Friday, September 5, 2014

Getting My Just Desserts

I'm not sure how that expression came into being but it means that I got was was coming to me because of my actions. Let me set the scene.

I was in the grocery store picking up a few basics and heading towards the checkout lines. For some odd reason, three of the four lines in operation had people backed up three carts out the end of the aisle. Rarely do I see this kind of traffic at this grocery store but then again, I rarely come right over the lunch hour. However, one lane only had one person in it and he was handing cash over to the clerk. I headed towards that line.

Just before I got there, a lady waiting to checkout two lines over saw the situation too and started backing out of her line to get in line where I was heading. I could have paused and let her ahead of me. But I only had a few things in my cart compared to her cart full of prepackaged junk foods which usually signals welfare cards and longer waits so I took an extra long step and cut her off at the pass. I pretended like I never even saw her and started putting my groceries onto the conveyor belt. That was when my 'just dessert' started kicking in.

I noticed the old fellow paying for his groceries had one arm in a sling and judging by the fumbling, it was his dominate arm. As I waited, he kept fumbling in this pocket, that pocket, back to the billfold and into a pocket again as he tried to make exact change for his bill. As someone who almost always uses credit, I have long since gave up trying to pay for things with exact change because it takes too long and I don't have the patience. This time however, I waited patiently for five minutes as he and the clerk swapped bills and coins until he finally came up with a combination that gave him a bill which took him about two minutes to tuck into his wallet with his one non-dominate hand. Finally he moved out of the aisle so that the clerk could start ringing me out.

Immediately I knew that my 'just desserts' were going to keep on coming. She moved as a glacial crawl. In the time that it took her to ring up about a half dozen items, most clerks would have rang up an entire shopping cart full of stuff. The lady that I had prevented from getting in front of me was already paying her bill at another checkout line. I still had another dozen things to get rang up! With about six items left to ring up and I was probably ten minutes into the process at this point, the clerk turned and started bagging the dozen things she had already rang up. It took her nearly 40 seconds to a minute to pick up each item, swing it over to the plastic bag, place it inside, arrange it just so and swing back to pick up a second item. Another five minutes click off the clock.

The lady behind me who came up a couple minutes after I first got in line started cursing under her breath and I couldn't help but feel her pain. She already had most of the contents of her cart on the conveyor belt behind my items and as they say about the pig and breakfast, she was committed. I was just about ready to tell the clerk that I would bag if she would finish ringing up my items when a bagger finally came over and finished bagging up the remaining items as she resumed scanning the last six items on the belt. In about 15 seconds, he had not only bagged the remaining items, had loaded the bags into my cart and was waiting for her to finish scanning the last five items remaining. I suddenly understood why he ran off to help other checkout lines.

Finally 20 minutes into my checkout experience that usually lasts only about five minutes tops for a full grocery cart full of groceries, I was able to swipe my credit card and get the heck out of dodge. But not before I committed Karen's name and face to memory so that I will never step foot in her aisle again. In the time it took to ring up my 18 items, each of the other lines had probably checked out six people with full carts. She literally has no business being in a grocery store. Perhaps she was only there to deliver my 'just desserts'.


Anonymous said...

I tend to an amusing game when at the shops.
Me, if I've a trolley full of a weeks/months groceries and someone has a few bits in their arms I will allow off ahead of me. But only two of them. Anymore than that and it's mote how much quicker they could be anyway.
But the fun bit is when I buy two or three bits and I see some chick with a shop that would keep an army on maneuvers and requiring the docking procedure of an oil tanker to get into the slip to the tills. Whether she will say to me 'go on ahead'.
I'd say 80% will. Those that don't are young mothers in a zone whom I suspect wouldn't see much anyway.

Ed said...

Vince - I just don't have the patience I used to have when it comes to standing in lines. I'm fine doing menial tasks that require a lot of patience... just as long as it doesn't involve standing in lines.