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I was buying some toiletries at Walgreens the other day. At the checkout register the clerk couldn't scan one item. Finally he gave up and paged someone in the cosmetics department.

"I need a price check on Tampax tampons--"

"No, no, no," the woman working at the next counter yelled to him. "You ask her to pick up the red line." The other cashiers shook their heads at the clerk; it looked as if he had committed quite a faux pas.

The clerk picked up the phone, dialed it, and spoke into the receiver. "Hello? Hello?" Then he hung up and peered at the phone. He picked it up again, dialed, listened, then hung up once more. He was still fumbling with the phone when a woman's voice came over the paging system.

"Your price check," she said coolly, "that's $2.99."

--Kirsten Schnoor

Reader to Reader welcomes (and pays for) anecdotes, overheard conversations, and slices of city life from 20 to 200 words in length. Send yours to Reader to Reader, 11 E. Illinois, Chicago 60611, or E-mail to

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