Sunday, August 1, 2010
How to Become a Supermarket Bouncer (or not...)
I'll be the first to admit that I'm not the bravest or most courageous soul out there. A lot of things frighten me. There are the big issues like death, wasted potential and unplanned pregnancy, but a lot of little things... things that don't exactly put the fear of God in me, but rattles my nerves a little, gets me worked up.
Have you ever been in line at the cashier of a supermarket with your spouse? And there're maybe 2 or 3 parties ahead of you. Then suddenly, your partner gives you that look. A dreadful look that perhaps the shopping done so far is incomplete, and you hear those words of abandonment, "Honey, I think we're out of margarine. You wait in line while I go get it..." And you're left there in line. Alone. Praying that she returns in time before the cashier is done with the 3 parties in front of you.
Oh no! One's already done, 2 more parties to go before it's your turn.
And you know how supermarkets are, they're designed to lead the average shopper astray. They always put things you don't really need but are always interested in trying, near the really important stuff. Like you'll find organic blueberry cheese spread, next to milk!
So in your mind, you're thinking how much longer can she take? You start taking mental notes of the items in the carts of the people in front of you. You hope that they're pushing a cart, and not just holding a basket. Or worse, they might just be holding a 6-pack of beer and gum. Then you really start to panic. You look around the supermarket trying to spot her running back to you with margarine. You don't see her. And even if you did, she's not running. She's still looking around for more stuff to buy, because that's just what supermarkets do to you!
Now when the parties ahead dwindle to just 1, you start wondering: Alright, should I let the person behind me go ahead? This business with letting someone behind you go ahead is just plain awkward. I mean, who gave you the right to be the cashier bouncer? "Ok, you. You in the blonde may go ahead of me. No, not you old man. What are those adult diapers? You must wait your turn like everybody else."
The other option is to brave it and go ahead when it's your turn. However, you run the risk of having her returning with the margarine after everything is paid for. Then, you'll just be cutting in line because now, you would have made TWO transactions.
But, funny how things work, they always make it back in time, at two possible moments.
One, the preferred one, is when the cashier is still ringing things up, she joins you from the front of the line, slips the margarine with the rest of the shopping, you pay, awkwardness subdued.
Two, you have already made the mistake of letting the person behind you go ahead. Now she's looking for a way to rejoin you. You resume your role of cashier bouncer and try to wave her in. But those aisles are built so narrow, that theres's just no way to weave into the front of the line. She'll knock down the entire shelf of Wriggley's and Durex just trying!
Incidentally, have you noticed, that gum, is looking more and more like condoms, while condoms, are looking more and more like gum? Is this a subtle marketing strategy to suggest that condoms make penises taste better? What with all the flavors...
So she can't rejoin you from the back. Instead, she goes to the front of the line and wait. What are all those people at the back of the line going to think? "OMG, this lady with the margarine is NOT just cutting in front the line!" And the poor woman you let go ahead of you is now being flanked by yourself and your partner!
"What took you so long?"
"I made it back in time didn't I?"
"Another minute and I'd have to let another one go ahead of me!"
"Oh c'mon! You didn't even have to let this woman ahead of you."
"Yeah? Well next time you wait in line while I go get the margarine."
"The margarine? Shit! I got these pineapple-centered cocktail sausages instead."
"What the f...!"
"They had a promotion! Here, I"ll be right back."
She throws the pack of wieners over, lands on the poor woman's head and she's off leaving you to tend to your responsibilities as the cashier bouncer once again.