Life Lessons Learned In the Express Lane
As many of you probably know, I work as a cashier down to the A&P. (Actually, it’s been “Super Food World” for at least five years now, but everyone ‘round here still calls it the A&P.) So anyways, I’ve been a cashier since before I graduated high school, and let me tell you, I’ve seen it all.
I know who’s doing the cabbage soup diet or who’s on Weight Watchers, who has a Ben & Jerry’s habit, who’s been drinking too much Bud Light, who’s reading National Enquirer and who buys Playboy. I can’t name names, of course, because of the Super Food World Cashier’s Code of Ethics. But let’s just say, most of the time, I know what’s cooking in Mahoosuc Mills.
In my opinion, how people act in a grocery store is a good indication of how they live their life. For example, let’s say we got a pyramid of navel oranges over in produce and somebody takes one from the middle, and that whole pile of oranges starts to spill on the floor. Does that person walk away, pretending they had nothing to do with the spill? Do they report it and let someone else deal with it, or do they try to put it to rights? Does the bystander seeing this whole thing happening move on by, not wanting to get involved? Or does that bystander give the culprit a dirty look and report them? You get the idea.
Now, they say “the eyes are the mirror of the soul.” But I got to tell you, from the cashier’s point of view, there’s no better place to size up someone’s personality than the express lane.
“Fourteen items or less,” to most people means just that: enough stuff to fit in a basket, right? It’s a courtesy to the rest of our shoppers. You got more items than that, you line up with the shopping cart people, OK? I knew my niece Caitlin’s boyfriend Adam was a keeper when I saw him counting the stuff in his basket, shake his head, and move over to a regular register. (This was before he knew I was her Aunt, so he wasn’t doing it just to impress me.)
There are special circumstances, of course. You know, there’s a long line at all the other registers, and you have more than fourteen items and you’re in a hurry, so you stand in the express lane, sweating a little, feeling guilty. But you need to get home to cook dinner and get Sally off to band practice. Who hasn’t been there? Long as this doesn’t happen every week, I’m willing to let it slide.
But how about those chronic offenders? Folks who read “Fourteen items or less” as “Fourteen kinds of items or less.” We’ve all been behind these guys. In their heads, they’re counting twelve Light N Lively yogurts as one item. So there’s the twelve yogurts, two half gallons of milk, six lean cuisine frozen dinners, four cans of cat food, three one-liter bottles of diet root beer and nine other items which somehow adds up to fourteen.
In my opinion, if the IRS wants to know who’s probably cheating on their taxes, all they have to do is hang around the express lane. “Nuff said.
That’s it for now. Catch you on the flip side!
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