Saturday, August 14, 2010

Another register 12 rant.

Well, there I was at register 12 again at about 4:30 this afternoon. You know register 12 at Walmart - the "speedy express" line for folks with 20 or fewer items. I had only 7 items today so naturally I went there. In fact, I always go there because the chances of my fitting 20 items in my canvas bag hanging around my neck and not needing spinal traction are very slim.

Directly in front of me was a black couple with about 30 items in one basket but they put them into two separate smaller piles separated by one of those black plastic dividers  so as not to violate the 20 item limit.

Now, ahead of them actually interacting with the cashier were two women and 4 kids. From their appearances, dress, and accents, they were almost certainly Indian immigrants. They were buying school supplies for the kids.  Maybe 20-25 items.

Here's the frosting. The one woman, just before I got into line, had spread out at least two hundred coins of all different denominations on the conveyor belt. She then had the audacity to glower at the hapless cashier who was laboriously picking up and counting the coins one-by-one and obviously not fast enough to suit the maharani.

After she finally got through counting and drawering all of the coins, it turns out that the coins were not sufficient to pay the bill. No problem - they had credit or debit cards. Unfortunately, they were all apparently issued by First Hindu of New Delhi because not one of the four proffered cards would actually work - after multiple tries with each card, of course!

So, after all that, the one woman whips out a wad of twenties from which she covers the few dollars the coins were short by.

Elapsed time that I observed: 20 minutes.

Likely total elapsed time: at least 25 minutes.

When I got to the register, I told the clerk, a lady I deal with frequently, that that one was surely going onto my blog. She then said that they have a machine in the store you can dump a load of coins into and it will give you back folding money for a charge of 8 cents on the dollar.

But, what the hell, surely the value of the time of all of us lower-caste, native-born Walmart shoppers could not exceed 8 cents on the dollar, could it?

Apparently, the psychology of the clods who do this kind of thing is that if they know they have some problem that is going to take longer than usual to check out, the logical thing to do is go to the speedy check out to make THEIR  problem get resolved faster - to hell with everyone with cash or cards that work and in a hurry.

Do you have a favorite checkout story you would like to share?


Pollyanna said...

If you had gone to one of the other check stands where you can check an unlimited number of items you would have probably encountered what I seem to always get behind: A person with a basket that is overflowing with items such as Little Debbie cakes, frozen pizzas, expensive convenience foods, sugary sodas and cereals...there are a few healthy items that get seperated out such as cheese and juice...the healthy items are paid for with special WIC coupons...that is one transaction...then the remainder of the $200 to $300 worth of junk food is paid for with a "Peach Card" which is the modern day version of food stamps. I resent seeing how the taxpayers money is wasted on items that are high priced and lack nutrition. I don't mind helping a person who is down but they should only be allowed to purchase staple items such as beans, rice, cheese, bread, sugar, flour, milk etc. I don't spend my hard earned money on these high priced items and I don't think others should be allowed to purchase them on the backs of their hard working neighbors.

Jay Moreno said...

On the one hand, I'm glad to know there is at least one WIC user who does NOT go to register 12.

I've made the same observations for years. Back in the 70's, when I was a starving college student and food stamps had just come out,
there was one incident I'll never forget.

The woman in line ahead of me had a cart loaded about like you described. When the clerk informed her that she could not pay for the box ofcat food with food stamps, she turned to her daughter and said, "Sophronia, run back there and get mama" five pounds of ground beef.

Pollyanna said...

I have been married for 37 years and during that time, we have had some hard times but always made it through without getting public assistance...we have lived for a week at a time on pancakes and oatmeal...used baking soda for deoderant and toothpaste...cloth diapers instead of disposable...the pages of an old phone book instead of toilet paper and I have served grape jelly on soda crakers for a needless to say...I have no patience for this type of activity in the checkout line!