Friday, February 26, 2010

A Cautionary Tale

Many of you are already aware of my consistent failure to pick the best check-out line in any given store. I should actually restate this and say that many of you are aware of my consistent failure to pick any line besides the slowest, longest, and most complicated check-out line in any given store. If you are not in the know please check out this POST before proceeding.

I still have not learned my lesson.

There are new examples for my line-picking saga practically daily. Well, every time I pick a line to be exact. I take it in stride, and don't really think it merits an entire post just to say, "Yep, it happened again." But yesterday was a new one for me.

I ran to the grocery store for a few necessities. I decided to go through the self-check, and just as I began loading my few items onto the black ribbon of death (see the above post for that explanation) a man came up behind me holding a single loaf of bread.

A. Single. Loaf. Of. Bread.

Now, I have been me for my whole life, and I know that my line will be delayed. But I feel badly for those people who are not me, and innocently get in line behind my shopping cart believing they have chosen an efficient line. I tend to apologize in advance to these people, warning them away from the imminent danger that I represent. In fact, during one such conversation in Costco the woman behind me stated, "Oh sweetie, you can't believe that. You have to make your own luck with the stars." Um... yeah. The line still took three times as long as any other with the customer in front of me arguing over which pack of ladies shavers were represented in the latest coupon circular.

So, I took pity on this poor unsuspecting soul, and told him that he could go ahead of me. He was obviously surprised, and graciously accepted my offer with a flourish of thankful tidings. He popped up to the check-out machine, ran his loaf of bread across the scanner and dropped it into a bag.

*Item Not Found*

He ran the loaf of bread again. This time the machine recognized the loaf. I shook off the sense of impending doom. "See," I thought to myself, "it was just a glitch. It really isn't always about me." The gentleman proceeded to the checkout screen, and selected the cash payment option. "Perfect! How much easier can you get than pay by cash?"

*Payment Not Recognized*

He shrugged, sheepishly smiling at me as if to apologize for his transaction not going as smoothly as my invitation to allow him to proceed me should make it. I smiled back. It could still just be an unrelated glitch.

Again, he chose the cash payment. The screen blinked, proceeding momentarily to the *Payment Not Recognized* message before thinking better of it and moving to the directions for inserting your cash into the kiosk. The man began to place his perfectly smooth, freshly minted $5 dollar bill into the slot.

*Invalid Payment. Please Remove.*

He stood, staring at the slot where his perfectly smooth, freshly minted $5 dollar bill had disappeared seconds earlier, waiting for the kiosk to spit it back out.

*Invalid Payment. Please Remove.*

The perfectly smooth, freshly minted $5 dollar bill remained inside the beast.

*Please Remove Your Items.*

He picked up his single loaf of bread.

*Item Removed Unexpectedly. Please Return Item.*

He replaced his single loaf of bread.

*Please Choose A Payment Option.*

By this time I knew this was no random glitch in the system. This poor man had to experience these baffling complications, while purchasing his single loaf of bread with cash, in order for me to rest in the assurance that God has not chosen to move on from his pet game of checkout guerrilla warfare.

We finally got a supervisor to come and clear the machine with a fantastic amount of secret codes and key turning. The gentleman was able to get the machine to return his change for the perfectly smooth, freshly minted $5 dollar bill, and he left with his single loaf of bread.

Let this be a cautionary tale for you:

 Don't ever let me do you any favors if we ever happen to stand next to one another in a line.

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