Thursday, October 05, 2006

Price check on register whichever-one-I’m-at….

It’s a conspiracy, I tell you.

They know I’m on the premises, gravitating toward the checkout line, and they do it on purpose.
You know, “they.” Senior citizens who want to save an extra 3 cents on bananas and claim that “SALE” sign was in the wrong spot. People trying to use coupons that date back ten years, insisting that they just clipped them that morning. People who vehemently deny that their credit card could possibly be declined, they just used it yesterday, for crying out loud….try again, please. Still declined? Fine, try this one. No? Well then, let me speak to your manager.

These are the people that I always end up behind when trying to check out of a store. There could be five people in the whole place, and I will inevitably, unknowingly, wind up behind the “problem customer” of the day. They whine, they huff, they plea with acne-ridden cashiers who stare back at them with blood-curdling hatred. And then I cringe, and inwardly scream “NOOOOOO!” as the cashiers reach for the toggle switch on their register poles, the one that sets off the flashing light, the light that laughs at me and says, “You picked the wrong line again, sucker. Muahahaha..."

Yesterday was a perfect example. After dragging my pregnant ass through the supermarket for an hour, my feet were the size of sofa cushions and my back was screaming, “Why do you hate me??” Hunched over my cart, I approached the registers with a certain degree of desperation. I was probably whimpering a little. To my relief, I saw that there was only one woman at register 3, with only one bag of potatoes on the conveyer belt. Oh, sweet relief! I hauled my cart up behind her and started to unload.

The cashier scanned the aforementioned bag of potatoes. “That’ll be $1.99,” she said.

The woman was silent. Something inside me twitched.

“They’re supposed to be a dollar,” the woman said. (Nooooooooo!)

The cashier looked at the potatoes as if she’d never seen such a thing before, and then proceeded to punch pointlessly at her touchscreen, mumbling a very eloquent mix of “Ummmm….” and “hmmmmm….” Finally she said, “I don’t think these are the right brand (no sh*t, Sherlock)…do you want me to go get you a bag of the right kind?" (Nooooooooo!)

I won’t bore you with the rest of the details, but suffice to say that I stood there for another ten minutes while one of the managers (whose presence was of course requested) attempted to hunt down the dollar-potatoes, determined that there were no more, and agreed to give the woman the sale price on her next visit. To her credit, the woman did offer to let me go ahead of her (I’m getting serious belly-sympathy these days), but I politely declined because I am too nice…and frankly, because I wanted her to feel as bad as possible.

So the lesson is this: if you ever see me in line at a checkout, do not get behind me. Or, if you must, bring snacks, a sleeping bag and your own toilet paper, because you will be there for a long, long time.