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I was in Chicago Compact Disc in Evanston, a shop that prides itself on letting customers preview CDs before they buy them. I picked out a CD and made my way to the front of the store. The customer in front of me was pulling cash out of his wallet to pay for his two CDs when the clerk asked, "And what about the so-and-so CD I opened for you to listen to?"

"Oh, it was OK," said the customer, "but I think I'd rather have these two right now. Maybe I'll get that one next paycheck."

The clerk replied, with all the self-importance that comes working retail in ripped jeans and bandanna, "Well, in the future, I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't ask me to open a CD until you're ready to buy it."

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