FooDaddy’s post about the store made me think of some of my own experiences, along with the fact that things always seem to go wrong for me in stores. I will see people I don’t wish to see and belatedly attempt to duck into the cosmetics department. These people always see me and I will be forced to carry on an incredibly awkward conversation.
There will be a long pause, during which we will stare at our feet or glance off to the side and pretend to be engrossed in reading the labels on jars of facial cream. At last, one of us will say,
“Well, I should be getting along.”
“Yeah, me too.”
As you can see, dear readers, I hate these kinds of situations. I can’t say that I am a particularly accomplished conversationalist to begin with, but under fire, I become even more inept. If I am comfortable, I can talk about stuff I know and bluff my way through stuff I don’t, but words flee me at the most inopportune moments, it seems, and leave yours truly with no choice but to examine ingredient labels.
Once I manage to extricate myself from the clutches of this unwanted personage, I go about my business, all the while thinking of all the clever things that I should have thought to say at the time, but didn’t. Locating the proper department, I search for the item in question and find it, only to discover that there are approximately 72,000 varieties. The difficulty of deciding which one to buy is exceeded only by the completion of a three week trek across the Sahara with no liquid refreshments. Given a choice, I’ll take the Sahara, Gatorade or no Gatorade. Since I am not given the option, however, I must choose from this plethora of items.
At first, I attempt to approach the task with some sort of logic and analysis. Which one is cheaper? Which one is of a higher quality? Are there brand names for this item? Do I care if there is? Is there a sale on a particular brand? If there is a sale, are there any items of that brand left on the shelf? In my case, probably not. At last, I give up and simply swipe the nearest item, whether it’s the one I need or not, and head to check out.
I arrive at the checkout lanes only to discover that the shortest line stretches for miles and circles the store several times. I am tempted to shoplift, but remind myself that stealing is naughty. Sighing, I force myself to remain in line behind a very large, odorous woman with three screaming, sticky, evil children, who are clamoring for every bauble and trinket in sight. The woman yells at them to shut up and, like good children, they completely ignore her.
After several days of this torture, I can see the checkout. The cashier rings up the woman in front of me, who promptly pulls out a stack of coupons the size of Mien Kampf and insists that the cashier scan each one and then double-checks to make sure it went through by peering at the screen and muttering,
“Huh, thought it’d be more off’n that!”
At last, the cashier finishes scanning the coupons and the items and gives the woman her total. The customer looks shocked and assumes an attitude of rage, but at last brings out her check book. Apparently, the woman inscribes her checks with some sort of calligraphy, because it takes her a full thirty minutes to fill out the check.
Finally, it is my turn and I stagger to the lane and plop my one measly item down on the conveyor belt. The conveyor is, of course, broken and the cashier reaches down and grabs the item in disgust. She scans it and then discovers that her machine is out of paper. Now I must wait another hour while she locates another roll of paper, installs it incorrectly, curses, reinstalls it, calls a manager, curses him, then finally gets the machine in sufficient working order to ring me up and give me my total. I hand over the money and grasp the small bag containing my purchase and flee as quickly as possible from the building.
As I am on the way out the automatic doors, which do not open quickly enough, causing me to walk into them face-first, the bottom of the bag bursts and the item falls to the concrete and breaks. Much like FooDaddy, I give up in despair and go home empty-handed.
“Where’s the item?” my wife asks.
“At the store. Where it will stay.” I walk to my computer and I will remain there for the rest of the day.