QUOTE OF THE DAY (OR MORE): "No, no. You don't understand. This is an '89 Calico. I'm pretty sure that exceeds the Kelly Blue Book value. The cat's totaled." --A comedian whose name I forget talking about a vet who presents a $3,000 bill for a 12-year-old cat

Friday, November 13, 2009

Only evil people write checks at the grocery store

Early this morning after I drop kicked the boys sadly said goodbye to the boys as I dropped them off at school, I went to my local Safeway for, literally, one item. Our house is on the market (anyone want a house?), we had a walk-through scheduled for late this morning, and I like to have fresh flowers in a vase on the kitchen island for walk-throughs.

I procured a lovely bouquet of alstroemeria, Gerber daisies and Asters and proceeded to the checkout line.

I like my local Safeway because it is a mile from my house and I know its contents and their whereabouts like the back of my hand. In and out.

What I don't like about Safeway is that there are never enough cashiers, but I give them a break and don't complain (much) because I know the economy is tough and they need to pinch pennies.

I mosied up to the only line open (I could mosy because there wasn't any competition approaching the checkout area at the same time as I was), an express lane for 15 items or fewer which contained a woman with a plethora of items, I'd estimate 50. (See the link in that last marathon sentence to learn grocery store line strategy).

I know what you're thinking... but no. I wasn't irritated at the lady, because it wasn't her fault. Safeway only had that one lane open at that early hour, and I have been that lady with the 50 items needing to check out when the only lane open is an express lane. I felt her pain, I did.

I employed a different strategy. I conspicuously kept checking all around me within view of the cashier and the store manager. Getting the hint, the cashier said: "is there someone behind you?" to which I truthfully responded: "uh huh." My strategy worked; she got on the intercom and called for help with the cashier lanes. I'm brilliant, I know.

Well, Linda from produce took her sweet time getting to the lane which she was to open, and I played the game we all play when relief is coming to the cashier lanes: I tried to figure out which was it was going to be so I could dart over there, what with my being next in line. In the meantime, a harried looking woman took her spot at the end of our line, now 5 people long.

You can see the foreshadowing, can't you?

When Linda took her spot in aisle 5 and flipped on her light, the harried looking woman, last in line, darted over to the newly opened register. I walked over and planted myself behind her and bit my bottom lip hard. If she didn't have so few items and it didn't look as if she were going to make something specific with them (I think maybe it was a blueberry cheesecake? - which I imagined would be for some housebound old woman somewhere), I would have said: "excuse me, but I was before you, ma'am," in my nicest, sweetest, most diplomatic voice possible (yes, husband, it does exist).

Like I said, I held my tongue. I am going to heaven for sure.

My lip started bleeding as this woman, when her few items had been tallied and bagged by sprightly (not) Linda, proceeded to dig into her pocketbook. She couldn't possibly have begun digging into her purse while Linda was bagging and tallying, could she have!? THAT would have made sense and been efficient, especially by someone who was in such a hurry that she had to cut in front of the entire line...

As blood started running down my chin from my lower lip and my blood pressure began to rise, she finally pulled out her checkbook. People, if you still write checks in the grocery store, know that you are living in the age of dinosaurs. They take credit cards, folks. They take debit cards. It's all electronic these days, people. Get with the millenium.

Because this woman was in such a hurry that she had rudely to cut in front of everyone, she had already written out her signature and the signatory and was just waiting for Linda to give her a total, right? NO! She hadn't even pulled the checkbook out of her 80s purse!

[Insert sound effect: a distant scream, as if from a mountaintop, starting out as a piercing, loud scream and then ever so slowly fading....]

The woman took 10 minutes to fill out the check and hand it to Linda, whom I think had finished filing her nails by now. There ensued some controversy as to the exact amount of money Linda wanted to receive as change from having written above the amount she needed to pay for her flippin' blueberry cheesecake ingredients!

When the evil, check-writing woman was finally gone and I had purchased my flower bouquet (in a matter of 30 seconds; I actually timed myself and my quick credit card transaction), I had blood dripping down from my lip (oh LORD I wanted to say something to her or to the cashier after she had gone) and I decided I had burned enough calories in anxiety to skip my training run today (not).

Ah. I feel better now. Thanks for listening.


  1. See if you can work out another brilliant strategy for this scenario. I thought of you this morning, trying to get a red light so I could send a text.... green the whole way. I'm sure there is something for check-writing line cutters.
    (I am THAT woman with the coupons, BTW)

  2. Those are the worst aren't they?! I can't believe she cut in line like that. And if I absolutely HAVE to write a check, I always fill out all the info I can while I wait for the person in front of me to mosey on. That way I only need to fill out the amount and hand it over. I HATE writing checks.

    Does your safeway have self-serve? Mine does.

  3. Ha this post made me laugh especially because it is so true! Why do all the line jumpers write checks? Is it written somewhere in their manual for being a total jerkoff? Hey good luck with the walk through, hope your flowers did the trick; seeing as all the trouble you endured just to get them!

  4. LOL! Excellent restraint, my Dear!

    Yeah. That's the only reason I LOVE our self-serve lanes. It's funny though. Now days, there is a line for self-serve and nobody in line for the express lane cashier so I always look before I commit.

    My checkbook never leaves the house.


    And it's almost always when you're in a hurry, too.

    The last time this happened to me, I chose the line with one woman in front of me, as opposed to four, naively thinking it would be faster. Silly rabbit.

    She had three separate transactions: one with cash, one with a card and one with a check. And of course, she had coupons for every single one. I recall just staring at her, mouth slightly open as she pulled out her checkbook. I don't know how she couldn't feel my eyes burning into her face... because I was trying to use The Force, Lord knows.

  6. Confession: I was a rude line jumper last week. But in my defense, I waited a good 8 seconds (doesn't sound like much, but it was) for the other people to pull their heads out and move over. In further defense of myself, I had one item, had my debit card out, and was done in under 30 seconds. But that didn't stop a disgruntled lady from trying to ram me into the magazine display on my way out the door. I don't know for sure, but she probably wrote a check.

  7. We should NEVER let these people get away. They are menaces and should be shoved head-first into the freezer in the back of the store until they get freezer burn and snot-cicles.

  8. why do they do that, you ask? Because they.dont.care. Plain and simple, people like that do not think of other people, so speed for your sake is the furthest from their mind. I really dont like people much, and this is why.

  9. I don't think I've written a check at the grocery store since I was in college and that was for beer so no time was wasted.

    You should be given an award for your good behavior. I get so annoyed when those at the end of the line jump in first at a new checkout.

  10. Honestly, I can't tell you how many years it's been since I wrote a check in a store.

    If I didn't know better, I would swear you were behind my MIL. She still writes checks for everything.

  11. Oh my...you sound JUST like me.

    PS I'm following now!

  12. No one on the planet would've blamed you for going off on that sphincter biscuit.

    Kudos on the restraint.

  13. Oh I feel like I was standing there with you!!

    I love your writings! In fact, come on over and pick up a Kacklin award at my place!

  14. If I was in front of you in the store, I would totally write one separate check for every item.

    Even gum.

    Because there's nothing hotter than a chick biting her lower lip.

    Minus, you know, the blood and shit.

  15. I always manage to get behind the "check" people. The only thing worse than a "check" person is a person who argues over coupons or price. I want to just hand them the 25 cents that they feel they need to argue over :-)

  16. These are the same people that turn out into traffic in front of you when no one else is behind you for miles, and then don't floor it like any decent person would do. --Kim

  17. Very funny and too true. What amazes me: how the expectation of speed has become the norm. When I clerked a gas/station convenience store in college, every credit card transaction got checked against a printed book listing stolen accounts. Because that's how it was, people waited. Today, when the credit-card machine takes more than ten seconds to process a transaction, most, including me, become impatient. That, IMHO, not very beneficial to mental health, if such a thing exists beyond oxymoron status.

  18. I work at target and someone wrote a check and I asked if they wanted to apply for a target check card? and she said yes. I then asked for her ID and she said I dont want a check card anymore. So the register voided her check and I told her she would have to write a new check. She then got very angry and told me "FINE ill just use my debit card" lile using a debit card was a bad thing lol


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