourself, cashiers shouldn’t need to know why you want to buy the merchandise you’ve placed in your shopping basket.

In 1976, , I found a selection of magnets at a hardware store. I selected as many as I could afford and placed them on the cashier’s counter.

“Why on earth do you want to buy these?” he asked, as if a nineteen-year-old man had no business buying such things.

I searched my mind for an answer he’d accept and finally explained, “I like magnets. They’re cool. These ones are real strong too.”

“These aren’t toys, you know,” he lectured. These are for industrial use. Why don’t you run along and buy something more sensible?”

After insisting that I wanted the magnets and showing him that I had the money to buy them, he reluctantly rang up the sale. I seethed inside as I shuffled out of the door. Being treated like a nuisance had always made me angry and this incident made me feel doubly so. It wasn’t any of his business what i wanted those magnets for. I wasn’t going to build a bomb or something similarly dangerous.

If I could find that clerk today, I’d tell him a thing or three about how those magnets, which I still have, help me. One is now part of my security system. It holds the door-opening detector in place. The six rectangular magnets are useful for holding notes to the fridge door. Ordinary fridge magnets are too weak to hold more than one slip of paper each. I haven’t found a use for the two cylindrical magnets but I might find it someday. The magnets that the clerk thought would be a waste of money for me have served me well during these forty-one years and will continue to do so for as long as I have them.

I wrote about similar situations of being misjudged in How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Amazon and Barnes & Noble distribute the e-book version while Virtual Bookworm stocks the paperbacks. I also have two previous books. Check them out at the Bruce Atchison’s books link.


Author: bruce Atchison - author

I'm a legally-blind freelance writer as well as the author of three memoirs and scores of articles. Contact me for details.

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