I believe in the unconscious, but I have to say that I prefer the conscious. They pay more attention, if you know what I mean. The cashier at the grocery store on Saturday, for example? She was unconscious.
A friend and I decided to put together a taco pizza, so off we went to the grocery store, happily picturing our soon to be meal in our heads. When you have friends over to cook, eating while you’re cooking is part of the fun, so we picked up a bunch of snacks, as well. Pretty soon, our shiny wagon was filled to the point of almost bursting with all sorts of figure-ruining things.
We balanced the overstuffed wagon between the isles and towards the checkout line, still eager to sink our teeth into its content. Operating the cash machine, a bit like a seagull picking on a dead fish, was a teenaged girl with black mascara smeared underneath her eyes which in turn were almost hidden under dishwater blonde hair.
Every pin-code she fed into the registry was acknowledged by a short *beep*, as it should be, with a few exceptions. The first was my see-through bag of rolls.
“How many?” asked racoon-girl and held it up in the air.
“I forget,” I said. “Count them, dumbass,” my inner voice added.
It turned out to be five, and I can understand that she needed to ask. Five is, after all, a difficult number.
A couple more beeps later, she picks up yet another bag. Paper, this time.
“What’s in here?” she asked. The word "Figs" were written on it in capital letters just above a picture of… Guess what! Figs. Also, it was partly transparent, so that you could clearly see the content, which matched the picture perfectly. At this point, I felt like saying something rude. However, my friend cut in, answering the girls question. My inner voice did have some things to say, of course, but I won’t repeat them here.
Then came the small can of corn which I found sitting by itself on a shelf with all the other canned goods. The registry refused to beep at it. Simply refused. As the girl fixed her gaze at me once more, I could feel my patience packing up its stuff and making a run for it. I wondered how she’d react if I were to reach across the counter and slap her.
“Was this part of a pack of three?” she asked. I answered (surprised at how patient and polite I sounded) that I really didn’t know. It had been sitting on the shelf by itself. The seagull reached under the counter to ring a buzzer. Then we waited (and waited, and waited) until the store manager turned up. Mascara-face asked her about the can of corn, and she went off to check. When she returned, she smiled and explained to me that “this particular can came from a pack of three such cans which cost so-and-so, blablabla, so that a single can would cost me this much”. As if I gave a damn. I smiled politely, and said thank you. My inner voice used much more colourful phrasings.
After what seemed like a small eternity, our groceries were finally paid for and we were given one – one – bag to pack them into. You know that trick that they do in circuses where they see how many clowns they can stuff into a mini? It was a bit like that. And there was no way that we could fit all of our clowns into that tiny, little bag. We tried asking seagull-head for another bag, but she overheard us. So we were forced to get creative, stuffing groceries into our handbags and pockets.
I hate doing my grocery shopping in Hellhole…
Pic by Wallula Junction for www.Flickr.com