I wanted to buy batteries yesterday. It’s none of your business why, I’m sure your imagination will run wild with the hundreds of nefarious things I could do with batteries, but regardless, it is my business.
I went to the register, placed the batteries on the counter, and the young man asked me my phone number. ‘Why do I have to give you my phone number for batteries?” I asked.
“Store policy,” he said.
I gave him my phone number. My real number. I could have given him any number. He wouldn’t have known.
“Social security?” he asked.
“You don’t need my social security for a package of batteries,” I said.
“It’s for our internal security,” he said. ‘We’re not going to give it to anyone, we’re not TJ Maxx.”
I could have walked away, but I really needed the batteries. Never mind what for. I gave it to him.
“Mother’s maiden name?”
“Why do you need that?” I asked.
“We are giving you a store card, it will reduce the price of the batteries, and we need it to confirm your membership.”
“What if I don’t want a store card?” I asked.
“You won’t be able to afford the batteries without one,” he said.
“Well how much could they cost?” I asked.
“Without a card, $65,000.”
“That’s ridiculous!” I said.
“I’m not the one with the unrelenting need to buy batteries, for God knows what purpose,” he said. “By the way, what is the purpose, we need to know for stock reasons.”
Since I did not have $65,000, I told him my mother’s maiden name, and what I needed batteries for, and ignored his smirk.
Then came a dozen other questions: Married, working, income, children, pets, last major purchase, criminal record, credit history, rent or own, homosexual experimentation, weight, shoe size.
At the end of the half hour interrogation he knew me better than my mother, and I got my batteries for $4.99.