Sunday, May 18, 2008

R-E-S-P-E-C-T at the C-H-E-C-K-O-U-T

I'm the one you hate to be behind.
If there's a problem, I'll have it. If it's not that
the item is priced incorrectly, the cashier will jam
the register tape. Or the computer won't like
my coupon. Or... whatever will take a long time.

I like all my groceries to be stacked on the belt
BEFORE the cashier begins ringing. There are
a couple different reasons for this:

* There's a strange sensory thing that happens
to me when I'm trying to place groceries on a
moving belt. I get so stressed out! I start to sweat
and everything. Woe to the person who tries to carry
on a conversation with me WHILE the groceries are
moving. Paper or plastic? I don't know, lady, just put
the stuff in a bag and turn off that moving belt thingy!

* I usually shop very carefully, so I like to watch the prices
as they ring up. It helps me catch problems as they occur
instead of having to scrutinize the receipt later
(which I still sometimes do).

I also feel bad when I've shopped so carefully that I have
coupons for just about every item I'm buying and someone
in a hurry gets in line behind me. I mean, I shouldn't feel
bad, but I do. I just do.

Most people are understanding, but some are downright
rude. I'll admit that sometimes it's entertaining to be me,
though. Even at the checkout.

There's a common scenario that plays out over and over
again, usually with a big, burly... MANLY man behind me.
I'll use tonight's incident as an example.

I was at Walgreen's. It was closing time. All the customers
left in the store, including me, were making their way to the
front of the store with their final purchases. The cashiers
from the camera and cosmetic departments had already
clocked out.

I had two separate transactions I needed to do. While trying
to get the two orders separated correctly and keep coupons
straight for each order, I was aware of a line forming behind me.

I knew it was coming when I saw the guy walk up, two places
behind me in the line. To no one in particular, he growled,

"Are you @#$%^&* KIDDING ME?!"

Then he apologized for saying that out loud. :>)
BTW... he was buying Nicorette gum. "Maybe he's having
his own brand of checkout anxiety," I thought, "I should just
ignore him."

As the cashier rang up my first order, then my coupons, leaving me
with a total of 96 cents due, Mr. KIDDING ME was transformed
from a grouchy guy in need of a piece of Nicorette to an interested

He sighed and said, "Well, she's doing it right... coming in late at night
to get this stuff done......." still watching me....

As people joined the growing line behind us, Mr. KIDDING ME would
respond to their sighs and groans with "Naw, it's alright... she's almost

He asked, almost lightheartedly,
"Hey, do you have coupons for all of our [stuff]?"

I smiled at him and said..... "maybe...."

While the cashier deducted my coupons, bringing my total down from
$35.98 to $5.09, my fan club grew.

When a newcomer to the line asked "Are we going to be here all night?",
my new friend, Mr. KIDDING ME answered on my behalf....

"You just don't worry about it! Stand back and let that woman DO
what she's got to DO!... besides, she's done now.... "

With that, I gathered my things, smiled at my "public" and bade
them all a good night.
They returned my "goodnight", and several asked me to
"have a good one" or "take it easy".

None of them asked me to clip more coupons, though.
I don't know why.

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