Thursday, March 20, 2008

My mother and the clerk

I tend to shop at the same time of day (late morning, early afternoon) and so usually see the same check-out clerks at my favorite grocery and big box stores. I normally pick the shortest line, but after consideration, I'm no longer going to do so. I'm going to pick a favorite clerk.

This trait always bugged me about my mother. She had favorites and would wait in long lines just to have them check her week's shopping. So we'd stand and stand and stand and my sister and I would fidget and once we got there, Mother and the clerk would enjoin in a gabfest of monumental proportions and we'd have even more time in line. While Mother always said it was because certain clerks were more competent than others (this was way before computers put the little white price tags out of business) and made fewer mistakes, I maintained--to myself--that it was merely a case of gossip overload.

However--and I'm way past the age to be imitating my mother on this--I'm beginning to see what she was talking about. I had a handful of coupons the other day, many of which were for free items. I'd had one such the previous week, it had been for nearly $6 (a ladies' razor system) and the inexperienced clerk had had a time making the computer cash register take it. I wasn't about to play that game again, so I sought out a line belonging to a clerk I knew had experience. Sure enough, the free item coupons breezed right through.

It was then I realized I was playing Mother's game. Shock and horror: it was a late in life realization that she was onto something.

And if that wasn't bad enough, I did it again today.



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