|Me while Snow-birding|
|Vs. Me back in Ohio|
The first thing to set me off was grocery shopping. Now, that's no picnic in Florida, either. There, just getting to the store requires driving through an absurd amount of traffic. Before heading to the nearest Publix, my Waze app told me, "Destination 2.5 miles. Estimated travel time 25 minutes." Still, there are no blizzard warnings, so there's always plenty of bread and toilet paper when you do arrive. Here, it's a five minute drive, but the April weather means getting from car to storefront while wearing a 20 pound winter coat and fighting a 40 MPH wind. Of course, the weather is just the half of it. There are no less than a million reasons that grocery shopping in April turns me into this:
1. The Line Cutter (AKA: The LC.) This particular annoyer does not actually cut in line. Instead, they use subtle, psychological warfare to get you and the other shoppers to allow them to float to the very front. This is the person who sidles up to the busy check-out aisle carrying only two items despite the availability of express lanes. Since those lines are too long for the impatient, self-important LC, they employ a simple, yet effective, strategy. The LC catches the eye of The Shopper in front of them who has just unloaded 380 items onto the conveyer belt. "Oh," says The Shopper, "You only have two items. Why don't you go ahead of me?" "Are you sure?" replies The LC, coyly. "Of course!" says The Shopper, exuding piety. Peer pressure prevails, and, before you know it, those in front of The Shopper allow The LC to move right up to the register.
I casually unloaded my groceries, not so much as taking a glance behind me. I even started humming to the tune of the "I Don't See You." I snatched the horoscope book off the rack and read aloud, for effect. "Scorpio: Today, you will stand your ground and not renege your well-earned position." But, just as the cashier was about to begin ringing my purchases, it happened. Another shopper with an overflowing cart got in line behind The LC. I was given a choice. I could either stand my ground, thus sticking up for the rights of all shoppers who have been taken advantage of by The LC, or I could cave to peer pressure.
"You only have two items," I said, in monotone, "Why don't you go ahead of me?"
"Gosh," said The LC, "Are you sure?"
"Move it, before I change my mind, you con artist," I hissed.
3. The Self-Check-Out Nazi: The next day, I had to return to the store to pick up a few more items. Fortunately, I could use Self-Checkout this time, thus saving hours. Boop. Boop. Wait. I can't just Boop apples. I need to type in the code and weigh them. Dang. Where's that code? Now, how am I supposed to read that without my reading glasses? Where are my reading glasses? Oh for heaven's sake! I didn't bring them. Well, that looks like a 4-6-9-2. There we go. Please place items in the bagging area. Cool. *Places items in bagging area.* Please place items in bagging area. I DID! Please wait for assistance. Oh, for Pete's sake! Please wait for assistance. Fine! But, the cashier is busy helping another customer, so we're both going to have to be patient. Please wait for assistance. What do you think I'm doing? Also, why can't I just ring up the other stuff while I wait. Wouldn't that be more time efficient? Please wait for assistance. I'd had enough, "Shut. Up!" "Can I help you, ma'am?" As luck would have it, the cashier who rang up my wine purchase the day before appeared by my side. "This machine is not cooperating!" I said. She quickly noted I had punched in the wrong numbers for the apples. She fixed my mistake, completed transaction, then smiled and told me to have a nice day. Oh, but I was onto her. I know what she was thinking, "People who talk to machines probably shouldn't be buying wine by the box."
4. Shopping Cart Etiquette: First of all, grocery stores should have traffic rules. When on the move, keep your cart in the right hand lane, pass on the left. The center and end aisles have the right-of-way, while those in the side aisles must stop and look both ways before dashing forward. The most important rule, however, is: Do Not Clog The Aisle! I was headed down the soup aisle when I realized my travel would be impeded by an elderly couple who were shopping together...side-by-freaking-side. Now, as they were elderly, I decided to forgo making a citizens arrest, and simply turned around. I headed down the next aisle only to be curtailed by a woman who had parked her cart in the center while she was taking her time choosing between two different brands of tomato paste. I paused briefly, giving her the opportunity to do the correct thing and move her cart. Then, I said, "Excuse me," in as pleasant a voice as one can muster in April in Ohio. Without so much as making eye contact, she yanked her cart to the side just enough so I could squeeze between it and the salad dressings. "Thank you!" I called to her. No reply. Geez, some people are just....
Fortunately, April is behind us and it's now time for the merry, merry month of May! With the beautiful weather upon us, I guarantee my grocery shopping experience will be much more pleasant.