The Wrong Line

“What kind of person checks their own groceries?”

I’m one of those people never picking the right line.  If you’re like me you always choose the wrong one. Just this week in Wal-Mart, I had a choice of 14 cashiers to choose from. 

Walking down the aisle past each check stand, I analyzed the carts of other shoppers first.  The buggy holding the least amount of items would gain favor. Next on my decision list was visually scoping out the checkers.  I suppose that would be considered ‘checker profiling’ in some states.  Thankfully such a law doesn’t exist in Alabama, Alaska, or Arizona; yet.

My gut feeling when choosing a checker, is always go with the senior employee.  They seem to move customers through at a much faster pace than youngsters.  When I say senior I’m not talking seniority like in a labor union. I’m simply referring to workers 30 years and older.

Last but not least, the check stand number plays an important role in my decision.  If there’s a number 9 and its open, all other criteria for choosing a checkout line flies out the window.

On this particular day check stand 9 was open.  I pushed my cart in behind a twentyish woman with 2 children.  Another gal wheeled in at my heels.  The lead buggy was fairly full but that was okay.  With 9 being my lucky number, I knew it wouldn’t take long.

The checker was a fellow around my age.  His name was CIT or perhaps that was his nickname.  He wore one of those yellow smiley buttons partially blocking the tag.

CIT was moving items through at a fairly rapid pace.  His scanning was as good as it gets.  He did have trouble with produce but what checker doesn’t.  Coupons were another matter but no biggie.  It was bagging skills where the man lacked dexterity.

The fellow was all thumbs in that department.  He couldn’t get plastic bags to open, and when he did groceries wouldn’t go in.  The young mother tried to help, but with 2 struggling infants it was near impossible.

For what seemed like an eternity I stood and watched things unfold.  The poor fellow had sweat dripping down his brow onto tinted scanner glass.  A bit peeved, the woman behind me observed such and moved on.  She voiced her disgust loudly before leaving.

I wanted to follow suit. Fearing such an action might lead to hurt feelings, I stayed put remaining steadfast and calm.  All this was going on while lines on each side moved faster than a Mississippi freight train.  My feet were hurting.  The frozen fish in my buggy were slowly coming back to life.

I stood there 15 minutes before CIT finally took the gal’s money. The flustered employee then praised her for having patience.  CIT was completely frazzled and overwhelmed at this point.  With my stuff already on the conveyor another checker scurried over to help.  An assistant manager appeared as well.

CIT, having just bungled his assignment left in agony with the supervisor.  The new checker looked to be around 20. Kate apologized for my having to wait.  That’s when she told me the rest of the story,

“Poor Hal. It’s his first day of checkin’ solo!”

Kate went on to tell me CIT is an abbreviation for clerk or cashier in training.  Wal-Mart doesn’t like to spell it out, as folks will instantly avoid that employee.

I thanked Kate for her useful information. Before wheeling my buggy out the door, I glanced over at self-checkout. There was only 1 person using it. I thought to myself,

“What kind of person checks their own groceries? There’s far more entertainment standing in the wrong line!

Author: michaeldexterhankins

ordinary average guy

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