Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Perfect Check-Out Radar...

I have this incredible innate ability to pick lines at Walmart. I'm telling you... a talent you could only attribute to just knowing without trying which line will be the slowest. Just call me blessed.

Today, instead of going to Walmart while Madalyn was in pre-school, I opted to read.

Hold on; I think I need a second after making that statement.

Okay. Now I'm good.

Don't get me wrong - I'll be the first to put off household chores or shopping to trips to, say, watch the dramatic new episode on Dr. Phil or to catch up on the latest gossip on the phone. But read???? No way. Never. But since opening this new novel - Walking on Broken Glass by Christa Allan - I've been glued to the pages. Literally upset when interrupted. Out and out perturbed when I couldn't sit down and read it. And anyone who knows me knows that this is atypical for me. I try to read my Bible, and occasionally a trash magazine (which sounds strange to admit after just mentioning the Bible), but never do I ever read a novel for pleasure. Definitely expect a post soon about Walking on Broken Glass. It's about a woman who checks herself into rehab for alcohol dependence. As I read, I saw so much of me and my experiences and personality in the main character, Leah. Please don't get me wrong - I won't be admitting myself to Bradford any time soon. But I love to read a novel that makes me think more about myself than of the plot of its pages.

Back to today - I plopped myself on the couch after I dropped Madalyn off at school and made the bed (I had to do something before indulging myself in the novel). I had a little less than 70 pages left, and I was determined to know the end. And I was willing to sacrifice Walmart in peace (without the groanings, wailings, and whinings of a five year old) to finish the book. I hated the ending, which royally sucks once you've made such sacrifices to finish it.

I had time to shower and apply make up before picking Madalyn up from school and the contents of a short list from Walmart. Dog food, cotton balls, apple juice, Gatorade, erasers for the ends of David's pencils, and Madalyn's added ice cream. We also checked out the bathing suits, as Madalyn was in need anyway, and picked two that we were equally delighted over. And so I turned on my radar and searched for a line.

Of course, there weren't many open. Ordinarily, with such a light load in my buggy, I'd opt for the self check-out. But with the 40 pound bag of dog food, I just couldn't imagine. I double checked the ginormous bag in search of a sticker that I could peel off and scan. Sometimes they have them; sometimes they don't. Of course, this one did not, so I'd have to find a real check-out line with more than a talking computer.

It's at this very point that I ought to realize not to listen to my internal voice. To find the line that I am most inwardly opposed to getting in and plant myself there. Because it never fails - I always end up in the absolute slowest line imaginable.

I am normally an incredibly patient person. Having paid my dues in a coffee shop for almost four years, I know what it's like to try to do your job to the best of your ability and still not be able to make everyone smile. I remember well the rudeness and impatience I dealt with on a daily basis, and I make an effort to not repay the evils I experienced to others, even when it seems it could possibly be deserved at the time. But today, oh, today.......

Don't get me wrong; I didn't say a word to the lady. I smiled and politely conversed after having stood in her line for 20 minutes. And it wasn't like she had any price checks or difficult customers or scenarios to deal with. She was just slow. Not only was she slow, but she was incompetent. I put four jugs of juice on the roller belt, she somehow rang up 7, and voided two. It wasn't until I had gotten to my car and looked at the receipt that I realized I had paid for an extra jug of apple juice. She also got me on the one impulse item Madalyn was allowed this trip - a Bon Bons lip gloss that cost a whopping 98 cents. I think she rang it up three times, voided one, thus giving Walmart a 98 cent donation. So, all in all, today's poor line choice cost me $2.48 worth of imaginary items in my cart and a tons of fake smiles and yes maam's.

Some days I wonder if Walmart is worth the trouble. Or maybe today I should ask myself if reading in peace was worth the trouble...


Rebecca said...

I don't know if it was worth it, but I know it was worth the $2.48 to NOT WALK BACK IN! I don't like going there, despite the fact that the Wetumpka Walmart isn't that bad, but that is judging them on their own standards.
BTW, our book club at church is reading "Savannah from Savannah" and I thought of you when I read it. It is about a writer and I won't say anymore in case you ever read it. It was pretty good.

christa said...


I'm ducking in case you want to wing the novel at my head after finishing it.

The ending and Carl elicit the most heated conversations. Readers seem to love or hate one or the other or both. Some days I do too! I've often thought it would be intriguing for readers to post the endings they wanted to read.

So, I hope maybe even the ending made you think more about yourself than the plot, and you have other experiences of reading in peace as viable alternatives over WalMart.

Bless you for turning the pages.

Erika said...

Great, I really want to read it now that you say you hated the ending! :p I will though. :)