Friday, June 24, 2016

Queue It Up

               I was standing in line at the grocery store yesterday, doing my usual shopping for the week, my cart full of diapers, grape juice and kitty litter (you know, party supplies). There were three people ahead of me in the line. It’s not that I was in a rush or anything, but on the other hand, I wasn’t standing there for my health, you know? 

                As the minutes passed, my drifting mind (I was imagining a world without the letter E) began to wake up to the realization that I had not moved for quite some time. I peered around the Incredible Bulk in front of me (shopping basket full of cheese whiz, pop tarts and diet soda) to discover that the person at the checkout counter was nonchalantly propped up by his elbow on the credit card stand, having a conversation with the lady behind the register.

                Have you ever noticed this phenomenon? Be it at the grocery store, pet store, sex shop or ATM, there’s always somebody who decides to be friendly with the person manning the register. What is that about? Are there really people who get up in the morning, leave their hovels (I assume) just to strike up conversations with busy people? Do they think this is the best way to make friends? It’s baffling.

                It’s true that I’m infamous for randomly berating stranger in public like I’ve been possessed by the spirit of Miss Manners, (she’s dead right? Otherwise it’d be really weird) causing awkward scenes and making whoever is accompanying me die of embarrassment. But I’m working on it. So, in a rare moment of self-restraint, I didn’t give people death glares or throw copies of US magazine at the bozo’s head.

                Sometimes though, it’s not the customer doing the talking, it’s the cashier. For some reason with these people, the doldrums of their poor career choice have not broken their spirits, (unlike the friendly people at your local DMV) and they seem to actually enjoy their jobs. These gregarious fools feel compelled to make some kind of joke or comment, based on the items the customer is attempting to purchase.

Cashier: Jelly beans huh?

Customer: …Um, yes?

Cashier: Who are you, the Easter Bunny! Haaahaa(this continues for two minutes, during which time, the cashier is unable to multitask and continue scanning items)aaahahaahaahahaa!

Customer: I wish you ill.

                Then, when I get to the front of the line and it’s my turn to deal with the Sphinx’ retarded younger cousin, I just stare them down with the dourest visage I can muster. My head tilts forward, the corners of my mouth turn slightly down and lock in place, as if saying “we are the Rock of Gibraltar”. My eyebrows jut down at an unfathomable angle that I often practice in the mirror to make sure they cause just the right amount of unease in anybody I deploy them at. But the real highlights are my eyes. They go straight up “Jaws”-style doll eyes. They are cold. They are merciless. They offer no hope or succor. Indeed, there truly is no balm in Gilead when my victim looks upon my eyes.

                At this point, the cashier has two choices:

1.       Shut the hell up.

2.       Keep trying to make with the patter.

The register attendants who go with option one are the smart ones. They keep their eyes down, mouth shut and proceed with the transaction.  I do not pity the cashiers who choose option two, because after one mumbly, trail-offy attempt at a sentence, they shut up too.

But Josh, you dick, why not just use the self-checkout lanes? Don’t be a dummy!

Ahhh, if only it was that simple. But actually the self-checkout has its own host of problems that are equally as pointless as the manned registers. The least of which is that nobody ever seems to know how to use the machine. It confuses people so much, you wonder if the self-checkout machines were made by people with backward eyeballs who see the world in a different way than you or I (and I don’t even know what that means!) The worst offenders are the senior citizens. I honestly don’t know why they love the self-checkout so much, seeing how it confounds them so. But they flock there in droves to place an item on the pad, stare at it blankly for five minutes, then move it to the conveyor belt without having scanned it first. They repeat with process with each item in their basket, until the machine, ready to take its own life, shuts down and forces the store clerk (who, by the way was standing there watching the whole time, without so much as lifting even a single finger) to take four steps, swipe at something and give the machine it’s calming dose of electric morphine or whatever, so it’ll go back to work.

I guess there’s only one way to solve this dilemma: We need to elect Trump and Make America Great Again!*

*This joke brought to you by the coalition to make really bad, topical jokes that won’t be relevant or make even the slightest sense by 2017