When he acquired all the items, Joss came to the cash register with the least people in front of it. Quite soon, he was next in line, right behind an older man whose goods were being scanned by the clerk at that moment. The elderly man put his wallet on the counter, and in his hand he was firmly holding bunch of coupons. As the clerk pulled through each of the items, the old man gave him discount coupons. Finally, there was just a bottle of juice and spaghetti left on the counter. The clerk checked the coupon for the bottle of juice. Then, he checked the spaghetti coupon and stopped.
“This coupon has expired, and I don’t think it even applies to this brand of spaghetti,” the clerk said in a bored, stretched tone.
“Are you sure?” the old man asked. Joss hoped that this would not turn into an argument and hold the line for too long.
“Yes, I checked it one more time. It’s expired,” the clerk said. The old man looked into his wallet, and then he looked at the spaghetti.
“Return it to the shelf, I won’t take it now,” the old man said and pushed the spaghetti towards the clerk. He paid for the rest of the items and left the store. Joss watched as the door closed behind him.
On his way home, Joss could not stop thinking about the old man. There was something painful in the scene he had just witnessed. Joss liked to dream about his future, he liked to play the role of someone who could achieve everything on his own. He had perspective, he had the means, and he had the goal. But, every once in a while a sight would occur, and he would be reminded of the environment he was living in. The image he had about himself, in a nice suit and smiling at the many opportunities, dissolved before him, as it was replaced with the image of a tired elderly man. Was the same waiting for him? He wondered what kind of past that old man from the store had. Maybe he had a descent life. It was the reality of the present was such that made him spend his remaining days by collecting coupons. He was not the only one, though. Many had desires and needs that were silenced by the expenses of each new morning, each month and year. So what if the cheap milk tastes disguising? Buying it leaves more room for slightly better shoes. It was surviving, not living.
Joss would not let that happen to him. He was willing to fight. He prepared lunch when he came back home. Then, he took a long, hot shower. It was necessary to clear his mind. After that, he turned on the TV to watch the news. Joss usually did not have the custom of doing it, but it had been a week since the last time he had read or had heard something about what was going on in the world. And when the news started, he regretted turning on the TV. There was nothing but general misery. A shop was robbed, a group of boys beat another, rivalry group of boys, and a woman was run down by a mysterious car and the driver could not have been identified. What made the people so angry? As the reports were piling up, Joss started yawning after a while. By the time the news ended, he had no reaction to what he saw. His mind was oversaturated with shocking numbers and descriptions. Why would he bother to empathise? The day before also had similar reports and the day after would have even worse ones. He could not change anything about what had happened, so there was no reason to stress about it. Joss felt numb.