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Just pick a card, any card

Opinion column

T. Gamble
Feature Columnist

T. Gamble Feature Columnist

I am currently overwhelmed by the need of every business in America to learn every detail about my existence.

When I buy something from a store I generally want the cashier to say one thing ... thank you. Of course, I usually hear instead “no problem,” which makes me think, was there a problem back there somewhere? I didn’t even know a problem existed, but apparently one did because the guy just said no problem.

There is also the grunt, the nod of the head, and the outright ignore the whole thing and say nothing.

I can live with any of the above responses, but I can no longer live with the five-minute interrogation required to check out at most retail establishments. Example, I go to Toys R Us, which seems to occur quite frequently these days because I have an 8-year-old and a 9-year-old and every friend they know has six birthdays a year. I could send my kids to college in a few years except for the fact I spend $8,000 a year on gifts for every kid from here to Waycross.

But it is done with a giving heart and the knowledge that I can borrow my way for the kids’ education, die broke, but with satisfaction that they both will have Harvard degrees and still live at home.

Enough about that. I bring my Mutant Zombie Kill Every Living Thing on Earth toy selection to the Toys R Us cashier. She rings it up for $49.95 and nods approval that it is a perfect gift for a 5-year-old girl. “Sir, could you give me your ZIP code please?”

Say what? Are they going to mail me a letter? Probably about the problem that they say doesn’t exist. Who mails letters anyway?

“Could I have your telephone number?”

“Wait a minute! I’m a married man,” I reply. “Don’t try to get forward with me young lady.” It’s even a better response if the cashier is a male. Either way it usually ensures a conversation with the security guard, so it is probably not worth it.

“Sir, would you like to call this 800 number right here on your receipt? If you answer this survey you could win $100.”

Look, I’m in a d#&% Toys R Us, not Harrahs Casino in Vegas. If I feel lucky I’ll go to the convenience store, buy a lottery ticket and I won’t have to answer a survey.

“Well, sir, do you have a Toys R Us club Card? You’ll save money on each purchase. Here is a card for your wallet and one to put on your key ring.”

May God please save me. I now have a key ring that looks like I’m the superintendent for a 500-room apartment complex. I’ve got a health food clip on card, even though I don’t eat health food. I’ve got a Harvey’s one, a Publix, a Sam’s, and 62 other ones. I’m a walking bar code.I don’t want to be scanned every time I buy a loaf of bread and milk.

I’ve given up. From now on, when I hear, ”Sir, don’t you want to save 10 percent on all your purchases by getting a We’ve Got everything on Earth card? I can put it right on your key ring,” I reply, “No, absolutely not. I prefer to pay full retail for everything I buy. I won’t even go to a store if it is having a sale. I don’t negotiate when buying a new car. I just rip off the invoice on the window, add tax and pay it. Charge me what you will, but please promise I will not have to clip on another discount store card.”

“No Problem sir, would you like to sign up for our company credit card? Can you give me your Social Security number, mother’s maiden name, and your high school English grades?”

Contact columnist T. Gamble at t@colliergamble.com.