Nightmares For Ten Items Or Less

You came in to the store for a gallon of milk, and now your cart is loaded to the brim with enough food to feed a third world country.  That’s because the store put every single item on sale, just so you would buy items you would never actually buy.  Even if it’s only one penny cheaper, it sure looks attractive with all of those nines in the price. Look at this, honey!  Ten pounds of Beef Jerky on sale for 9.99!  I’m a little rusty on my dead languages, but I think sale is Latin for “sucker.”

And just in case you missed something, they throw in the impulse items at the end of every aisle and at every register.  They’re banking on you suddenly realizing that you can’t possibly live without Blistex and a Three Musketeers bar.  My suggestion to real estate agents is to list their houses in these impulse sections.  That way someone might not be able to resist both a Home Depot gift card AND a spacious five bedroom house on a corner lot.   

You are probably really happy with yourself for all of your genius purchases until you are ready to check out and you have to pass by the “10 Items or Less” lanes.  Don’t even start to count; you know you went over.  If you try to sneak in with 11 items, you won’t be able to sleep at night. You might have nightmares of the cashier beating you over the head ten times with a can of Pringles.  Besides, those lanes are for when you have already purchased $500 worth of food, loaded it into the car, and then realize you never bought the gallon of milk you came in for in the first place. 

I usually pass right by the Self-Checkout lane, because that option seems a little rude.   If you think you’re so great, just do it yourself.  That lane beeps at you a lot, as if to pay you back for haughtiness. 

Choosing the right checkout lane is like a game of chess.  First, you have to get the big picture.  It’s not enough to look for the shortest lines, because some move faster than others.  Watch out for someone with a wheelbarrow full of coupons. You can peek into other people’s carts to get a feel for how quickly the line will move.  There’s always some animal lover with a thousand cans of cat food (because it was on sale, of course.)  But there is no way to predict the dreaded price check. Checkmate.

If so many people are just standing around in line anyway, it seems like a good opportunity to do something as a community.  How about karaoke or a sing-a-long?  Or how about putting up a big screen television and playing movies?  Well, maybe just the previews, because hopefully the line will never take as long as a full feature film. 

The big decision at the checkout used to be paper or plastic.  It never really made sense to choose flimsy paper bags with no handles to carry heavy groceries.  You might as well ask them to just roll your food out onto the pavement, which is where it would end up eventually. But the more convenient plastic bags, which led to being stalked by some crazy lady accusing you of endangering sea turtles, was enough to make you carry your groceries one by one.  Nowadays people enjoy using their own tote bags.  I say, to each his own, as long as the bagger doesn’t go on break as soon as it’s my turn.

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