How to Fail at Shopping

We begin tonight’s story at the local Winco.

Normally, Paul and I do our grocery shopping first thing Sunday morning, when it’s safe. At that time, people are typically asleep or in church, which lets us freely navigate the aisles for our groceries without incident. However, Paul has taken advantage of the aftermath of Snowmaggedon 2012 by volunteering for extra hours at work the last two Sundays. That meant we had to do our shopping after he gets off work.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Winco, but the cheaply priced produce is very attractive to us right now, as we are on a budget and our grocery shoppings typically consist primarily of produce. Tonight when we arrived, we found that practically everyone in Marysville was also packed into the store, and socializing seemed to be taking a larger importance than shopping because it seemed like on every aisle were people standing idly, talking.

The experience wasn’t what I would describe as fun, but it wasn’t horrific or noteworthy either…until we reached the checkout. At Winco, you bag your own groceries instead of having the clerk do it for you. Each checkstand is equipped with two different conveyor belts, one on each side, to ensure that nobody’s stuff gets stacked up or confused. We picked a lane and started unloading our cart. I half-noticed that there was another shopping cart ahead of us with nothing but a case of water. No one was around but I wasn’t watching carefully and just assumed that the owner of the cart was over bagging up his or her stuff.

I finished unloading groceries onto the belt and was taking a sip of my coffee when I was shoved out of the way by a short, dark-haired woman wearing the most horrendous shade of fuchsia lipstick ever to come into existance. “Sorry,” she said as she placed a tub of peanut butter among my purchases.

I really must try this strategy. Next time I’m buying just one item, I’m going to add it to another shopper’s stuff and see if I can trick someone else into paying for my new socks or my mascara. Awesome idea, short chick. Not working with me, though. I am an observant shopper, and I know I didn’t order any ugly-lipstick-clad woman’s condiments.

I raised an eyebrow. “Uh, that isn’t yours,” I blurted before I could stop myself. She looked confused, so I picked up her peanut butter and was about to place it behind my stuff when it dawned on me that she was the person whose shopping cart was sitting in the middle of our lane. I handed the peanut butter to the cashier.

Ms. Ugly Lipstick’s groceries were piled up and she took forever to pay. Then once she did pay, she plunked her purse down on the empty side of the conveyor belt that should have been for OUR groceries while she fished around in her wallet and put her things away. I fantasized momentarily about kicking her. Ohhhh, how fun it would be to kick her. There would be the moment when my foot connected, then the look of surprise when she realized what had happened. She might ask why I did it, to which I could respond that I like to kick stupid people who double my time at the checkout.

Yes, kicking her would have been a solid Win for me. However, I resisted, and she finally managed to get her crap organized and off our side of the conveyor belt so the cashier could ring up our groceries.

As I finished bagging up our stuff, Ms. Ugly Lipstick was still on the other side, slowly placing her items in bags. The cashier had to double up and put the next person in line’s stuff on our side, even though the whole point of the layout is to alternate sides so that no one has to wait.

And here I thought Winco was fairly idiot-friendly.

“I want to do that sometime,” Paul told me as we walked to the parking lot. “I’ll walk up with one item and say ‘I want to buy this’ and then go back for something else, and then something else, do my entire shopping one thing at a time. Then I’ll see how long it takes the cashier to get rude.”

I snickered.

“And you pay fifteen bucks a month for HBO,” he scoffed. “You can get all your entertainment here for free!”

True that.

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