The Check Out Line:
Management should consider having more than one cashier when the line has reached the tire section. Or when customers start eating the rotisserie chickens – or each other – while waiting.
But you can help speed things up by having your ID and credit card ready. The little old ladies who wait until everything is rung up before searching their purse for money won’t make it here. I believe it’s called justifiable homicide.
And I do mean a credit card, by the way. Cash payers are idiots. Have you ever been stuck behind one when they don’t have enough cash? I did, but since he was two feet taller than me, and didn’t look like he appreciated good sarcasm, I kept my mouth shut.
And be efficient in how you place items on the check out conveyor belt. When packed snugly, they really don’t have to take up that much room. However, when placed end to end, the total length exceeds the distance from the earth to the sun.
The Parking Lot:
In the parking lot, try to keep out of the way of the moving cars, especially mine. So don’t walk down the middle of the lane. I'd hate for you to get run over, because an ambulance would block my way to the exit.
And yet paradoxically, don’t stand directly behind a car that’s backing out of a spot. You could get run over twice – once by me backing out, and then again when I complete my turn. It might look suspicious.
I’m ambivalent about where to return your cart. You can return it to the corral, or leave it near your car. Either way works. Just don’t leave it behind my car.
In From the Cold:
On the drive home, you begin to relax. The satisfaction for having finished your Christmas shopping, or securing needed supplies for your family has washed over you.
But just then, you slam on the brakes because the driver in front of you maneuvers his car much like he pushes his cart. The apple pie you so carefully secured atop the cat litter is sliding off and landing top down on your back seat, where you threw that bottle of conditioner. The pump breaks through the pie’s protective cellophane and squirts a repeat rinse’s worth directly below the crust. But that doesn’t matter, because the pie filling is now easing its way into the fabric of your back seat. The loaf of bread that rested atop the pie has fallen next to the cat litter, which has tipped over, and landed on top of it. The bread is now in its original dough shape and size before baking. (Note to self: Try microwaving to restore to original size.)
But it’s okay. That stuff was just blocking your view through the back windshield anyway. It’s now time to go home and bask in the warmth of your family’s gratitude.
There’s no spot in front of the house. You’ll have to double park, or walk half a block with your neighbors getting an intimate view of your toiletries. You double park.
You gallantly grab the heaviest item – the 50 pound sack of dog food - before the rest of the family comes out to help.
Your wife greets you lovingly:
“That’s the wrong dog food.”
But it’s all academic now, because the dog just ran past you into the busy street. For some reason, you’re okay with this.
“I needed shampoo, not conditioner,” your daughter says, as she runs past you, after the dog. (Your son didn’t want either, especially in his favorite pie.) You admit to yourself that she may have mentioned this to you. Your wife and son follow her, muttering words like douchebag, jackass, and nitwit, but they are soon drowned out by screeching breaks, yelling and barking. The epithets resume but this time they are directed at a driver who took umbrage at the dog crossing against the light. You decide that it’s the dog food that requires your immediate attention. Once you’ve brought that in, you get the beer, then the cat litter, the copy paper and finally the four cases of soda. Your wife, son and daughter return with the dog. One of them grabs the napkins.
“You remembered to pick up your favorite ice cream, right?” your wife asks. “Remember, we finished it last night?” Something in your expression tells her to put everything else away for you.
An hour or two later, you’re alone. They’ve all gone out for some reason. You finally sit down to relax when you notice a smell coming from the kitchen. The frozen chicken wings are still sitting on the counter, and they're beyond thawed - more like a soup, really. You want to clean up but can’t find any of the paper towels you just bought.
A few minutes later you look for a beer. You know you have 20 because only four hit the floor when the cardboard handle ripped. But there are none in the fridge. You do find the paper towels there, though. Your son later explains that there was no room for the paper towels in the pantry. Several days later, long after your urge for one has passed, you do find the beer – in the pantry.
Welcome home. Time to start a new list.