It seems I’ve been on a streak of heart-warming, tear-jerking, and somewhat soft and fuzzy posts lately.
Well guess what, people? The happy baby hormones have officially run out.
If you’ve taken a hiatus from my blog because of such gushy posting (in the name of new baby) please spread the word, I’m back. And I’m not really afraid to offend.
Harris Teeter. Normally the happiest place on (my) Earth. I admit, I have two favorite locations, one for customer service, the other for availability of good deals because it is in a rich neighborhood where nobody (but me) shops with coupons. Today we are talking about location the latter (couponer’s paradise, customer service sacrifice).
First, let me set the scene. Number one, it is raining outside. And not a typical North Carolina rain, which is gentle, and warm. No. This rain is cold. And it is more than a drizzle, but less than a downpour, so it isn’t quite so ominous as to make me choose bat-shit-stir-crazy over running errands to get my kids out of the house. Raise your hand if you’ve ever attempted to get a newborn from a warm car to a less warm grocery store, through a freezing parking lot.
I’m wearing the infant in a Moby wrap on the front of me. My three-year old started out in the big part of the basket (because she climbed in herself) but was relocated to the regular up-front seat as punishment when she wouldn’t stop messing with the eggs. She’s now whining. Mostly.
The almost-six-year-old has hit her limit of near-perfect behavior at school, so she’s literally pinging, like the marble ball bearing in a pin-ball machine. We might as well be at Disneyland, and not the freaking grocery store we go to at least twice a week, but whatever. This is not new.
My cart is not terribly full, but I certainly don’t shop Harris Teeter prices to bag my own groceries in the You-Scan. Call me snobby, but I absolutely refuse to use the You-Scan line in a grocery store where the non-sale price of milk is $4.69 a gallon. When I get to the one line that is open, I’m perfectly happy to wait for someone to see me behind lady-stocking-up-for-the-apocalypse in front of me, and wheel me (and my cart) to another register.
Along comes Blondie to do just this. And not a moment too soon, Eliott is already re-organizing the entire candy display to make sure all her “favorites” are together in one bin.
So here’s how this works. A checker typically approaches, makes eye contact, takes hold of my cart, and begins wheeling it for me to a register she is going to open just for me. Usually the eye contact and the cart contact come before this line: “I can get you over here on three Ma’am.”
Well, we have eye-contact. We have cart-contact. And about half way into turning around Blondie announces, “Ma’am, I can take you over here [we take three or four steps away from Mrs. Apocalypse]… and get you at You-Scan.”
My cart has already done a one-eighty. It would be really awkward to explain I’d rather wait than be subjected to standing in the You-Scan line watching this bag-lackie She-Scan me while I attempt to wrangle my children and my coupons in the middle of people in a hurry.
But I should have done just that. Stopped her. Turned around. Avoided the You-Scan at all costs.
Because what do you know, three people behind me in Apocalypse line did, in fact, walk out the front door before me.
Don’t get me wrong. Blondie scanned my groceries for me. But she was bagging them rather thoughtlessly, and hastily, without consideration as to how two dozen eggs were going to make it from their upside down and sideways positions safely back into my cart, not to mention the gallon of milk she balanced on top of some newspapers that weren’t even mine. Somewhere in the chaos she mentioned, “Don’t worry I’ll re-bag those eggs, I just need it to register the weight.”
When she went to do my coupons behind the kiosk, of course she had to call a manager to make them work. And after waiting an inordinate amount of time for a normal person (not one with three kids, one of which was physically strapped to her for God sakes), the total finally rings up, I swipe my credit card, and suddenly Blondie is nowhere to be found.
I look around. I have to actually move two empty carts in front of me in order to even reach my groceries, which I’m now expected to load myself. Into my cart. Without any help, two children on the loose and one who requires his pacifier to be held for him, empty carts everywhere, people in a hurry and giving me the stink eye for daring to bring children through the You-Scan, and now someone who recognizes me from across the newspaper stand and is calling my name and saying hi.
And the eggs.
I’m trying to smile and look like I have everything together. I’m pouring sweat, despite the fact that Harris Teeter is officially the coldest grocery store on the planet even in the dead of winter. And though I’m looking for a gun with which to go maim Blondie, who clearly has no children nor any desire for an employee of the month award, what I want to do is tell the new person at the kiosk to go find her for me. Unfortunately, now that I’ve been recognized by name, I’m not going to appear to be that woman, who demands personal attention at the You-Scan because she can’t handle children and groceries and rain all at the same time.
So Eliott learned the meaning of a new word today: inconsiderate.
I realize I was far too generous with that one.