Quick takes:

Too much of a stickler, we'd have to call him . . . .He's the manager of a drug store in Falls Church, and he happened to be standing near the cash register the other day while 6-year-old Roger Norris tried to pay for a plastic car with 89 cents he had lovingly saved . . . .The car bore a sticker saying that 89 cents was indeed the price. The cashier had even rung up the sale and had taken Roger's money. But the manager jumped in at that point to say that the actual price was $6.89, and Roger couldn't buy the toy unless he came up with an additional six bucks . . . .Lengthy argument ensued between manager and Jeanette Norris, Roger's Mom . . . . Lowlight was this remark from the manager: "If you found a Cadillac with an 89-cent sticker on it, do you think they'd let you drive it away?" . . . .Yes, chiselers do switch stickers all the time so they'll pay less. But Roger and Mom emphasize that they don't play that game. And now neither will set foot in the store again, of course . . . .In the interests of good will, shouldn't the manager have let Roger have the car for 89 cents? . . . .Or perhaps a compromise of $3.89? . . . .

What is "progressive rock?" . . . .Hopelessly Square Me asked that question in my New Year's Day column . . . .Larisa O. Lomacky of Silver Spring answers as follows: "Progressive rock is music that is different and innovative, creation for the sake of creating" . . . .That would still seem to cover everything from Twisted Sister to Mozart, but I think I get the idea . . . .Cuter definition comes from Lou Crandall of that most progressive of cities, New York . . . .Progressive rock, says Lou, is "anything that seemed like a good idea at the time" . . . .

USA Today calls itself The Nation's Newspaper . . . .But their promotional baseball caps invite the question: which nation? . . . .A Northern Virginia reader looked inside the hatband of his cap and discovered: MADE IN SHANGHAI . . . .Said Fran Jolles of USA Today's promotion department: "The hats were purchased from a local vendor and we have no idea where he gets them from. We ordered 25,000 hats from three or four different vendors and one could be from the Orient" . . . .Got news for you, Fran: it's past the point of "could be" . . . .

Great rainy-day idea for Alexandrians: a combination sandwich of the train and the subway . . . .Priscilla Murphy of that Northern Virginia city boarded an Amtrak train at the Alexandria station with her husband and 4 1/2-year-old son Nicholas and rode to Union Station . . . .Then they all Red-Lined and Yellow-Lined back home . . . .Total cost: $6.15 (or about what they would have spent at McDonald's). Elapsed time: about 90 minutes. Priscilla's verdict: "Delightful" . . . .

For the Washingtonian who has everything, including mucho dinero: a private performance of a play . . . .All it takes is $500, and The Source Theater will perform any show they're currently running wherever you want . . . .TST has done 'em in suburban rec rooms, offices, even in the Georgetown University crypt (no accounting for taste, I guess) . . . .Call Lisa Palley (462-1073) for further info . . . .

Are you the woman who left a brown sweater at the Vie de France Cafe on K Street around Christmas? . . . .Manager Paul Wunderlich found it, and has it. What he doesn't have is you . . . .Call Paul at 659-0055 to identify the sweater's make, and it'll be Sweet Reunion Time . . . .

Not so sweet is Janet Holbrook's tale of Life in a Drive-In Bank Line . . . .Janet kicked things off the way we all do: switching from the longer of two lines to the shorter, figuring that shorter would mean faster . . . .An hour later, the four cars ahead of Janet had finished their transactions . . . .Thoroughly frustrated, Janet reaches the window just in time to hear: "Sorry, we're closed" . . . .

Overheard on a 70 bus, one elderly woman to another: "I was going to get married again, but I decided not to. I didn't think my dog would understand . . ."