Sunday, July 17, 2005

How To Beat Pensioners With A Frozen Ham

Well, today was a fun day.

You see, the wife’s vacation paycheck arrived (Woo hoo! Extra check! There’s a trip to Carowinds or Six Flags in our near future).

Of course, there was more important business to take care of first. Namely picking up the reserved copy of the new Harry Potter book.

Now our usual routine is, she goes to work at 10.30pm, gets home at around 8am, then we sleep until about 2pm, then go do whatever we need to do.

Not today.

You see, I’d describe myself as a Harry Potter fan. My wife is a slavering fan-girl. It’s pretty much all she’s talked about for the past two weeks. So we (read ‘she’) decides that she’ll come home, pick me up, and off we’ll go to the Haywood mall.

I agreed, not that I had much choice, because I wanted to go to Walmart and buy a printer. (Lexmark 4400dpi printer for $20, what a deal!…yeah, I know I’ll get totally shafted on ink later on, but it’s better than the steam powered, dot matrix tank I normally use).

However, before we can do any of this, the wife needs her paycheck cashed, first.

Now it’s Saturday, and the banks aren’t open, so we head to the Bi-lo. Their check cashing service doesn’t open until 9am. We have an hour to wait.

So we try Ingles. The sign on the door says, and I quote:

“We are happy to cash payroll checks with a purchase and two forms of ID!”

Great! I think. We can buy a pack of gum, and off we go!

Unfortunately, it turns out that the people at Ingles are, and this is a technical term, complete and utter lying bastards.

They are, indeed, happy to cash your check, but they will only cash it if we spend a certain (large) amount of the check in the store. In other words, if we buy all our groceries there, they’re willing to give us about $10 change.

Se we head home, wait for an hour, and go back to Bi-Lo.

Now this next part passes pretty much without incident. We get the check cashed, pick up the book, grab a bite to eat and head to Walmart.


Have you ever been to Walmart on a Saturday?

Imagine 50lbs of humanity in a 2lb box. It’s crammed in there! Anyway, I pull a small boy’s arm off to use as a bludgeon to fight my way through the crowd, grab my printer off the shelf and head to the checkout.

Now the checkout at Walmart is truly a sight to behold. There’s hundreds of them, three deep, enough checkout capacity to deal with a fairly large continent at once.

However, they only ever staff about three of them.

You walk up, see the myriad checkout stations gleaming before you, full of promise…before noticing that only two or three of them are staffed, apparently with shaved monkeys.

Now I’m not going to use the old cliché here. You know the one:

‘Why is the line you’re in always the slowest, and if you change lanes, the one you were in starts moving a lot quicker!”

I won’t use this, because it isn’t true. It just seems that way. You only notice waiting when you’re actually waiting. When you just dart in and out, it doesn’t register.

No, what I want to know is why every single time I’m in a checkout queue, the person ahead of me wants to pay with a check, and appears to have the mental capacity of a small slice of fruitcake…without the fruit…or the cake.

The other thing is, if I’m in a queue, and have an entire months groceries in my cart, and the person behind me has a pack of gum and a Pepsi, I’ll let them cut in ahead of me. It’s my good deed for the day, and whereas I’ll keep him waiting for 15 minutes, he’ll only keep me waiting for less than a minute.

I am the only person in the world who appears to do this.

This also highlights the rest of my fellow queue-dwellers complete lack of basic mathematic skills.

I once had an old lady go absolutely ballistic because I let the person directly behind me ahead of me. Despite the fact the there were still the same number of people ahead of her, with the same number of items, I had apparently committed an atrocity. Unfortunately, I am also a polite person, so try to explain the situation, rather than scream “Shut the f**k up, you old, daft bitch!”…which is what I really want to do.

However, trying to explain anything to someone like that is like trying to teach advanced calculus to a puppy…there’s no point, and just annoys both of you.

Now myself, being a rational, almost normal human being, therefore owning more than a single brain cell and more than one functioning synapse, would use the following protocol if I was paying with a check.

While waiting in the line, I would take out my checkbook. I would then proceed to fill out the check, with the name of the store and my signature. I would find my check card, and have it ready.

That way, when I am informed of the price of my purchases, all I have to do is write in the amount, and be on my way.

Rational, no?

However, the actual process used seems to be as follows:

1) Wait in line while complaining in a very loud voice about how long everything is taking.
2) Be facing entirely the wrong way, talking into a mobile phone when the checkout becomes free.
3) Completely ignore the murderous stares of the rest of the queue dwellers, as you continue to talk on the phone, while absent mindedly emptying your buggy one item at a time, averaging about 2 items per minute. Everyone else can just wait, talking to Maureen about HRT is important!
4) Make the cashier tell you the price about thirty times, while still talking on the phone.
5) Challenge the price, while quoting a 50% off sale that ended some time in 1973. Don’t pay any attention to logic, and the fact that the coupon you’re brandishing has “SALE ENDS 10.10.1973”, doesn’t enter into it. Feel free to accuse the store of racism, ageism, sexism and just plain trying to rip you off.
6) Demand to see the manager.
7) Argue with manager. Clutch your coupon like it’s a life-raft, and completely ignore anything that puts you in the wrong. If it doesn’t agree with you, it’s wrong and doesn’t exist.
8) Make everyone wait, as the entire order is voided and has to be restarted, because despite the fact you claim to personally know the Head Manager, the President and Almighty God, who will definitely fire the manager if he doesn’t give you your way, has put his foot down.
9) Smirk as the pissed off sales assistant has to carry the 87” Wide-Screen High Def TV, that you argued only cost 17 cents, back to the shelf.
10) Take another phone call.
11) Search purse for checkbook, making sure that you instantly put ever bit of crap you pull out of your purse directly back in. Pull the same pieces of crap out multiple times..
12) Get asked for check card. Argue for 15 minutes that you don’t need a check card, and say ‘I’ve never need a checkcard before!’ Do this, even if you have your check card in your hand. After all, they don’t really need it. The cashier on minimum wage just likes to argue. They are just trying to inconvenience you, and are quite capable of accepting your out-of-state, third party check without any form of ID whatsoever!
13) Demand to speak to manager.
14) Argue with manager for 20 minutes, while still holding a conversation on the phone.
15) Search for check card, while still insisting you don’t need it. Feel free to call the Manager a Racist, Sexist bastard…even if he or she is that same race and sex as you.
16) Search for reading glasses to fill out check.
17) Write check, make mistake, write another check…being sure to take a further 20 minutes to log in checkbook that the previous check was destroyed…never, ever just write new check and wait to log the destroyed check in the car. Everyone can wait, the cashier gets paid for it, and everyone else is obviously a whole lot less important than you.
18) Put everything back in purse, exposing large wad of cash, that could have saved a lot of time and trouble.
19) Spend a further 20 minutes arguing with the cashier about the ‘terrible service’
20) Demand to see the manager.
21) Argue with manager about terrible service.
22) Demand Cashier be fired and a 99% discount on all your purchases. After all, they had the sheer audacity to charge you the correct amount for your purchases, and follow state law
23) Tear up check, leave your buggy in the aisle and stamp out of the shop in disgust.
24) Try and make it to your car, before everyone in the queue behind you beats you to death with a selection of frozen meats.
25) Go home and wait for your spouse to finally snap and beat you to death with your own shoes.

Now imagine going through that, when you haven’t slept for over 24 hours.

I heard a story once about a friend of my step-sons, who finally had enough in a fast food place (where he worked) and hurled a 70oz drink at a customer.

I can completely understand why he did it.

1 comment:

MC Etcher said...

I unfortunately agree with everything you wrote.

Because unfortunately, it's true.

I had high hopes for the self-checkout, but they're still pretty hit or miss, too.