The joys of shopping.

Two nights ago, I was standing in line at Food Basics, basking in the warm beauty of a large grocery store. Don DeLillo expressed this beauty eloquently in White Noise (something about waves and radiation) but I’ll just say this much: I like the drowsy hum of a closing grocery store, okay?

I snapped out of my moment of peace to notice a few things about my environment:

Hey, this is the fast lane - 8 items maximum.
Hey, I’m just holding a single loaf of Dempster’s Whole Wheat.
Hey, that teenage girl up in front has upwards of twenty items!

Taking a glance at the annoyed people in line, and at the obviously pained cashier, probably barred by store policy from interfering, I knew what I had to do. With steady, even steps, I approached the teenager.

“Twenty-one items.”
“You’ve got twenty-one items.”

Wordlessly, I raised my arm. It stretched upwards in it’s new position, much like a signal fire, pointing at a lightly glowing green sign. It read:

“Fast Lane
1 to 8 Items”

She craned her neck, squinted to read the sign, and then became rather flustered.

“Yeah, well, I’m, like, in a hurry.”
“So are the people behind you, most likely.”
“There aren’t any other cashiers here!”
“I, having 20/20 vision, can plainly see that there is, in fact, another lane open - the one right next to us. Nice try, though.”

At this point, the cashier stopped fiddling with the girl’s seemingly unscannable milk, and turned to us. After several moments of numb silence, the girl’s expression suddenly changed.

“Fuck you,” she stage-whispered, and then stalked off to the next lane, as did the man behind her, who had a relatively modest twelve items.

“Kiss kiss,” I called back to her, just before returning to the last spot in the Fast Lane line, satisfied, bread in hand.

“What nice language you have!”
“All the better to curse you with, my dear.”

Glad you’d have a better sense of humor than I would have, in the situation.
Well, better sense of humor than I have, period.
Under-the-breath muttering and a glare would have been my response – so it’s nice to know there are people out there who have the guts to go up to a complete stranger and point out the obvious and ignored (burn, darling).

People like her make it absolutely lovely to be out at any time of day. Maybe that’s why she was out in the evening.

The province’s solution was to make mandatory Civics classes in school, to teach us about ‘common courtesy’ and what it takes to be a good citizen… And we all know how much good that is doing. (Can you hear me laughing from here?)

Bleah. Humans piss me off. So somehow you’re the bad guy because you didn’t let her get away with her ignorant, selfish, self-serving behaviour? If I had been there, I would have thanked you.

(She was probably in a hurry because she had left her babies in the car, parked across two spaces in the handicapped zone.)

The other night I standing in line at the grocery store with about twenty some odd items in my cart. The cashier working one of the three express lanes came from behind her register, took a look at the items in my cart and permitted me to check out at her register.

Once I was checked out and heading towards the exit, I heard the man behind me quip to the cashier “I guess some people have trouble counting to fifteen.” It took a sec but I realized he was talking about me. Before I could turn around to reply, the cashier politely informed him she invited me to her lane because store policy dictates if her lane is empty for more than a few minutes, she’s to inform customers in nearby, regular lanes she’s available.

I don’t think that was the case here, Juanita, as the cashier stopped scanning her items shortly before the end of our little chat, and made no motions to indicate anything of that sort.

I agree with your assessment completely, Gadfly. It just struck me how many times I’ve wanted to make a snide comment to or about people who abuse the express lanes while never, ever thinking I’d be on the receiving end of such a comment.

I’m extremely conscientious about using the express line. I won’t even use it if I have one item more than the limit. It steams me to no end when people deem themselves to be more important than others and grant themselves the use the express line when they have a cartful of groceries. It’s true, you may be more important than him or her but you’re sure as fuck not more important than Juanita.

What these folks count on is that everyone around them will be too timid to make a scene. That is why it is all of our sacred duties as the guardians of civilized behavior to kick up a huge fuss in these cases. First, start gently by politely pointing out that they are over the limit. Should that fail, we must then request that the cashier enforce this policy. Finally, call the manager over and explain that you will walk out and make your purchases elsewhere if need be.

At all times remain calm and polite.

I did actually have to threaten this at one point. The odd thing was that my kicking up a fuss was actually making things take even longer for the folks behind me, but they were cheering me on. Go figure.

Huh. This happened to me yesterday, but in this case, I was The Idiot Who Cannot Count.
I went shopping, and had a cartful of stuff, and there was only one lane open. The Express Lane.
I went ahead and got in line, and ended up letting three people go ahead of me (people who, I might add only had one or two items each), and two of those people made snide, snotty comments about how I better let them go ahead, since I was in the wrong lane anyway. I pointed out that it was the only lane open, and they just huffed and rolled their eyes at me.
When I went ahead and put my things on the belt, I was about halfway done, when someone else got in line behind me with one item and stood there making snotty comments. The checker called for more register help, and they opened another one, and by the time she was finishing with me, they opened a third, but of course by that time, I looked like the moron. :rolleyes:

Goody! My favorite subject, grocery store fast check outs. It should be no secret by now that I hate Albertson’s with the fury of a supernova. It’s only saving grace is that it’s only a block away, and they have the best cereal prices. Every. Single. Time. I go into Albertson’s I expect to be ticked off about something. That said, it has inspired me not to suffer these fools gladly, I absolutely can do something about this. I treat rudeness with rudeness.

About three trips ago, I was in Albertson’s, the 10 item or less had about 5 people in it besides myself who had just walked up. The second person in line (the only one with a cart of course) had at least 18 items. The people behind him were obviously annoyed but didn’t say anything. I casually stepped right in front of him in line. When he protested, I looked at his cart and said: “Oh, I thought this was Break the Rules Day, I chose Cutting in Line”. He muttered “asshole” but got out of line. Come to think of it, I haven’t been as annoyed in Albertson’s lately either.

Oh Yeah! I am so saving that one for future use!

I like shopping, usually, I even enjoy watching people get irate about slow lines at checkouts; last December I was in the 10 items or less lane and the cashier was clearly a newbie; probably first day on the job and he was understandably a bit slow on the process, plus he was trying his best to be extra-friendly to the customers, which was also costing him a little time.

The guy behind me started tutting and fussing, then this turned to exasperated puffing and muttering, then after a couple of minutes (it was really busy and the line was really long on every checkout, including ours) he started shouting at the cashier, which just confused him and made him nervous and hesitant (slowing things down even more), eventually, the irate bloke shouted (in the most pathetic fury possible) “I was supposed to BE somewhere at seven o’clock! And now I’m late because of you!”.

I really wanted to turn around and say “Oh my! Doctor! they’ll have started the operation without you by now, but without the half Stilton and bottle of Chardonnay you’re buying, the patient will die!”, instead, I just enjoyed the show and on the way out, mentioned to the folks at the customer service desk that the cashier who served me was doing a really great job.
Today though, I enjoyed a different kind of shopping entertainment; the game involves decrypting a shopping list hurriedly written by my wife; there was one item near the bottom that looked for all the world like ‘PipCow’ - would I find this in the dairy, meat or fruit and veg department? I wandered the store in vain, murmuring 'PipCow… PipCow… hmmmm…"
Turned out it was ‘Pl flour’ (plain flour).
Still looks like ‘PipCow’ though

Wow, people who shop using their spouses’ list are more patient than me. The number of times I’ve helped people try to decipher the shopping list contractions would make me wonder if it was a pick-up method if I was younger or better looking.
One blessed lady sent her man to the store for an illegible scribble next to another illegible scribble. I thought all was lost until I looked at it again and realized she’d drawn a picture of an egg noodle. I still wonder, did she consider this a weird purchase? Did he really not cook? Who would need a picture of an egg noodle?

Once, the cashier actually told the old geezer he had too many items, and the geezer (and here I have to state I’m pro-geezer generally, thinking that they’ve earned the right to be cranky) started to rant about how he’d been shopping at that store since before you (the cashier) was born yada, yada, yada.

Oh, if only I wasn’t getting married in a week and a half…

Aww fuck it-- Will you marry me, Mangetout?

Many years ago, when I got my driver’s license, my mom started sending me to the grocery store with a list full of her own odd abbreviations that I had to figure out. One was “TP.” I looked at that and immediately assumed, “toilet paper.”
When I got home, I found out that “TP” meant “tooth paste.” :stuck_out_tongue:

My dad and my brother, to name two. To be perfectly fair, it’s not something we ever kept around the house, so for our family it would indeed be an unusual purchase.

“What, right HERE? Or in the parking lot?” :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

Wow! I now have 3 grocery stores near my house that have asked me not to come back. Something about this (item overage) really pisses me off. Aparently, if you loudly say to the offender “Well, it’s nice to see you learned to count” and then asking to see the manager to discuss the fact that cashiers aren’t enforcing the rules brands you as an unwanted customer.

In my neighborhood, the preferred deciphering method is a cell phone. Every time I shop, I see at least one person on a cell phone asking, “Did you mean pinto beans or pickled herring?”

Now there’s two things whose uses you don’t want to get mixed up.