We are not a family that does grocery shopping for the week. I always see folks with carts filled to the brim with stuff, but I just can’t do it. Number one, that would require me to push a cart around the store, and I refuse to do that, if I can’t fit what I need into a basket then I’m buying too much. And second, I have no clue as to what I might want to eat two days from now, and neither does my husband. Typically, if I buy food that isn’t meant to be consumed within the following 48 hours, it doesn’t get eaten – it’ll just sit there, slowly expiring, until I toss it in the trash. This of course means that I probably go to the grocery store four or five times a week – I suppose it takes more time than doing one round where I load up on stuff, but I’m usually in and out in a few minutes so it isn’t all that bad.
More trips to the store, however, also means more possibilities to run into weirdos and assholes.
Yesterday I didn’t make it to the market until early afternoon, a terrible time to shop, as the store is always filled with Sunday cart loaders. It wouldn’t be so bad, except for all the people in the habit of leaving their cart in the middle of an aisle while they wander off to find ketchup or whatever, leaving others to push carts out of the way to get at stuff. And then there are the Siamese Shoppers, couples that don’t split up in order to divide and conquer the store as quickly as possible, and instead stay attached at the hip while having a long and drawn out conversation about whether they should get skim or two percent.
Anyway, I wove my way around to get what I needed and then jumped in line. In general, I accept the fact that, no matter what, I will always choose the wrong line – it saves me from a lot of unnecessary frustration. This time was no different. The person in front of me unloaded a salad onto the conveyor, put a stick down behind it, and then spent a great deal of time choosing a pack of gum. I didn’t think much about it, and set my stuff down behind his salad. The cashier immediately turned on the conveyor, moving his item down the way so she could scan it. Then the guy got his panties in a knot because, as it turned out, he still had a basket in his hand filled with groceries. So one by one he hands over his things to the cashier to ring up, bitching the whole time, and alternating dirty looks between me and the checker.
Meanwhile, the guy in line behind me was slowly building up to the world’s biggest conniption fit, because the man in front was taking so much time. He lined up his stuff into a compact formation, right behind the stick I put down. The entire time the dude in front of me was having a hissy fit, the one behind me was doing an antsy pants dance, and slowly pushed his items, and thus mine as well, forward onto the non-moving conveyor belt. Eventually he shoved everything so far forward that my items spilled off the belt, right in front of the cashier. By that time the grumpy man in front paid, gave one final harrumph at me and the checkout girl, and stomped off.
The cashier rang up my stuff, which didn’t take long as I only had three things, and then gave me the total. In the time it took for me to hand over the money and wait for my change, which was, oh, about ten seconds, the antsy man nearly blew his lid. It would have been funny, but he was literally about three inches away from me, and totally invading my personal bubble. Me putting my change away was the straw that broke the camel’s back, I guess, because he started making loud and insistent noises of disgust. I’m kind of surprised he didn’t explode. The moment I moved my wallet, he slammed down his backpack, triumphantly claiming the checkout line as his own.
Um, okay. I guess you win?
I walked to my car, wondering why people feel the need to freak out over absolutely nothing, and as I got in noticed a family directly across from me. For some unknown reason, one of them had on a horse head. They were all talking excitedly, a mile a minute, punctuated with hysterical laughter every ten seconds or so, and in general were having a grand time. It was totally awesome.
Thank God there are happy people out there to negate the dickery of other folks.