I Can Help the Next Person Here

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Vol 30 Issue 01

Band's Van Breaks Down

CHAPEL HILL, NC—Promising local band Spacegoat suffered a major setback on its path to fame yesterday, when its 1982 Dodge van broke down en route to a show in Durham.

African Nation Not War-Torn

PORTO-NOVO, BENIN—According to inside sources in the capital city of Porto-Novo, the nation of Benin is not currently torn by war. In addition to lacking massive civil strife and severe political turmoil, the sources say, the small West African nation is also not under threat of violent military coup by leftist guerrillas. "Benin is a peaceful country," said New York Times West African correspondent Richard Coombes. "Its people are not being killed in large numbers and buried in mass graves. Further, Benin's many cities and villages are not being burned to the ground by roving bands of power-hungry, machine gun-wielding warlords." Benin's Department of Tourism is capitalizing on the nation's lack of combat, next week launching a $30 million "Benin—You Will Not Be Killed Here!" promotional campaign.

Lester Jackson Gets His Sorry Ass Home

ST. LOUIS—At the strong urging of his wife Rhonda, Lester Jackson got his sorry ass home last night, narrowly avoiding an explosive domestic confrontation. "He better get his sorry ass home real soon," Rhonda Jackson told reporters around 11:45 p.m. yesterday, more than two hours after her husband was supposed to return from his weekly poker game. "Cause if he don't, he ain't gonna like what he find when he do." Several minutes after Rhonda Jackson made her statement, Lester Jackson dragged his sorry ass through the front door, trying to pass off another one of his sorry-ass excuses and wearing that sorry-ass hangdog look on his face he always wears when he knows he's going to get it real good.

Dream Team Wins Small Soft Drink

ATLANTA—The U.S. men's basketball "Dream Team" took home a small soft drink from McDonald's yesterday, making its players big winners and quenching their Olympic-sized thirsts. "We win when the USA wins," said power forward Karl Malone, taking a sip from the Dream Team's 12-ounce Coke. "This refreshing beverage is ice-cold proof of that." The Dream Team won the food prize Sunday, when U.S. fencer Dana Owens took gold in the individual women's epee, defeating Qatar's Faizla Hourani 15-11, 15-9. Nine of the eleven Dream Teamers shared the drink, the exceptions being center Shaquille O'Neal, who is signed to a long-term exclusive contract with Pepsi, and reserve point guard John Stockton, who wanted a Mello-Yello.

Navy Admiral Thinks He's 'Mr. Important'

QUANTICO, VA—According to a recently published report, Navy Admiral John A. Weinhardt, 57, thinks he is "Mr. Important," or something. "Oooooooh... Aren't we Mr. Special? Aren't we just Mr. Look- At- All- My- Medals- I'm- So- Important- I'm- a- Mr.- Big-Shot- Important- Mr.- Navy- Man," read part of the 340-page classified government report, which concluded, "Like wow, I'm really powerful. Oooh, look at all these people saluting me... Like, I'm just so cool, you know?." Admiral Weinhardt has declined comment on the allegations.

The Not-So-Friendly Skies

Last month's mysterious crash of TWA Flight 800 near Long Island, which came on the heels of several other major air tragedies, has sparked a national debate about the safety and security of commercial airlines. What do you think?

Clinton Announces New 'No Walkman' Rule for Congress

WASHINGTON, DC—In a reversal of more than 15 years of Presidential Walkman policy, Bill Clinton announced Monday he is banning all personal portable stereo devices from meetings of the U.S. Congress, both House and Senate.
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Man Commits To New TV Show Just Hours After Getting Out Of 7-Season Series

UNION CITY, NJ—Recommending that he give himself the chance to pause and explore the other options out there, friends of local man Jonathan Gember expressed their concerns to reporters Wednesday that the 29-year-old is already committing to a new television show just hours after getting out of a seven-season-long series.

I Can Help the Next Person Here

There's no waiting at register three. Wheel your cart right over! I can help the next person. Any number of items!

Can I help anyone over here? My checkout lane light is blinking—and that means there's no line. I'd be happy to help you! I'm waiting to serve you! That's my goal—to make you, the customer happy.

As you see, I'm smiling, ready to help. If you'd only glance over here I'd nod and wave you toward me. Can I help someone? Over here! No waiting!

Please let me help you. What will I do if I can't? I can't read a magazine. I can't sit down. No stools are allowed behind the checkout counters. It's against store policy, because that might make it look like I'm not ready to help the next person.

So please, bring your items to register three. Any number of items here. Your personal check is welcome here with Chexpress, but please, for amount of purchase only. Enjoy the convenience of the ATM station right at the register. I can help the next person at register three!

Can I be of assistance, then? I can help the next person! I'll make sure to make you feel welcome at my register. It doesn't matter who you are—young, old, black, white, coupon-clipper, crazy old drunk guy, 12-year-old punk trying to buy cigarettes—I welcome you all to Sav-o-Mart. In the land of food value, there is no outcast.

I'll say hello to you, possibly comment on the weather, and thank you, respectfully calling you ma'am or sir. If you pay with a check, I'll even use your first name when you leave. You can use my first name. I'm always wearing my name tag, because I forfeit a half hour's pay if I forget it for a shift.

Maybe next time you come to the store you will come to register three again. We might develop a relationship where I will greet you and refer back to our conversation today: "How did that birthday party go?"; "Enjoying your vacation?"; "Did you decide to make the fruit salad?"; "Menthol 100s, right?"

Embarrassing items in your cart? I'll handle your purchase with discretion. Prophylactics? Gold Bond medicated powder for dry, flaky skin? Adult disposable undergarments? People magazine? I've rung up them all a hundred times, and though for you the act of purchase was preceded by a lengthy period of courage-gathering in the parking lot, I won't even raise an eyebrow.

Ma'am, register three is open!

Don't even hesitate. I'm ready to help you. We've got it all! In fact, if you've noticed my apron as well as the multiple brightly colored signs about the store boasting "We've Got It All," you already know that's our newest slogan and personal pledge to the customer!

I attended the mandatory employee meeting just this week, and I feel confident telling you that we do, indeed, have it all. I also feel ready to assist you in finding any portion of it all, which we've got, that you may need.

I'm just waiting to help you. I'll be here again tomorrow from 2 to 10 p.m., ready to rush to your aid, smiling and chipper, for the duration of my eight- hour shift. But what I'd really like to do is help you right now.

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