Sunday, June 15, 2008

I am not MArk Hausmann

At Safeway, they issue these little discount cards to customers. You save a few cents here and there.

My card has long since gone the way of my library card, gym membership card and social security card, folded into some eldritch aperture of space/time. Or my sock drawer.

Anyway, I don't NEED my card, because I can punch in my phone number, the same phone number I've had for ten years.

Here's the problem: I have Mark Hausmann's phone number, or he has mine. And so I face a cheery, "Have a nice day, Mr. Hausmann" every time I use cash to buy something at Safeway.

If I use my cash card, my name shows up in larger letters at the bottom of the receipt in purple dot matrix glory, so I get a cheery "Have a nice day, Mr. Miles!" (Miles, Mills. Close enough.)

The thing about Safeway is that there are lots of folks working there who have a hard time with Germanic names, specifically the "au" dipthong. So, I find myself correcting the pronunciation of another man's name. (I feel an profound connection with Hausmann because of this. I am joined in his battle, and I feel I know him through carrying his burden.)

The couple of times I've brought this up to the clerk, I've been met with the sort of calm, scan of my eyes that tells me "You're kidding me, right? Do you know if I leave my station I am breaking several Union rules and the paperwork involved...I'm not even sure that paperwork exists. This is some marketing voodoo from corporate, and down here, where we sell groceries and sundries, that sort of backend database wizardry is just so out of my ken and job description that I can only stare at you like this, like I know that you know that I know you should know better, Mr. Hausmann."

So, at Safeway, I'm Mr. Hausmann. Unless I use my cash card. Then I'm Mr. Miles.

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8 Comments:

Anonymous kelly niland said...

I get the same thing at Safeway! Which is kinda weird considering I've had my phone number for FIFTEEN years. For real!

10:15 AM  
Blogger Greg Mills said...

Are you called "Mark Hausmann"?

10:24 AM  
Blogger slickdpdx said...

I just punched in my phone number one day when I forgot the card and discovered that "Mr. Rock" had registered the number before I got it. Now I'm always Mr. Rock. Even when I pay with the debit card, different last name, it doesn't raise an eyebrow. I hope Mr. Rock is getting my gas discounts!

Mr. Rock is great. A lot different from my real ho-hum name.

6:39 PM  
Anonymous stephen Bramfitt said...

Kelly and I are both Mr. Frank Mah. Never once have I had a clerk question my lack of Mahness. In some ways, it's better than having them attempt to pronounce my real last name when I use a credit card - they usually just go with the first syllable and then allow their voice to drift away...

2:29 PM  
Blogger Greg Mills said...

I will always call you my Yo-yo.

2:33 PM  
Anonymous Travel Betty said...

I am Domatilla Mendez.

9:45 PM  
Blogger larajanepark said...

I just use the phone number I've used for the past 17 years, even though it belongs to the ex and his girlfriend now. I always secretly (and in my small minded, evil way) hope they call her Mrs. since she so IS NOT the Mrs. (Insert comment about free milk from fat cows here if you like). It's my tiny Safeway revenge...

2:12 PM  
Blogger Greg Mills said...

" (Insert comment about free milk from fat cows here if you like)" That my dear, was the best.

2:22 PM  

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