wine by the color

Friday, January 20, 2006

I don’t get as fired up as I used to on a regular basis, but there are still some things that utterly irk me. Most of them revolve around the inadequacies of my fellow Garden State motorists. But today’s example comes from the local grocery store…

At my supermarket of choice, there is a checkout wunderkind named Chris. I’d say he’s around 18 years old. I can’t tell if he’s still in high school or if this is his post-graduate career path. Either way, Chris is completely aggravated to be working in the grocery distribution field.

For starters, he does not offer any acknowledgement when he begins scanning your groceries. I’m a friendly person, and I like to say hi to my grocery store friends. Hell, I gave the guys at the deli counter Christmas cookies. But he goes out of his way to ignore customers, looking off at the ceiling, making no eye contact whatsoever. There is some deep sighing as he works through the minutiae of scanning groceries and dealing with inconveniences like coupons. Then, instead of simply placing groceries on the moving belt, he throws them down toward the bagging area. Glass bottles, fruits, doesn’t matter. It’s getting tossed.

The first time he waited on me, I used my steely glare to try to break him of this. Ineffective. The next time I had the pleasure of his special brand of customer service, we enjoyed the following exchange:

Me: “Is it really necessary for you to throw my groceries like that?”
Him: “Huh?”

So after that I vowed to never again visit a line being manned by Chris the Checkout Crank (if he were female, I might be tempted to complete that alliterative description with the grande dame of four letter words, but it just doesn’t work in this case).

I had a chance to put that theory into practice this week. I picked up a few items and headed to the express checkout lane, where I was pleased to find no line. What I did find, however, was Chris manning the checkout. So instead of putting my groceries on the belt, I turned around and moved to a checkout lane with two people in front of me. Cutting off my nose to spite my face? Perhaps. But I felt better. And I knew my groceries would be safer.

And then, something magical happened. One of the store managers, who apparently has nothing better to do than direct people around the checkout lanes, approached and told me that I could move to Lane #2, as there was no line. I informed him that I would rather wait on a line of 30 people before I’d move to Chris’s lane. He asked why, and I delightfully told him my reasons.

I don’t think I’ll be seeing Chris’s face on the Employee of the Month board anytime soon…


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