Thursday, June 29, 2006

Why are some people so shocked when after the clerk is finished ringing up their purchases that they are asked to present some sort of payment?

Yesterday, in spite of my suspicions that my flare up of allergies was really a cold (it is), I went in search of a bluebird house. I'm glad I spent a little time in researching what constitutes a proper establishment for the little guys because most of what was labeled 'bluebird house" at both Lowes and WalMart (yes, I KNOW they are evil, but I'm CHEAP, okay?) was, in fact, entirely unsuitable and perhaps even dangerous for bluebirds. The most glaring error was in the depth from entry hole to the foor of the house - it was too shallow, allowing for possible raccoon or feline predation. But I found a very pretty one at Lowes, made for and approved by the National Geographic Society and fitting the exact specifications I found in my research.

But they only had one. So I stopped by WallyWorld to see if they had any. And to buy something for my rapidly becoming more symptomatic cold. Fever in Charleston summer heat and humidity is almost a hallucinigintic experience.

Alas, no proper bluebird houses. But a good deal on DayQuil for my cold. And while I was there, I found two plastic storage bins for the approximately 50 tons of bird seed and/or squirrel and raccoon feed I keep on hand. Big piles of bags under my entry way table was just NOT attractive.

So, back to my point, and I think I have one. I approach the 'fast' check out line (under 25 items!) with my DayQuill and two storage bins. I am cut off by this elderly couple with a couple items in a shopping cart. So I'm waiting in line. Sniff, sneeze. Sniff, sniff. Wobbling to and fro as the fever is spiking.

I've learned in the south "fast" is a relative term. The cashier was acting out her favorite song, "Easy Like Sunday Morning". I didn't even know it was possible for human beings to move so slowly. Finally, she announces the total purchase amount.

Little old man looks at little old lady. Little old lady looks at little old man. He digs in his pocket and comes up with a wallet. Opens it up and peers into it like all the answers to the universe are there. Pulls out a five.

"Dat all you got?" little old lady asks.

He peers back in the wallet. Shrugs. "Yeah."

She sighs and puts her purse down on the counter. Opens it up. Takes out her glasses case. Opens the case. Puts on her glasses. Puts the case back in the purse. Digs in the purse. Pulls out a wallet. Holds it up close to her chest and half turns so little old man and cashier can't see what she is doing. Starts riffling through a wad of bills. Asks cashier how much it was again. Cashier has to look at the computer screen to tell her. Little old lady hands her some money. Little old lady gets her change. Files it all away properly. Takes her glasses case out of the purse. Takes her glassses off. Returns glasses to purse.

They amble off into the sun.

I am drooling quietly in a light stupor.

Really. I've noticed this on many occasions. It was especially annoying back in the days (God, I am old) before debit cards. That checkbook would remain in the purse until the final total was announced and only then would the person even begin to hunt through the purse for the checkbook.

It annoys me. That's all I'm saying. You know they are going to want money, in some form. Have it ready. For Pete's sake.


imabug said...

The James Island WalMart has those self-checkout lines. occasionally faster than the express lines (especially if you only have a few items) until you run into something that doesn't scan in properly.

JanetLee said...

I know. I use them at the grocery store sometimes. But I'm rapidly developing a chip on my shoulder that I should get a discount for using them. After all, I am saving them a ton of money in not having to pay employees, not having to pay employees insurance... wait, that already is WalMart's MO.