This blog is officially "retired," but my other blog,
"The Lair of the Silver Fox," is still open for business!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Paper or Plastic?

The other day, I was at the supermarket, standing in the check-out line with only five or six items.

One of the clerks walked over to me and said, "Sir? We have an express lane over there." My gaze followed the direction in which he was pointing. It was one of those "do it yourself" check-out lanes that many stores have now.

"Do I get a discount?" I asked.

"Sir?" said the clerk. It was clear that I'd confused him.

"A discount. Do I get a discount for doing all the work myself?"

"No... "

"Well, I realize that this isn't the 1800s, when you could walk into the grocery store and tell Cora that you needed a pound of sugar, whereupon she'd weigh it out for you, and so on... But the whole self-service aspect has gotten out of hand. I mean, I don't think I've seen a stockboy help an old lady to her car with her carriage full of items since the Reagan years... " (Total look of disorientation on the teenage clerk's face.) "He was a US. president," I explained semi-patronizingly and sotto voce. "Don't worry about it, kid, he's dead anyway." I continued. "Anyway, as far as ringing these items up for myself goes, if I'm going to be doing that much of your work, Price Chopper should give me a discount."

It was then that the clerk and I realized that everyone in my line -- as well as in the two lines on either side of us -- was listening to our conversation. Someone muttered "He's right," to someone else.

At that point, the cashier asked the lady in front of me -- who was now being waited on -- if she would swipe her debit or credit card through the machine. "No," said the woman, smirking a bit while proffering the card to the cashier, "I think that you should run it through. That is what they pay you for, isn't it?"

And most of us laughed. Someone, somewhere, even cheered.

And later that night, I received a congratulatory telephone call from Governor Deval Patrick.


Okay, okay, okay! Not buying the bulls**t, huh?

I confess. I made up everything that came after "Do I get a discount for doing all the work myself?" But that, I did say. And at some point soon after that while you were reading, I'm sure you started wondering, "Hey, did all of this really happen?"

But until that point, I'll bet you were rooting for me, and the rest of the supermarket customers. Weren't you?

Thanks for your time.


  1. To be fair, I checked back to see if you had won the lottery yet.

    However, I was beginning to suspect if the coup d’├ętat was real.. I had visions of all the shoppers stamping on the assistant's heads in fury at having to scan corned beef and spam without help.

    Happy weekend !!

  2. Sadly, the insurrection was imagined, but my sardonic question was real.

    May your weekend be free of similar incidents.

  3. Send me a dollar for leaving this comment on YOUR blog.

  4. Heh, I use the self-checkouts so I DON'T have to listen to the high school checkout losers talk about what parties they're going to or who's gossiping about whom.

    Not like they even give you a second look or give you any real "service" except for being an ass and wondering when their next break is.

  5. IANO: Your check's in the mail. I sent it directly to Bumsrush, Jaggar, United States, as listed in your profile.

    Redbeard: Ah, that's different! You've turned the whole self-service checkout situation to your advantage. Laudable.


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