Today I decided I am officially a bitch.


I went to Staples this afternoon, to get an inkjet cartridge (colour black) for a new printer which was boxed without one. It came with a colour cartridge, but not black, which, when you think about it, is just plain stupid, but of course, is also probably brilliant marketing. And since I’m a writer, and suck at marketing, they will not starve, while I will. 

Anyway, I went to Staples, and almost immediately saw the wall full of inkjet cartridges. And I do mean “wall full.” I’ve never owned a printer (which my sweetie thinks is appalling, but she’s a graphic artist, so I’m not offended), and I can’t clearly recall the last time I ever had to buy an ink cartridge, but the sight of an entire wall filled with choices was almost awe-inspiring, but was really more annoying. And if you knew me, you’d know right off that when something is annoying, that’s a bad start.

I walked up to the wall of cartridges, and my eyes quickly scanned it, until I found the Lexmark section. I don’t know how many cartridges there were, but if I were to assign a number, replaying that image in my mind, I’d say there were at least 40. But probably more. Which is daunting, to say the least. I had no idea how I was to know which plain black ink cartridge I was supposed to choose. I vaguely recall a time when buying an ink cartridge for a printer was not so complicated. But that was a long time ago, like maybe 7 years. I was hopelessly out of touch with what I now faced.

At that point, a salesperson suddenly appeared at my left side, as if out of nowhere. A very large male salesperson. With some sort of breathing problem apparently: he was wheezing softly. 

“Can I help you?” he asked, very solicitously.

“Well,” I said, shooting him a glance and then quickly looking away, “I’m trying to find a black ink cartridge for a printer.” I held out the slip of paper upon which I’d written the model number of the Lexmark printer. “I have the printer model number, but how do I find the right cartridge for it?”

“Oh, well,” he said, a bit breathlessly, “printers are…well, they’re complicated and confusing, and kind of touchy, and really, I only like one printer,” and he suddenly shot his arm out to point, past and behind me, where I knew the shelf of printers was, “and it’s that one, it’s so straightforward, and…”

In the space of time it took him to lay this spiel out, I’d spied the plastic booklet attached to a clip before me, at about waist level. It obviously held the information I needed, the various printers names on it’s cover, and undoubtedly, the types of cartridges required for them. I reached for it, and began to quickly flip through it. 

While I did this, the fellow next to me was still expounding on the merits of the printer he favoured. When I found the Lexmark name in the booklet, I didn’t even look up. It was obvious to me he hadn’t a clue about ink cartridges, and I was further annoyed with him.

“You know what,” I said flatly, as I looked through the booklet, “go help someone else, because you’re not helping me.”

I literally felt the guy deflate. He stood there for about two seconds more, and then quickly departed. And I thought briefly, Wow, Rebecca, that was rude. And you know what? I didn’t really care. Because why would someone who is supposed to be a salesperson, who supposedly should know the products of the store, offer his help, when he obviously doesn’t know how to help with the product I’m looking for? What did he hope to accomplish? I have no idea.

When I went back to my car, I realized I’d been a perfect bitch. And that I no longer have the patience (and haven’t for awhile now) to deal with people who have no idea what they’re talking about. If you don’t know something, if you can’t help, then say so. Don’t waste my time, and yours, spouting off about something in an effort to impress, to someone who is not easily impressed, and who is present for only one thing. Because I now realize that I won’t put up with it. Once I would have. Once I would have been patient, and long-suffering, and then been irritated further once I’d left. But I don’t do that anymore.

When I related this story to my sweetie, she laughed. “Oh, no,” she said, “you in that situation? That’s just a bad scenario all around. You just don’t have the patience.”

She knows me. Better than I know myself, sometimes. Because I do believe I have good intentions. I don’t mean to be mean. I’m not a mean person. But I simply no longer have the patience. And if that makes me a bitch, well, I’m alright with that. Because I found what I needed on my own. And maybe that guy actually did go help someone else. Or will. Someday.

(Oh, and as it turns out, you can’t buy just a single black ink cartridge for this printer. You must buy it bundled with a colour cartridge. Which was already supplied. See what I mean? I’m STARVING!)