Saturday, February 03, 2007

Don’t Want to Shop ‘Til You Drop

As a kid I would become spastic when Mom pulled the station wagon into the driveway upon returning from her weekly food shopping spree. I’d help carry the bags until to I got to the Ring Dings or Chips Ahoy, then I was just rendered useless as I fed my sugar Jones. I was like the crack addict who needed a fix and just found it, and now it was time to kick back and chill. Unless of course, the fridge had no milk, then I would race back to the driveway to help again, like the crack addict missing a lighter or matches.

On occasion I would go to the supermarket with my parents, I still remember the open Brach’s candy Lazy Suzan and how my sister and I used to load up our pockets when the folks weren’t looking. There were no express lanes or self checkout. Back then you weren’t the checker’s little helper having to bag groceries. You stood in line with every other slug and waited to check out; whether you had five items or fifty. Sure you might get lucky and some nice old lady would let you go first because you only had a handful of items and she had many, but then you’d be screwed because Mom would make sure you carried the old bag’s bags to her car, which she could never find right away and smelled like wet cat.

Since customers never bagged their own shit back in the day, Mom had time to scan the ‘People’ magazine or ‘The National Inquirer’ while in line. And you had time to nag Mom into buying that Nestle's Crunch bar.

The checker was a real multi-tasker; both collecting cash and bagging. The checkers were skilled with math and physics. They could make change in seconds without the verbal mathematics of the today’s checkers. I wish they wouldn’t count aloud back to me the amount that I just handed them, “and five makes forty”…I can count just fine, and I’ve already ascertained my expected change before you Sparky, and unlike you I kept my shoes on the whole time. So just save the countdown for New Year’s Eve.

The physics skills were evident in the bagging process; unlike today. The old schoolers had the smarts to know bread shouldn’t be the first item in the bag…followed by the gallon of milk. Hey Sparky- ice cream first, then the grapes, not the other way around…you’re high right now aren’t you?

One last thing… twelve items or less mean exactly that. Not thirteen, sixteen, or thirty, just twelve and hopefully less. The express lane ceases to have the efficiency to warrant the name “express” when you are unloading from not one but two shopping carts. I’m in just as big a hurry to get home as you Tons-O-Fun. That’s why I only have eight things in my cart. I was hoping to EZ-Pass it right out of here today, but no.

I think they should eliminate the twelve items or less express lane. It should be the “hand basket” only lane…no shopping carts allowed. Anything you can wedge into that 2’x2’ Little Red Riding Hood basket with those sisspot handles is fair game. It shows your commitment if you are willing to sacrifice a few eggs to speed things up. I gotta respect that.

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