Groans, Giggles & Groceries

This is NOT a paid post.

I love my local Safeway store.  It is clean, easy to navigate, the prices are competitive (locally) and the people who work there are great.  Now if I could just get the other customers to vacate the store, I might actually enjoy shopping.

I stood in the produce department staring at the things in my cart and trying to remember what was on my shopping list, which I had left at home.  A stock clerk walked up to me.  He said, “May I help you with anything today?”

“Yes,” I answered.  “You can tell me what was on my grocery list so I won’t go home having forgotten something.”

The clerk grinned at me.  “Oh that’s easy, ma’am.  Just buy at least one of everything and you’ll have it covered.” He pointed toward the front of the store.  ” Should I get you another cart?”

I answered, “If it’s all the same to you, I’ll just try to fit everything I need in the cart I have.”

He shrugged and told me to suit myself.

~*~

I arrived at the check out stand.  Another woman was there ahead of me.  She was talking on the phone while the clerk rang up her groceries.  I grabbed a gossip rag to read the headlines while I waited.  Turns out the action in the store was much more scandalous and riveting.

The cashier said, “That will be $127.83, ma’am.”

The woman on the phone replied, “Excuse me, I’m talking.”

The cashier looked startled.  She looked at the groceries.  She looked at me.  She looked at the woman in front of her.  “Ma’am, there are people behind you.”

Phone woman replied, “Let them wait.”

The cashier gave the woman a “Hello!” type look.  Phone woman turned her back on the cashier and continued her phone conversation.  The cashier said, “Ma’am, I am going to cancel out this transaction and wait on the customers behind you.  We can ring your groceries up again when you’re ready to pay for them.”

The woman turned around and glared at the cashier.  She spoke carefully and angrily into her phone, “I am sorry, there seems to be a problem here that needs my attention.  I’ll get back to you.”  She dropped her phone into her purse, leaned toward the cashier and said, “Get. Me. Your. Manager. Now.”

The cashier said, “Certainly ma’am,” and picked up the courtesy phone.  The manager arrived immediately.  He said, “Is there a problem here?”

The woman pointed at the cashier.  “That girl is rude.”

The manager looked at the cashier, who said, “The lady had an important phone call.  She wished to pay for her groceries after completing it, so I told her I would cancel the pending transaction and wait on the people behind her, then we could ring her groceries up again when she was ready to pay for them.”

The manager nodded his head, turned back to the woman and said, “That is our policy.”

The woman said, “You mean to tell me you can’t wait three minutes for a simple phone call?”

The manager said, “We have an obligation to be fair to all of our customers ma’am.  Do you wish to purchase these groceries?”

The woman told him to do something with his groceries that I think is impossible, stuck her nose up in the air and  snarled over her shoulder as she was leaving, “I’m never shopping in this store again!”

The manager grinned and turned back to the cashier.  “Better for us if all customers like her shopped with the competition.”

~*~

Finally it was my turn.  As the cashier rang up my groceries a little boy drug a handbasket to the end of the counter.   Using both hands he hefted a huge box of cereal onto the conveyor belt.  He was barely tall enough to see over the counter, so he had to stand on his tippy-toes, open his huge brown eyes really wide and stick his tongue out to complete the task.  Next he hefted a half-gallon of orange juice, a bag of grapes, and then some bananas.  As he was hoisting a gallon of milk onto the counter I said to the cashier, “When he steps over here and whips out his debit card, check it really careful to make sure it didn’t come from Cracker Jacks.”

The cashier, probably still nervous from her previous encounter, started to giggle.  She couldn’t stop and clasped her hand over her mouth.  The little boy was joined by his mommy, who probably had some form of real money.

~*~

The clerk told me how much my groceries cost.  I swiped my debit card in the money machine.  The box-boy stepped up and started bagging my groceries.

The cashier looked up at him and said, “John, what are you doing here?”

John froze, looked at the loaf of bread in his hand and said, “Uh, bagging groceries?”

The clerk asked, “But why?”

John, still looking bewildered said, “Uh, ‘cuz I work here?”

The clerk said, “But John, when I came in they gave me my register assignment and this note right here.  See what it says?”  She handed him a postcard-sized piece of paper that had, John called in sick today, written on it.  John took the card and stared at it.  He still had that blank look on his face.

I said, “Just a tip, John, but next time you call in sick, don’t show up for work.”

John, still bewildered, answered, “I didn’t call in sick.  Should I go home?”

And again the cashier dissolved in a fit of giggles.

~*~

John finished bagging my groceries, the clerk caught her breath and began scanning the little boy’s things.  She said to me, “My whole day has been like this.”

I said to her, “Maybe it’s your deodorant.”

The last I saw of her she was laughing and wiping tears from her eyes.