“You Need to be a Member”

Nowadays in order to get the regular price of a certain item one needs to be a, “Rewards Member.”  I am old enough to recall when everybody would get the regular price, but if you were a, “VIP” you had earned a lower price than everybody else was getting.  

I won’t mention any names, but I was in a drugstore and took the few items in my hand-held basket up to the counter.  The cashier began ringing me up.  I noticed the prices entered for an item were not the same as what was marked.

Then I was asked, “Are you a rewards member?”

“I don’t know,” was my reply, and as there was nobody waiting behind me I asked, “Why were the rung-up prices more than the prices marked on the item?”

“That’s why I asked if you were a “Rewards” member.  The prices marked on the item are for “Rewards” members only.”

I was really surprised and told him that I didn’t have a card and went on saying, “Huh, if I had to carry around a card for each rewards account I wouldn’t be able to fit them in my wallet.  Guess I need to get a purse.”

“Or you can just give me your phone number and I can look it up; it only takes a second.”

So I gave him the number, hoping it was not my home number that was on file because I couldn’t remember that one, I had gotten rid of my home phone and relied solely on my mobile and no other phone!”

“Okay,” the cashier said, “You saved $1.58 today, the total is $15.04.”

“It seems like I should’ve saved more than that,” I said.  “How much was it again?”

“You’re probably forgetting the tax.  The tax is a little higher in this city.”  

That was something else I was unaware of.  So a person will be paying more if the cashier isn’t notified that you are  a “Reward’s Member,” I will have to remember that.   And then the city where I will be moving from in the not too distant future adds a tax over and above the federal, state and city taxes…I guess this is a suburb tax, ughhh, arrrgh!

We left there and went to buy my daughter a pair of shoes…again there was no service.  I was a shoe salesman in my younger days and remember how every customer would be sized whether they thought they knew their size or not.  We were towards the back of the store and I had to walk to the front desk to to mention that I’d like to get my daughter’s feet measured.

“Oh you can do that, the sizer’s are back by where you were.”  

Just teasing, I said that I didn’t know how to do that.  Instead of the sales lady just measuring my daughter’s foot she and the person she was training and who was following her like an obedient puppy said, “Oh, I can show you.”

“It’s hard for me to bend down so low, can’t you do it?”  I actually had to ask for something that should’ve been provided without a blink.

The lady did it, but turned the measuring into a lesson because she said, “Some people are like, “him,”  she nodded in my direction, “And you will need to do it for some people – not many, but some.”  The lady rudely and quickly gave him a five second lesson.

We picked out a pair of shoes for my daughter and were at the register, when the sales-lady asked, “Are you a Reward’s member?”

I replied, “No.”

“Do you wanna’ be? You can save $10 off the price so you might as well.”

“Okay,” I said.

So the new way to get a regular price for something is to join whatever club is offered at that particular store.  Because if you fail to be a member, you are going to pay more than the asking price which is usually already marked up anyway. 

“Okay,” she said, “This is your price…you saved $10 and you have 84 points.”

I had to ask, “What are the points for?”

“Well, the next time you buy some shoes you get will get $1 off if you have 1000 points.”

“Okay, so I exaggerated, but you get the idea….. 




Steve Richie

Hi folks, Two lives in one lifetime. The first me, lived to age thirty-four. That Steve was overly confident and oozing with pride. Then, on a record heat-setting day (107º) here in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota and western Wisconsin, a one car near-fatal wreck left me in a two-month long coma. I emerged much as I was before minus certain physical capabilities, but my mind seemed mostly in tact. The crash and its effects did not change me (I emerged a happy individual) but the deeds perpetrated against me in the ensuing months from my wife of sixteen years scared and humbled me as I was dragged down with nothing left by my wife who now had guardianship over all of our accounts. And neither would she allow me to see our kids. She took everything out of, "Our" names and changed them to her name only; then would not allow me to our home and divorced me. I was angry, but no more. I spent half of 1988 and more than half of 1989 in hospitals, nursing homes and a three month stint at a head-injury rehab center where I was being taught how to re-enter society as this different person, that I didn't know. I was not able to return to my previous line of work, a self-employed decorator, you know, painting and paperhanging. It was a physical job which required much dexterity, finesse, and a good grasp of numbers. I returned to the beginning, school, but on a community college level. One of the instructor's liked my writing and I began focusing my attention on that. I attended classes at, "The Loft," A Place for Writers in Minneapolis. While there, a classmate of mine was having her friend from New York, a CBS executive, to her home for the holidays and asked me if she could do a critique on a couple chapters of a book I was writing, "A Day I'll Never Remember" and I obliged. When she returned to class the following Monday she told me that the exec wanted a ten-page synopsis of the book for a possible movie; I was excited. After obliging for that also, I never saw or heard from her or the guy from CBS. Next thing I knew I was watching a movie called, "Regarding Henry" starring Harrison Ford and the scenes of therapy were exactly like what I went through and had written about. Regarding Henry - could've been my story except that, "Henry" got his head injury from a gunshot and his wife stayed with him throughout the ordeal. Coincidence I'm sure, though, the therapy scenes entailed what I described in the book so I always wondered..... My hope, my dream is to bolster our income for my daughter and for myself. I am and have been raising this beautiful, talented little girl who was diagnosed with autism at age two, since 2006 singlehandedly. I divorced her mother the same year following complaints that I spent too much time with our daughter. However, Stephanie began school with no need for special education. She has been reading since age four and understanding what she'd read. Stephanie maintains straight "A's" on her report card, has published two books (through school) and has been selected as an, "Honors" student for seventh grade English. My ex moved to New York to be closer to her sister and has been remarried now for a number of years. Well, that's only a snippet of my sixty-one years and I would like to thank you for reading, thank you.

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