I go to the market several times a week. And several times a week, I waste a few more of my precious hours on earth, grinding my teeth and forcing a smile like a Valium-addled 1950's housewife.
Problem one? The customers. I am surrounded by the sort of people who have never bought groceries before. They dicker over prices, they run back for "just one more item" right as they are being rung up, they fail to notice when their purchase is complete and gawp at the cashier. Note: in our capitalistic society money is exchanged for goods and services.
Moreover, every line has the Complainer. This person sighs loudly, shifts, nestles their way into your personal space, and whines their way through the entire grocery purchase procedure. The Complainer often fails to realize that their actions are having the opposite effect of what they intended: instead of speeding things up, time slows to a slurping crawl.
Problem two? The cashiers. Now, I believe all honest work has dignity. And anyone who can wear a smock and stand on their feet all day is worthy of my respect. But heavens.
Thursday, I was stuck with a Food Molester. This woman, who was clearly new to the grocery game, felt she had to manhandle every item in my basket. I spent my walk home imagining a sort of vegetative group therapy, in which the produce section wept over its collective deflowering. The cilantro accused the cashier of date rape, the tomatoes got a sultry spanking, and the green onions will never be the same.
Sunday, however, was a topper. Wow. I ran in for some flour, saw a short "Express" line, and was ready to go. However, just as I was about to be rung up, a uniformed Safeway employee butted in front of me. "Oh, I was here before," she said, breezily and to the opposite of all evidence and logic. She then spent ten minutes arguing with her fellow cashier over the prices of various products. (I would think someone who worked there would already know this stuff.) I had lemon bars to speed-produce, my boss' party to attend, and a boyfriend waiting patiently in the parking lot.
"Look, I'm sorry, but I'm in a terrible rush, can we speed this up somehow?"
Answer: a synchronized pop of gum, two sets of rolled eyes, and the sarcastic slowness of four hands doing a Happy Hands Club wave of helplessness.
My options are pretty limited. I could stop eating entirely. That's the cheapest route, for sure. I could go to a different grocer, except for that whole thing where I don't have a car. I could order groceries for delivery. Or, I could complain about it on my blog, ask for your stories, and feel just a bit better.
I think I'll take the last option. In the comments, tell me your most painful tale of grocery woe.
PS - As some of you know where I live, please avoid giving out the name of my neighborhood. Stalking is not very awesome. Also, if a flood of would-be stalkers comes to my Safeway, the lines will be that much longer. Thanks.