Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Signs, signs, Everywhere Signs

After work on Friday I went grocery shopping as I do every week. I had our meals for the coming week all planned out, the list in hand, and cash in my wallet. The cart got a little more full than usual as I needed to restock some of my baking supplies (flour, brown sugar, etc.). The workday had been long and I was exhausted, cranky, and hungry. I had trouble finding the enchilada sauce so this trip was not going as quickly as I wanted it to.

When I came to the registers I was happy to see that all of the lines were shorter than normal. I chose a lane with only two people in it: a woman who was just about to start the paying process and a man with only one item. Score!

I began unloading my cart onto the belt. Eggs, bread, lots of veggies, some cans, etc, etc, etc...lots of stuff! I had to pause and wait until the belt moved forward to make more room. At this time the kid working the register, who honestly looked not a day over 12 and a half, looked at my stuff, looked at me, then looked at the light with the aisle number.

"Hey Zack! Zack!" He yelled to a co-worker across the store. "You turned off my sign!" And with a flick of his hand a new light appeared above his register.

12 Items or Less.

He returned to helping the woman who was paying. I looked at the sign, looked at him, then looked at all of my items. Not even close to twelve. Closer to 40 or more.

"Um...excuse me? Excuse me!"

The kid looked up.

"Um...that sign wasn't on when I got in line."

He waved his hand. "Don't worry about it, I'll still take care of you."

I smile and laugh nervously, "Yeah...but now I look like a jerk."

He finishes helping the lady then the man in front of me. I frantically look behind and all around me to make sure no one is staring at me. Because now I'm one of THOSE people. You know the ones...they take 20 items into the express lane because, well, it's close enough right? I can't STAND those people! And now...I look like one of them. A really bad one.

When it's finally my turn the kid starts slowly running my items across the scanner. There is no bagger so I hurriedly, with no method whatsoever, begin tossing everything in bags, still frantically looking behind me at those who are surely judging me.

Great, now there's a young Latino guy in line behind me with 2 items and a woman behind him with 1. GREAT! I'm sweating now trying to throw items in bags, throw bags in my cart, and hand over coupons, cash, and my store card all at once.

Why is this kid going so slow??? Can't he see there are very nice people following the 12 item or less rule behind me? Can't he see that they must hate me? CAN'T HE SEE?

Finally, red faced and sweaty I turn to the guy behind me.



I laugh nervously and point to the sign.

"The sign. It wasn't on when I got in line. I'm really not an asshole."

He laughs. "The thought never crossed my mind."

I take my change and receipt and run away with my loot. Damn kid with the 12 Items or Less Light, what the hell?

Then I laugh. It was pretty funny.

And because we're broke as hell, Geoff and I are getting second jobs to get us through the winter. I work in a self-funded department at a college that doesn't pay enough and he works for the YMCA. We're hoping to find meaningless, flexible jobs that we can just quit without feeling guilty about when we've gotten what we need. Now I'm thinking working at a grocery store would be fun so I can pull this on other people...mwahahaha.


PrincessOfForks said...

Something like this happened to me once too except I was in a long line beside the express lane an the express checker was all 'there's no one in my lane - come on ovah...' so I did and then about half way through my cart which was full Up. To. The. Top. like 10 people with half an item each showed up and one of them totally bitches at me so I looked at the checker like "you called me over here...DEFEND ME. DEFEND ME. DEFEND ME." but she looked at me the SAME F'ING WAY. Like Dude was *correct* and wasn't I a big fat jerk!?! so I was all mad and embarressed to be One of Those People but in a stroke of brilliance I let him finish ringing everything up and then said "actually, I changed my mind." and left everything there and just went and started my shopping again. It took REALLY long but I felt good for leaving her there with all my stuff that she *asked* to ring up.

Good luck with the job search. :)

Anonymous said...

Haha....I've seen that happen over and over again. I think its just downright hilarious if the person isn't one of THOSE people. Haha. I myself am guilty of accidentally doing the same thing only the people behind me weren't so nice.

kathryn said...

Oh, you poor thing! I think everyone has been there at one time or another....but you've perfectly described it! I've been online w/a full cart and had the express lady wave me over 'cause she was bored....and then someone comes in halfway thru my checkout. I did the same thing you did!
Fabulous post, dahling!

Jen T said...

Princess - That's terrible! What jerks! Thanks for the luck:)

Insanity - Isn't it awful?

Kathryn - Thank you:) I always love it when you stop by.

JP said...

I gave up on what other people think of me at the grocery store...

Screw em.

So now I don't even try... I wear my raggedyest clothes etc etc... It's quite liberating.

Unknown said...

Oh this post is hilarious!

I have been in your shoes a few times and I always feel like such a JERK!

I think you should totally go for the cashier job so you can mess with people's heads like this. Can't be anything but fun really.

Be sure to post about it afterwards so we can join in the fun.



Jen T said...

JP - Good for you! I try not to care...but when I'm doing something I judge others for...I feel like a real ass.

Picture - I will be sure to keep you updated. And thanks for stopping by!

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