I had barely filled up the cute little hand-held shopping basket with my five items as I made my way to the front. #TheBoyfriend (if you’re new here that’s what I call my husband) had sent me a text that we needed 3 things from the store. The fact that I was walking to the register with only five things, especially on account of the ADHD (if you’re new here….you know what…nevermind), was a win/win for me.
A quick glance signaled me to the “10 items or less” line. Although I wasn’t necessarily in a hurry, I didn’t want to take another 20 minutes standing behind a woman in one of the other lines that was obviously couponing. I stepped in my chosen line….and my mouth dropped in horror.
I wish I could say what registered first, I honestly don’t know. What I did immediately realize is that there were two people, two baskets filled to the brim, and a full conveyer belt.
I took another glance at the sign above the register. Maybe I had it wrong. Sure enough, it was the line for 10 items or less, as the orange light illuminating the informational square told me; but here I was standing behind two people, two baskets filled to the brim, and a full conveyor belt.
They were a married couple, having completed an obvious month’s worth of shopping. To add insult to injury, they insisted that they pay for each basket separately: one totaling $140 and the other totalling around $90. I glanced behind me as two other people with baskets like me had joined me in a collective gawking.
During their checkout, I made eye contact with the sweet young lady that was bagging their groceries. She slightly shook her head, diligently working to ensure that these two people had their groceries properly secured. When she asked if they would like help to their car, her shoulders sank when these two able-bodied individuals, the two people who had obviously loaded the cart pre-checkout, the two that had effortlessly pushed their cart into the wrong line, affirmed that they needed help loading the groceries into their car.
Moments later as I walked to my car, (because my 5 things totaling $20 only took 3 minutes to ring up), I saw the young lady as she slowly loaded one bag at a time into the trunk of the couple’s car, as they stood back and watched. The button on the employee’s apron that read, “Please, no tips,” shinned ironically under the lamps of the parking lot; a predicament she wouldn’t have even been in had they gone to the correct line.
This incident rested on my brain the next day as I went into a department store to purchase a pair of shoes. I’m an expert, introverted shopper. I give myself five minutes to find what I’m looking for. If I don’t find it, it isn’t there. I was relieved when at minute 4:55, I found the exact shoes I needed.
Prior to that clock wind down, I noticed that the only person covering the shoe department was a tall man that was clearly overworked and overwhelmed. For whatever reason, a legion of women had descended upon the small section of the store and everyone wanted to be helped right now!
As I approached the register to get my size, he was helping a lady in front of me. I gently smiled at him when it was my turn and politely asked for my size. He nodded and proceeded to the back.
“I was here first!” a voice from behind him barked. A short brown-haired woman, with a quite unruly child, stood angrily behind a counter that he had his back to. I hadn’t seen her and I had been standing there for a while…. neither had he. He paused for a moment, told her he had another customer and he would be right out.
She. Was. Furious.
“This place has terrible customer service,” she announced even though she hadn’t been standing in line with the rest of us. Meanwhile, the child with her was kicking the large department store mirror making it ominously vibrate with a low rumble. “This is ridiculous,” she yelled as her kid continued to wreak havoc, “I should be helped. They clearly need better customer service in this place!”
When he finally returned with my shoes, he tried to help the angry woman. She was rude, said something about never shopping there again (a ludicrous statement being as how it is the biggest department store in the city) and stalked off…terrible two in tow. And I imagine she’ll pen an angry letter citing that she was ignored, and the store clerk was rude….and he may even be reprimanded.
Two days…two separate incidents…one final conclusion: This is how it begins.
The Aunt Becky’s and the “Felicitys” are born from these incidents.
And I know you’re like, “Danita, how can you compare over itemed shopping and a demand to be seen first in line you’re not even standing into buying your kids way into college?”
Very easily. Both demand privilege. Both demand a breaking of the rules. In both situations, the grocery store with Aunt Becky and Uncle Jessie, and the department store with Felicity, all parties insisted that they are catered to what they demanded, even though they had done nothing to earn such special treatment.
And for those of us that have to over-follow the rules because we will never get the benefit of the doubt, we can never demand to be seen, we can never become indignant or law enforcement will surely be called….we just sit back as people claim how progressive everything is, as we watch the Aunt Beckys continue to rule the world.
You know I’m right.
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