Regret with cause

You usually don’t have regret without some cause, but I thought it sounded good… so there you have it.

Earlier in the week my wife said she needed to get a gift for a shower she was attending. I told her I would get it for her… because that’s just the kind of guy I am. Armed with a name and coordinates of ground zero for the registry, I made my way to everyone’s favorite Minnesota-based retailer. Thirty minutes later I was standing in line to purchase a gift. I placed the gift on the consumer goods treadmill, with the registry printout placed conspicuously ON TOP of the gift. When my turn came, the cashier picked up the printout, handed it to me, scanned the gift, and asked for my money (with a lisp, speaking around a conspicuous decorative ornament piercing his tongue) – which I gave him. Without the heretofore expected (and assumed obligatory) “have a nice day,” the appointed face of corporate good will turned to address the spending needs of the next customer.

“Ah, wait a second,” I interrupted, “Don’t you need to do something with the registry?”

“If you had told me about it before I would have, but now it’ss too late.” (Note the lisp.)

“I’m sorry. You’re right; I probably should have said something, but I thought you might have noticed the registry when you picked it up to hand it back to me. Are you sure it’s too late?”

“…” (Astute readers recognize this as the sound of the blank stare of condescension.)

I almost used a variation of a tactic I’ve learned is extremely effective with my school age daughter… “If I went and spoke to your supervisor, do you think he would say the same thing?” Alas, I proved to be just as lazy as Mr. Tongue; I left without further comment or effort. In my defense, I was really tired – but this entry isn’t about excuses, it’s about accepting blame. There’s a poor gift recipient out there with a duplicate gift that needs returning, and I must face the fact that I am partly to blame.

Still, I wouldn’t have minded taking a tug on that kid’s tongue ring, saying “Do you want to sound like you’ve lost motor control over your tongue? Throw in a Philly accent and you could be in the next Rocky movie.” (Provided I had a pair of surgical gloves with me).

Give the gift of words.