So, it’s been a few years now but I really would like to share this story. It was Thanksgiving and we were with out oysters. It is a huge custom to have single fried oyster for Thanksgiving as well as the traditional turkey, stuffing, and sweet potato pie. I was in formed that a local grocery was actually open that morning, that the grocery would have oysters, and that I should go get them. Two pints of oysters. How hard could this be.
Pulling into the parking lot of the local grocery it occurred to me the folly of my expectations of simplicity in this mission. I do not fair well with crowds and the cars, trucks, and SUVs jockeying for position reminded me of a demolition derby reminiscent of the 1960s. I had not even put my vehicle into “park” and my patience was shot.
Two pints of oysters. Two items. I would get in and out through the express lane and be able to by pass all these procrastinating lazy butt-holes who had not planned accordingly. Walking into the store I noticed the express lane was only one of three lanes open... and everyone had forgot only a few items. Well, at least the line would move proper and quickly; let’s just hope no one wants to pay by check.
I quickly maneuvered to the back of the market where meats and seafoods are displayed. The place was swarming with people... do people really not plan ahead better than this? I grabbed my two pints of oysters and did my best wall-walk-pace back to the Express Lane. Counting the person in front of me, I arrived to the back of the line as the sixth customer to be helped next. To my dismay, the older lady at the register was indeed conducting her commerce with a check... A CHECK IN THE EXPRESS LANE!!! To me that is just counter efforts in efficiency.
My new found irritation leads to my speculation that perhaps customers 1 through 5 might not be so much into stream lined efficiency either. Perhaps they might be so unscrupulous as to try and have “extra” items in the “express lane”. I take note of the sign posted high over head and the hand written sign posted eye level at the cashiers station for all to see: “Express Lane: 12 Items or Less”.
Customer number 1, the next to be helped, has his two 12 packs of Miller Lite and a couple odds and ends already on the counter. He also has cash in hand and I am pleased to see that although he may be a drunk (nothing wrong per se) he does understand “express”.
The next customer in line is a young woman with a full sized cart, but I can not see any items and she does have a small child seated in the front of the cart. Children running around the store uncontrolled sends me into a-”whole”-nother type of aggravation; right up there with waiting in lines. I actually commend her on taking the time to seat her child just to grab a few items forgotten.
Behind the young mother was #3. I would say #3 was perhaps in his early to mid 60s. He stood about 5 foot 8 and the years had given him a healthy mid-section but he wasn’t fat. Balding, with glasses, he reminded me of Rick Moranis’ character in “GhostBusters” , Louis Tully after he had aged about 35 years and let life run him over. #3 had (2) two-liter bottles of Pepsi and a can of cranberry sauce. Noted.
The lady behind #3 actually moved to one of the other lanes in hopes of getting out quicker. That tactic never works for me. But good riddance to her and 6 items in the basket she carried.
That put me right behind a family of three (siblings? spouses? uncle-daddies?). These were and still remain some of the most fowl smelling peoples I have ever come across. Maybe that’s why that lady moved lanes? The stench was nearly overwhelming and I couldn’t help notice soap was not among their five items. They stunk, but it looked as though the line should move smoothly and quickly.
Then it happened. As the bonafide drunk was being giving his change, I notice the young mother begin to unload her cart onto the counter of the express lane (12 items or less). I stopped counting at 18... She knew this was wrong. She looked back twice to #3 and on the second glance mentioned she was sorry. The young female cashier had already started ringing up the mother’s items. #3 attempted to comfort the young mother by noting that she could count her 8 whip toppings as one item and her 10 six packs of soda as another item. I could stand no more.
“BULLSHIT! I don’t care if you do count those multiple items as just two she still has at least 20 things up there!”
Not only are all the members of the Express Lanes’ customers and employees starring at me now, so are most the person in the grocery store. #3 actually glares at me. The cashier continues to ring up the young mothers items and cash her out... she pays by card. #3 pays for his things and leaves the store. As the stinky folk are being rung-up at the cash register, the store’s manager approaches the Express Lane and asks if their is a problem.
I inform the manager she is about 3 minutes too late and we discuss store policy of the Express Lane which gets me no where. I pay for my things and exit the store. #3 is waiting for me.
“Can I ask you something?” he asks.
“You just did, but please continue,” I smile.
His disgust is very apparent and I immediately wonder how much intestinal fortitude this meager example of a man must have had to gumption up in order to confront me... or maybe I am not very intimidating. #3 inquires, “Why do have to be like that?”
I can’t help myself, “Like what?”
“Ah,” his frustration he can not hide, “like an ASSHOLE!?!”
“Really?” I counter, “What makes me an asshole? Because I follow the rules just like you and it drives me nuts when others think themselves special and presume you will concur.”
“It’s Thanksgiving and she...”
“She had more than twice the allowed number of items for the express lane and I am in a hurry.” I cut #3 quick, “I followed the rules as did you, Sir with your (2) two liters of Pepsi and a can of cranberry sauce. Why do you have to be such a push-over?”
He threw his free hand in the air as he started for his car. In a moment of more than likely uncharted bravery, #3 turned back around to look at me from thirty feet across the parking lot and exclaimed, “You really need your ass kicked!”
He then got in his Chrysler Town and Country Mini-van and drove off... people.