Stupidity and Waiting in Line after Christmas

Waiting in line at a department store on the day after Christmas is as natural an occurrence as quills on a porcupine. It is to be expected. Stupers (short, yet again, for unflinchingly stupid persons) do not comprehend this. They regard it as highly irregular and an affront to their unwavering sense of impatience.

Yesterday, I returned seven items in the men’s section of a store. When my turn arrived to be assisted, two marvelously capable workers helped me. My entire transaction took no more than four minutes. During this period, I glanced behind me. A queue of five people had formed consisting of:

  1. A small, quiet, resigned fellow who exuded enough patience for the entire city of Buffalo, New York;
  2. Two large ladies, one of whom favored the size and shape of a small elephant (think Babar, without the jaunty crown); and the other resembled a cross between a candy cane and cement truck; and

3. A foreign couple whose accent was indeterminate.

My focus remained mostly on the completion of my transaction, but I managed to catch a smattering of chatter between the foreign couple. As you well know, “striped” is a one syllable word. However, this couple pronounced it as two syllables – “stri-ped.”

“There’s a nice stri-ped shirt over there.” “Do you like those stri-ped pants?” and so on.

I barely noticed this quaint chitchat until the cement truck-like woman interrupted them and announced, “It’s not stri-ped. It’s striped!”

Silence ensued, long enough to tie a sneaker. Then the woman continued,

“You should know that you’ve been saying it all wrong. It’s striped! Not stri-ped.”

Silence again ensued, long enough to tie the other shoe.

Then the couple continued their conversation, “Do you like stri-ped pants?” “I prefer a stri-ped shirt.”

I chose that very moment to turn and face the group behind me. I apologized, saying,

“I’m very sorry to be taking so long.”

The responses were,

“No problem.”

“It can’t be helped.”

“Do not worry. It gives us a chance to browse the selection of stri-ped clothing.”


This last comment came out in one great huff from the cement truck-size lady, who, as you may have guessed, was a stuper. That one word indicated that I had no business returning so many items (to which I heartily agreed; but the men in my life are exasperatingly fickle when it comes to wardrobe).

In a span of a few short minutes, stupidity revealed itself. Take note of how the chatty couple dealt with the stuper. They refused to acknowledge her existence, continued their quest for stri-ped clothes and maintained their sense of well-being. They regarded stupidity as they would a pothole in the road. It existed for barely a moment. Once passed, it was readily forgotten.

Think first, last and always.


12 Responses to “Stupidity and Waiting in Line after Christmas”

  1. Mad Woman says:


    Hehe. Love it. Who gives a rat’s ass if they say it “stri-ped” or “striped”?! Like it has any bearing on anyone else’s life eh? Cement truck lady is just mad she can’t wear anything “stri-ped” because it’ll make her look like a truck that needs a “wide load” sign on it’s ass.

  2. Sofi says:

    Unfortunately holiday times mean seeing a lot of STUPERS.
    I wonder if this cement truck lady went to the “stri-ped”
    people’s country, could she speak correctly?

  3. Onedia says:

    The times I have felt the most “uneducated” have been when someone corrected me with attitude when I pronounced a word incorrectly (or they thought I had)I think the best I mustered in response was to turn it into a joke. I like this couple’s manner much better.

  4. jingle says:


    interesting story, did you write it by yourself?

    happy holidays!

  5. Keli says:

    Mad Woman:
    I was highly entertained by all of it. For about two hours afterward, I pronounced all one syllable words as two, whenever possible. Br-ead. Sh-irt, etc. Just for giggles.
    The holidays seem to bring out the best in some and the stupid in others.
    I loved the fact that they totally ignored the stuper, denying her existence. Would that I could!

  6. Keli says:

    I actually do write about my encounters with stupers all by myself. In the early days, my husband acted as editor, but I had to fire him because he wanted to insert too many expletives and offer advice that involved the use of violence at times, which I really don’t condone except in extraordinary cases. Happy holidays to you as well!

  7. omawarisan says:

    I’m guessing cement truck’s pronunciation was impeccable.

  8. Oh the people we can learn from. 🙂

  9. Ugh! This story brings two things to mind:

    1. I grew up in the MN with two parents that had accents. Both are bright, college-educated people; yet, too often we’d encounter people that equated an accent with a lower level of intelligence and they would talk down to my parents as if they were partially deaf stupers. I quietly witnessed this extreme stuper behavior often as a kid. As I got a bit older, I nastily interjected with my take on the situation, which usually left the stuper stunned. Maybe the person was shocked to hear a typical MN accent from someone they assumed was “fresh off the boat.”

    2. I am currently living in the UAE and people have great difficulty lining up, unless they’re given numbers. There’s a general lack of respect for the queue. It’s so unbelievably annoying to see someone be the 10th person to walk in the room and just walk up to the counter a head of the previous 9 people. Amazingly, the person behind the counter or the people will in line will rarely challenge the line-cutter. I’ve even seen it at the bank: a person is at the counter, conducting a transaction, and a stranger will cut the line, and park his stuper self at the counter within mere inches of the other person. What?!?!

  10. Keli says:

    All I know is that she was as loud as she was wide.

    No kidding!

    I grew up in So Cal with two parents who had accents so I understand your frustration. You are so right about those who walk straight to the front of the queue. I’m the one in line who always reminds the stuper to get in back…or else. Fortunately, I’ve yet to be challenged on the “or else” front.

  11. Jenny says:

    I always use two syllables for striped. I’m a Southerner. I hope the cement truck lady doesn’t hunt me down like a dog. If she does, please will you protect me, Keli? Better you ending up in a striped jailbait costume than me!

  12. Ferd says:

    I found this humorous because I make fun of my co-workers all the time. Now that I live in the south, I hear perfectly short words stretched out into polysyllables all the time. It doesn’t offend or bother me at all; we all make good fun of our differences.

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