The Good, the Bad, and the Truly Annoying

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Passion to the Third Degree.

Once a week, the girls and I go to a particular restaurant in Destin for their barbecue salmon, then to the grocery store there that I like because of its organic foods. That’s part of my healthier eating routine. Sometimes, if we need to, we stop by Ross’ Dress for Less (lots of designer and oddball stuff at cheapcheapcheap prices), and I desperately needed a couple of new blouses for work and I haven’t been clothes shopping but once since Christmas. I have plenty of skirts but with impending 90 degree weather upon us, I needed some summery blouses. And thus begins the tale of the good, the bad, and the truly annoying.

The Long-Awaited Honest-to-God Secret to Being Happy

The Good:

Obviously, the store restocks the lingerie section on Tuesdays because for a Tuesday night, the section is surprisingly full and still on hangers. Not only that but…they have bras in my size! This almost never happens and I seriously need new bras. I still can’t get used to the whole cleavage thing and it’s strange to me how I can wait until I’m 40 to blossom, but okie-dokie. When I was an A-cup, I complained about never any bras in my size but it’s no better now. Except that tonight, there are seven bras in my size that I like and they’re all about 1/6th of the usual price, so…wheeeeeeee! Yes, I get them all. No telling when I’ll find ones I like again, and I even get the one that’s pink lace and looks like it’s spun from cherry-pink confectioner’s sugar.
The Bad:
Oh, yeah. I came to this store for blouses for work. I find a perfect pair of green brocade Converse shoes that will match a skirt I have and really make my boss frown. I find a CD of African tribal music that should be pretty cool for “house music,” as in, music playing in the background in my home. I find a pair of black strappy heels I can’t walk in but who needs to walk in some pairs of shoes? That’s obviously not what these were made for. And then there are…oh, yeah…blouses for work. I find two that I love, try them on, and get them even though I’m positive they’re too sexy for my job. Low-cut, feminine, and, well, they’re probably too sexy for a date, let alone appropriate for work. I get them anyway. No idea when I’ll wear them, but I get them anyway. I don’t find any blouses that I like that are appropriate for work. None.

The Truly Annoying:
The three of us spend one hour shopping, and that includes the girls getting summer clothes and all of us in and out of the dressing room, plus pouring over the cheap exercise dvds. There is one cashier at this point and about 30 people in line to checkout.

By the time we’re 5th in line, a second cashier has joined them. A local woman and her mouthy son at the checkout are taking forever, whereas we already have everything off the hangers to be considerate of the 50 people in line behind us at this point, which is near closing time. I’m already annoyed with this woman for blocking the aisle I was in earlier—twice—and for her and her son’s obnoxious comments on a variety of subjects while close to me in the store.

The woman buys a little over $40 of stuff, including a giant vat of Gummy Bear vitamins so she can get the right amount of calcium and fat grams in each Gummy and proceeds to read portions of the label aloud as she’s buying it and the rest of us are waiting impatiently. Her reading it at the cash register before making the purchase slows the entire process.

Does impatience breed impatience or something? Because I can’t believe what happens next.

The woman and her son gather their bag and turn to go, when the woman suddenly turns back to the cashier. “You didn’t ask me if I’m 55! I don’t look 55, do I! I turned 55 today! That makes me a member of your discount club. Don’t I get a 10% discount?”

Imagine the collective groan from 50 people in line as the cashier asks her supervisor if she can simply give the woman her $5. I am ready at this point to scrounge the change in my purse and hand the woman $5 and tell her to get out of my way, except I don’t have a $5 bill with me and I can’t get to my purse under all those bras. I’ve already waited over 10 minutes for her to get checked out while she’s rambled and visited with a nearby friend who’s shopping and read the Gummy Bear label to the information-starved masses.

So now the cashier and her supervisor who’s running the other cash register confer over how to solve the problem and decide there’s not an easy way and that this customer isn’t going to say, “I didn’t tell you I’m a member of your discount club as of today so that you could stroke my ego by not thinking I look my age but hey, I screwed up by waiting until after my turn in line so I’m gonna leave and spare the people behind me from having to wait while I keep blathering.”

“You can’t just give her cash,” the supervisor says. “It’s not set up that way. You have to allow her to ‘return’ her merchandise and then re-ring it and give her the discount when you total it.”

This process takes another 15 minutes while the cashier apologizes profusely for not asking if the woman was 55—a no-win scenario, if you ask me. And while the woman preaches loudly to her teenaged son about how to save four bucks and how four bucks is four bucks and what a great lesson she’s teaching him about money and the value of it.

She misses the lesson on time and the value of it. She leaves happily with a little more than $4 back on her purchases, oblivious to the fact that she’s wasted the time of 50 people in line behind her, including the woman behind me with the crying one-year-old.

Seeing that the cashiers won’t be able to leave before midnight, the supervisor calls another cashier to the front of the store and at the moment the annoying woman and son are gone and we are next, two registers open at once.