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Just Say “NO”

“May I have your zip code?”


The adolescent at the checkout counter stopped in mid gum chew. She probably thought I had not heard her or had not understood her.

“May I have your zip code, please.” she said louder.

“No,” I said.

She seemingly had never heard that word used in this context before.

There was a period of silence. Faint stirrings and murmurings arose from the sheep in the line behind me. “He said No” was whispered.

Incredulous at the answer, the female adolescent nearly stopped breathing as she stared at me, her world forever changed.

“We have to have your zip code,” she said.

“No you don’t I said.”

She seemed unable to speak further, so I compassionately explained that neither she nor her employer needed my zip code in order to sell me the widget that had an advertised price on the shelf of $6.66. I had it in hand with me at the counter and, after showing it to her, had tendered a $10.00 bill. This I explained was a completed contract, all of the lawful elements, of offer, acceptance, and consideration having been fulfilled in textbook fashion. The sign on the widget was the offer; my bringing it to the counter was the acceptance; my tender of the $10.00 was the consideration. All that remained was for the adolescent to give me my change, after subtracting the offered price and any applicable sales tax. I could, I told her, then lawfully leave with my widget.

Someone in the line said in a loud stage voice that I was holding up the line.

“No,” I said, “The store is holding up the line by trying to enforce this absurd policy.”

The store manager was called. A similar dialogue followed with him. His show stopper was, “We have to have your zip code to sell you the widget.”

I produced a pad of paper and pencil and asked him his name. “Why do you want that?” he asked.

To put on the lawsuit I will be filing tomorrow morning against you and your company for breach of contract.

They let me leave with the contracted for widget and with my change.

Without obtaining my zip code.

I guess my daddy the preacher was right when he opined that I am just a natural born troublemaker.


Edwin Kagin © 2012.