I am not the most patient person when it comes to personal commerce. By that I mean, when I’m out running errands at the drug store, the gas station, the grocery store and such, I really just want to make my transaction of cash for goods and/or services as quickly as humanly possible and get out.
Having this self awareness I tend to cut my fellow erranders a lot of slack, reminding myself that the man ahead of me in line at the Xtra Mart isn’t plotting to make me late for the newest installment of Think About It on cable channel 15, he’s just putting his change in his wallet.
There are, however, some things that occur that I can’t deep-breathe my way around. There are some people out there slowing down the progress of the free market by acts of sabotage worthy of Anti-Capitalist Marxists. Here are a few of the top offenders:
- The “How’s Your Family” Customer: This one is more prevalent in small towns and communities. Usually a bit older and generally male, they know the family of the person working the counter and make conversation while the transaction is happening. That’s fine, but all too often the familial concern will stop the transaction dead or, even more frequently, continue after the transaction has ended. Here’s a quick note: The high school kid checking out your groceries doesn’t remember you from when she was “just this high” and is only waiting for work to end. Know her parents? Call them directly. Or stop by. Just get out of the way.
- Ms. “I know I Have the Correct Change in My Purse Somewhere”: I’m begging you. Just accept the 37 cents in change. Please. Put it in a jar in your house, in the ashtray of your car, up your nose, I don’t care. Just TAKE THE DAMN CHANGE!!! And if you do reject the legal tender being offered you and insist on rooting through the black hole you carry on your shoulder until you finally find the right amount, don’t look at all of the people in line behind you for vindication. No one there is impressed you had exact change. In fact, they all hate you.
And staying on the subject of purses for a moment:
- Madam”Let Me Just Put This All Away”: So after the change has been found (or the coupon, or wallet, or bank card, or ice pick for my temple) everything that was removed from the purse has to be put back. Right there. At the front of the line. Without moving out of the way enough for anyone else to proceed. Another tip: When the cashier says “May I help the next person?” they are saying to you ,”Your time is up, you pain in the ass. Move it!”
- The Completely Unprepared Customer: I love this one, because it takes a special kind of stupid to achieve. The line is long, everyone has been waiting for a while, yet this person manages to be surprised by the act of buying something when it is their turn. The wallet is still in the pocket, the item to be bought on the floor between their feet as they peruse Soap Opera Digest (Luke and Laura the second time around just isn’t as exciting somehow, is it?), the decision between the Twix bar or the Teriyaki Jerky still unmade. I have to ask this person, how did you miss the lead-up? We were all here, all in line at the same time, sharing the pain. How in God’s name did….? Forget it. You’re out. Really. Leave the line. And never try to buy anything again. You might hurt yourself.
And my all time number one offender:
- Mr. “I’ll Take two Free-For-All’s, two Gold Mine’s and a Lucky Jackpot”: All I want to do is buy a gallon of milk and go home. The guy in front of me looks like he is doing the same. All is well. Then, it happens. He looks behind the counter, past the clerk to the clear plastic dispenser filled to the brim with scratch tickets. Now, the lotto is fine, but I think everyone knows that the odds are pretty bad, even on the small stakes games, so I would imagine the difference between one 2 dollar ticket and the next is pretty minimal except for the stupid ways they dress it up to try and make it seem as if you’re doing something more than rubbing paper with a coin. So just say,”Three 2 dollar tickets, please.” No. That’s not how it works. Minute after excruciating minute is spent deciding between the one that has you scratch off little footballs and one that has you scratch off little pots o’ gold. And after you have made this life altering decision, you’re going to stand there and play them, aren’t you, on the off chance that you win so you can buy some more tickets. Right there, in front of me, as the expiration date on my gallon of milk ticks ever closer until, when you are finally finished, I am now holding a gallon of cottage cheese.
We have little enough time to accomplish our menial tasks in this day and age, so I ask…no I beg anyone who thinks they fit one or more of the categories above; stay home. For the love of all that’s holy, don’t go in the store. Shop online. It’s so convenient. And nowhere near me.