_ What’s the worst thing that can happen on the day before Christmas?
(The big day for Germans is Christmas Eve. That is when presents are opened, which is great for parents. Everyone can sleep late on Christmas Day. But, all shopping must be completed before noon on December 24th.)
Now, back to my question...The worst nightmare to befall last-minute gift shoppers or grocery shoppers is for the cash register to crash. These days, all registers are run by computers. In the best case, the computer can be re-booted, while customers stew and lines become longer. The job of cashier is bad enough on a good day; facing aggravated customers, smiling, and waiting patiently for a computer to come alive are not a fun additions to the job description.
As I watched at two different stores (at one, the credit card terminal was not working), I wondered if charges could be recorded by hand, how much fun that would be, and how long it would require. I even considered leaving my items on the band and leaving, because nothing was essential. However, empathizing with harried retail personnel, I decided to be patient and smile.
I am now safely at home and wondering how many people are staring at the head of the person in front of them in some long, stalled line and not knowing if life will go on.
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Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.