I’m all lost in the supermarket
I’m planning on making this a series of observations of humanity in the supermarket. Enjoy!
I already drove past 5 supermarkets and there were 2 others closer to home, but I decided to stop at Albertson’s that day to switch things up. I needed some dried apricots, water chestnuts and some bacon to make an appetizer to take to a get together. The parking lot was a mess. I drove around the lot a few times and magically found a space the instant I resolved to go to the Ralph’s instead. I should have listened to my gut and kept driving but I hopped out and walked across the lot. Outside the entrance, store workers busied themselves stacking cases of water bottles. Each case cost a dollar and the pricing attracted a crowd. People were calling and texting their families and friends to let them know about the deal.
At the time I held a haughty ideological opposition to bottled water so I didn’t pick up any. Because this store wasn’t my “home store” and I didn’t know it very well, it took me some time to search out the items I desired. By the time I reached the front of the store to check out, the entire checkout area was crammed with people lugging cases of water bottles. I had to observe the crowd for a bit to figure out how to get through quickly. Each checkout line extended down the aisles, causing massive congestion. I decided that the self checkout line looked shortest and hoped for the best. I put in my headphones and tried to relax. I watched a tiny Asian lady with a cart full of cases of water look up and down the line then walk right in front of me and cut in.
“Excuse me, ma’am, there is a line here,” I explained while gesturing toward the line behind me. She just smiled and shrugged. I looked around incredulously. “Excuse me ma’am,” I said in a louder tone. Same smile and shrug. People behind me seemed untroubled by this development. I decided to let it slide but made a few sighing and other noises to show my discontent. I weighed some potential rationales for the line cutting. Maybe it’s cultural? Maybe she was in line before? Maybe it’s not a big deal.
Two minutes passed before another very short elderly lady plowed right in front of me with her cart. I tapped her on the shoulder and gestured toward the line snaking through the store behind me. She shrugged and stayed in place. My goodwill was suddenly gone. “THERE IS A LINE HERE!”, I shouted far too loudly. Everyone snapped their head around to stare. She tried to shrug again so I gently moved her cart out of line and yelled, “CAN ANYONE EXPLAIN TO HER WHAT A LINE MEANS?” A nice younger gentleman spoke to her in her language and she begrudgingly accepted that I wouldn’t let her cut. She made sure to give me the stink-eye while trudging back to the end of the queue.
So…..I’m getting close to it being my turn in the self-check out line. I surveyed the four people using the machines and the store employee monitoring everyone’s progress. The gentleman at the closest machine to me was having some issues but the employee is just watching him. The shopper was trying to purchase bananas, which is a little tricky at the self-check line. Instead of entering a code, he was trying to scan the bananas which don’t have a sticker or code on them. He swiped the bananas over the code reader. Nothing happened. He swiped them again and furrowed his brow. He swiped them again. And again. And again. The employee just stood there with his arms folded and watched with a look of bemusement.
I’m already on edge so I bellow, “PARDON ME, SIR, DO YOU THINK YOU COULD ASSIST THIS MAN INSTEAD OF GAWKING AT HIM?” The employee shot me a side-eye as he slowly walked over. Once he was done it was finally my turn. I checked out in thirty seconds and practically sprinted out of the place as I wanted to get away so badly. I got back in my truck and saw that I had been in there for an hour and fifteen minutes. When I approach a grocery store now and see that there is a ridiculously cheap sale on water, I just walk away.