I was in the grocery store today, on a Sunday, the first sunny warmish day New England has enjoyed in what seems like 2 years. Ok so - that is an exaggeration, but suffice it to say it was beautiful out and I didn’t want to be grocery shopping. Besides, I would rather be eating food than shopping for it any day and I was starving at the time although I try never to go food shopping hungry. I inevitably come home with things I have no idea what to do with, but somehow look appetizing at the moment. By the time they mold over and are being heaved into the trash bin, slime oozing out of the bag, I haven’t a clue what they were to begin with. At any rate, I overcame my hunger and stuck to the list in hand. (Actually I woke up with a belly ache but that never stops me from wanting to eat. I convince myself that what I am feeling is actually not an ache but hunger. Maybe a little food will help?!)
Anyway, I have been trying to be more mindful of my spending in keeping with our economic times and am also buying store brand products rather than brand names. Some things of course I refuse to down grade, like toilet tissue. There are certain comforts I am willing to pay for. But I digress.
Back to the point. Things that irritate me …. So like I said, it’s beautiful out, I want to accomplish my shopping task in less than a hour. The bridge that crosses the Merrimack River is out of commission which means I have to get on the highway to get to the store. This already adds five extra minutes both ways to and from the store. I have done my job and taken the necessary time to compile my grocery list by isle for efficiency and I successfully wiz through the shopping list in less time than expected. Now the hard part.; picking the right checkout counter. I admit I’m not good at this, I don’t know why. I get in the shortest line being careful not to get in the lane where the woman who talks to the bagger is stationed. (She actually stops scanning things while she recalls in excruciating detail how her dog threw up last night… it must have been the leftover turkey drumstick …does the bagger really care to hear I wonder?)
Anyway, I get in lane 5. The fellow in front of me only has eight items. I should be ok. But no. PRICE CHECK! Since no one is behind me I dart for lane 12. Again I am lucky enough that the person in front of me is just about to finish up, three or four items left to scan although they are near the end of the conveyor belt. The cashier reaches for the items one by one without advancing the belt which prevents me from unloading my basket. I patiently wait. The coupons get scanned while the cashier and customer exchange pleasantries. It’s not until the total is rung up that she begins digging through her handbag, which not-for-nothing, is made from a whole cows worth of leather, to find her …no don’t say it…. CHECK BOOK! Who writes checks in this day and age??? Now we have to go through the security check, ID please, phone number exchange, great grandmother’s maiden name and so on.
I’m losing my patience. I’m trying to remain peaceful but my face which contorts without any conscious direction from me betrays the cool, calm mood I am trying to convey. They both take notice and hastily try to wrap things up.
I begin placing my items on the belt. Of course my basket has been carefully arranged by like stuffs… refrigerator items, freezer items, paper goods, can goods etc., so that they are bagged properly and in order to expedite putting everything away on the back end. All of this time saving has been carefully calculated to keep the entire process at under the projected hour.
I continue unloading my basket but the cashier is not advancing the belt, so I start pushing the items forward so I can continue. I push and push until I can push no further and then he begins the scanning process. He scans, scans some more, reaches for more, he is reaching a full arms length to get at items. ADVANCE THE BELT! I want to say, so I can keep loading and keep pace with the scanning! But NO, he keeps reaching. Finally he advances the belt two inches, enough for me to add three canned goods. I still have half my basket to empty. Time is ticking off – I am behind schedule. ADVANCE THE FUCKING BELT!! My face is the size of a prune at this point but on the outside I am calm and peaceful, even smiling when he looks up. He continues scanning, reaching, scanning, reaching. I can’t help myself, since he won’t advance the belt I begin grabbing items from my basket and throwing them into the front part of the belt that he has already cleared. He ignores me until the toilet tissues bounces off the belt and hits him in the chest. He thinks this is funny. I am furious!. So I toss the bag of limes which manage to set free of the bag and bounce in every direction. He gathers them all up and advances the belt while I composedly unload the balance of goods just shy of my time line.