Thursday, March 20, 2008

Freaks and misadventure - part 2: The freaks

So where do you go when you need a good dose of freakdom to balance off the misadventure?

That’s right. The No Frills at Creditview and Bristol. I’d promised myself that my last visit here would be my last ever but you know how things are. This is the end of the line. I’d passed all the kinder gentler supermarkets when I realized I was in need of some yumblies and feeling optimistic, I dared take my chances at the little grocery shop of horrors.

While I was left personally unscathed I did have to witness a thicker display of boobdom than usual at the checkout – the 1-8 items only lane, of course. The actual names of this latest collection of spazoids to enrich my existence shall be respectfully masked by random aliases.

Up to bat at the register is Mr. Oblivious who pulls about fifty items from his shopping cart. The rest of us have baskets. Roughly forty of his items are cans of dog food. Mrs. Natterchops, maybe fifth in line and one ahead of me, watches with a keen eye and cleverly deciphers that fifty far eclipses eight on the counting scale.

“Hm!” she grunts. “That sure looks like more than eight items to me!”

Mr. Oblivious appears not to take notice.

She turns to me. “Maybe he doesn’t know how to count.” Then turning back around, says more loudly, “That must be it. He must not know how to count.”

I glance at the basket of produce in her hand. Like mine it contains six or seven items. But wait. Another basket lies on the floor at her feet, containing at least eight more items it seems, bringing her count to fourteen or more. Surely fourteen also eclipses eight according to any Judeo-Christian new-world counting scheme.

But now a new character arrives. It’s Mary McReservation and she drops a pack of butter tarts into the basket at Mrs. Natterchops’ feet and walks away again. My head tips forward. I gaze without expression at the abandoned tarts.

“Or maybe he just doesn’t know how to read!” Mrs. Natterchops barks. A couple pairs of eyeballs look her way but not those of Mr. Oblivious. He’s just daydreaming about his puppies I guess, and the International Gala Puppy Festival he’s to cater.

Mary McReservation returns with a giant breadstick in a white paper sleeve. A wise selection. She can use it to defend herself if Mrs. Natterchops audits her item count and goes for the jugular.

Finally, Mr. Oblivious, King of Canine Nutrition, moves along, followed by a couple others. Mary McReservation comes to bat with Mrs. Natterchops hanging back, ignoring the pretty red separator bars and placing her veggies at the mouth of the conveyor belt, wasting six square feet of space in front of her while my right arm stretches another inch.

Mary moves on, Natterchops is promoted and I approach. First I tackle the sea of randomly discarded baskets. I stack them all in a single tower, resisting the urge to squawk, “Maybe she doesn’t know how to stack!” I wouldn’t be heard anyway. Mrs. Natterchops is raking the young cashier over the coals.

“Why did you let that man use this lane! He had too many items! You shouldn’t have let him use this lane!”

‘Oh lady,’ I thought, ‘Just shut up and let her check out your tomatoes, will ya.’

[Editor’s note: We believe FWG is referring to actual tomatoes. Just be thankful she wasn’t purchasing melons.]

She really laid into the poor girl. “It’s your job to turn people away who have too many items!” Of all the dunderheadedness this was the one thing that offended me. Why you’d expect a cashier (never mind that she was half the age of the perpetrator), who makes a cashier’s wage, not a policeman’s wage, to take on the responsibility of policing the public is dumb enough. But thinking that as a customer, you can just walk into a commercial establishment and assume the role of owner/manager and start telling the staff what their job responsibilities are goes beyond stupid.

The cashier said nothing but looked uncomfortable. I really regret not speaking out in her defense. Instead I waited for Mrs. Natterchops to leave and said, “Just ignore my friend there. She’s on drugs.”

She didn’t seem comforted. Oh well.


Anonymous said...

Sigh. It's enough that you REGRET not speaking up. Thanks...

(In case anyone cares, I am a cashier who gets paid $12.55 p/h to get shit on by Natterchops' all the time.)

Kathleen said...

I worked at Burger King way back when and you'd be amazed at the number of customers who feel the need to tell us how to do our jobs. My favorite was the Complete Bitch who asked to see the manager and then proceeded to yell at Ruth telling her she needed to get on "the bitches and make them work." Meaning my fellow cashiers and me who were drying trays and laying fresh paper placemat on them. Guess she'd have preferred us to be on our knees scrubbing the floor and singing, "It's a hard luck life."