My eyes dart around the front of the store when I first enter, bells tinkling to announce my arrival.
If there is a cluster of school girls, or worse, a cadre of 70-something women wearing plaid coats that smell like moth balls, I distract the group (for instance, by exclaiming “Oh my gosh, look at that horrible fistfight going on two doors down”).
That usually gets rid of my competition for the 10-12 seconds I need to get in front of the line.
I pick which black-and-white-striped clerk wants to help me. No, not the officious, tight-bunned, narrow-lipped woman whose nametag says “Brenda.” She’s stingy.
I smile at Ralph, roly-poly and sweet. He recognizes me and acknowledges, “Just dark, right?”
I wink back and he whips out a dark chocolate buttercream sample. Then, if Brenda is looking the other way, he pops out a free dark chocolate caramel too.
“Thanks,” I say gratefully. “Now I just need a small bag and please add…”(and I’m embarrassed to admit how quickly and succinctly I point through the glass display)… “two nougats, one marshmallow, one almond, two dark chocolate cherries, and then, of course…”
“The Marzipan!” Ralph crows.
“Three!” I blurt out.
He triumphantly plops them into the bag, weighs them, and I hand over my cash. We silently high five each other as the Girl Scouts shuffle back into the store, unhappy that they had no luck witnessing a fight.
“Sweeten up,” I mumble to them as I back out of the store stuffing the anonymously white bag into my purse.