11 January 2009

"You keep-a me waiting"--The Kinks

In the weeks before Christmas, I find myself at a Target (you probably know it as Tar-shay) buying a few gifts.* I pick up what I need (you can never have enough Poppycock--I select a 1982 vintage) and get into one of the shorter check-out lines, which is about six carts deep. Almost as soon as I get into line, more people queue up behind me.

It is at this point that the woman directly in front of me looks around, as if waking from a coma****, and announces to me, "I've gotta get one more thing." I say nothing but it isn't like she is waiting for a response. Really, she isn't asking my permission so much as declaring a fact. Like the flower needs the rain, this woman has got to get one more thing.

She abandons her cart.

Now, you know that the chances of her being back before the line moves are a million to one. This isn't Kmart, where you can slip into a coma and nobody will notice.***** Nope, Target has cashiers that are young enough that they don't have to pause between scanning items to complain about their lumbago.

Sure enough, the line moves, and Ms. Gotta-Get-One-More-Throw-Pillow-in-the-Shape-of-a-Turtle is nowhere to be found. So, what? Now her cart is my problem? I get to move her and my cart up? And maybe I can unload her cart and pay for her stuff, too, hm?

Er, no.

I leave her cart where it stands and circle around it. Others seem uncertain whether to follow suit for, oh, two seconds. The line quickly closes ranks, setting her cart adrift. Yeah, there's your Christmas spirit in action.******

To her credit, when Ms. GGOMTPITSOAT returned, she quietly skulked off with her cart.

I say, you want to do more shopping? Fine. Get out of line. But I've seen this situation play out over and over again with a different outcome. Who's right and who's wrong?*******

*Well, that's not quite true. I didn't just find myself there. It's not like I woke up from a coma to find myself in a Target. That would be strange. How come they never do that? They should take coma patients and move them around and see what hilarity ensues.**

**What?? Alright, maybe not. Have it your way.***

***Sometimes, you're poopy.

****Oh, come on. It's practically a theme now. Like a prom banner: "Coma alive, class of 95!"

*****I'm hearing Barbara Streisand singing "Coma in and out of your life... is never easy..." I'll bet Babs doesn't waste her time at Kmart. I'll bet she sends James. Brolin, that is. Not Ingram, who'd be singing, "Coma to me, let me put my arms around you, this was meant to be..."

****** "Oh, coma, all ye faithful..."

******* 'Cause that's what it always comas down to.


Narm said...

Coma coma coma coma coma coma-chameleon. You coma go...

Liebchen said...

I can't stand when someone jumps out of line for just one more thing, and then tries to jump back in. The chances of them getting back before the line moves are always less than slim to none.

Nice, though, that she took her cart and went, and didn't cause a scene. I've seen that before...

AbbotOfUnreason said...

I was at Penney's yesterday thinking to buy something right before a lunch appointment. I stood in line at one of those circular four-cash-register island things for something like 10 minutes while four (four!) employees ran around trying to decide if somebody's purple and black jersey was on sale or not -- meanwhile my line just kept backing up. The employees ran around, went back and forth past us to the display, and as far as I can tell never decided. I don't know if they decided because one of them stopped and said, "oh, the line is on the other side!", though there had certainly been a line here before and not on the other side, and for the last 12 or 13 minutes people had been lining up on the other side as well as my side. I left my stuff and went to lunch. Another no sale. No wonder the economy is doing so well. Nobody wants to sell you anything.

Mike said...

LA - You did good. If the person doesn't have a cart guard with them they're OUT!

@Abbot.. - Was at a walgreens register with a two dollar 3 pack of socks. The socks wouldn't scan. The clerk typed in the numbers - nothing. She just looked at me with a blank "help me" stare. I said "they're two dollars, on the nose". She said thanks, typed in some "I don't know what this is code", and off I went.

LiLu said...

You did the right thing. I will only get "one more thing" if B and I are tag-teaming the shopping, or if I can literally see it from where I'm standing.

Clearly, those are the RULES. And she done violated them. At least she accepted her punishment willingly.

Kate said...

I'm always afraid they'll come back and make a scene and I can't handle that kind of conflict. I'm such a wuss. Such.

rs27 said...

I would have dumped her cart out on the ground.

Kill or be killed.

AbbotOfUnreason said...

@Mike: Wow. You have trusting clerks wherever you are. I love when I buy 10 or 15 yogurts from the grocery store (Giant) when they're on sale and the attendant has to scan each and every single one. In my day, we knew how to count first because we had to type in every one of those prices.

Kids these days.

Gilahi said...

I was at a Giant one day when the woman in front of me went off to get something and left her two small children (I'd guess 8 and 6) to guard the cart. Not me, but the cashier moved the cart and the items already on the belt, muttering that she didn't have time to wait for this woman. I gleefully went through while the small children were saying, "but my momma said...". Momma came back several minutes later after I was nearly through with the entire checkout procedure, and of course proceeded to berate her children for not holding her place in line.

GreenCanary said...

If you have the time while the person is away getting their One More Thing, I highly recommend stashing lots of needless knick knacks from the shelves near the register in their Pile 'O Crap. By the time they get back, the cashier has rung it up, the natives are restless, torches adn pitchforks are being waved around, and the person has no choice but to pay and get the heck out of there. Then they have to go to Customer Service to return said items. Mean? Totally. Awesome? TOTALLY.

Barbara said...

I confess to doing it in sub-freezing weather at the Dupont farmers' market on Sunday, but I felt sheepish about it. I don't like cheaters and line cheaters are generally the worst!

Herb of DC said...

oooo...I like GreenCanary's solution

I highly recommend stashing lots of needless knick knacks from the shelves near the register in their Pile 'O Crap.


lacochran said...

Narm: You coma go-o-o-o...

Liebchen: I have to. It's not pretty.

AbbotofUnreason: I would have done the same thing.

Mike: Thank you.

Lilu: They're rules we can all live by. Or should live by, anyway.

Kate: *glare* You're one of those "nice" people, aren't you?

Rs27: You should have been in my line. I would have loved to see that.

Gilahi: Did people cheer when the cashier did that?

GreenCanary, Herb of DC: Totally awesome!

Barbara: Was it for those little golden tomatoes? I'd do anything for those.

urban bohemian said...

It was pre-Christmas shopping? She's lucky that people only went around her cart. There are many holiday shoppers out there that would have scanned the contents and picked items out of it as they passed.

Good for you tho, society has rules! :)

f.B said...

you dropped a James Ingram line! you don't even know...

ok. i have to go finish reading the post. just saw that and got carried away.

f.B said...

i hope her life changes after that moment. i bet this is part of a life philosophy for her. she is probably also the kind of person who, while at a neighboring table in a restaurant, tries to get the attention of your server while your server is talking to you about the menu.

lacochran said...

Urban Bohemian: So true. Thanks for weighing in.

f.B: I did! Should I know...?

f.B, redux: A wee bit self-involved, yes. When, really, we all know she should be focused on me. Me, me, me, me, me. Me.

emmajames said...

I LOVE that you went around the cart. There is most definitely line etiquette and she FAILED.

In addition, I'm impressed you stayed in a line 6 people deep. I abandon ship when that happens. Too much togetherness for me to handle.

And I'm taping that Doug Savage comic to my front door, as the perfect reminder before heading out into the sea of insanity.

lacochran said...

EmmaJames: "I'm impressed you stayed in a line 6 people deep..." It's my own fault for waiting until the crowds were out of control. I was willing to suck that up but not the "just one more thing" BS.