In a busy grocery store, a person is waiting in the
express lane for a very long time because the person
in front of him or her won’t stop talking to the cashier.
Person is on his or her lunch break and may have
to clock in late (5 minute drive back to work)…
I hate Martin’s Grocery Store.
Its my stupidity for stopping by the deli counter; I should’ve known better. Now, forty-five minutes of my lunch break has been ruined. All because the old timer moved as slow as molasses. Probably on purpose. She’s most likely a cat lover who hates people, who hates her life, and, most importantly, who hates her job.
Why else would she ignore me for thirty minutes before fixing my order? She had the nerve to make her quota sandwiches first to put on display. Then it took her an extra fifteen for mine. Apparently, a veggie sub was the most difficult thing on the menu.
Lesson learned. I won’t be coming to this damn store anymore. I sprinted through the pasta aisle, almost knocking a woman holding a little boy’s hand down. “Sorry,” I said.
Yes. No one’s in any lanes. That’s a first. Before I could bask in the glory, I stopped in my tracks. Geez Louise, I forgot my boss’s Doritoes.
Turning around, I speedwalked to the chip aisle. She was the reason why I was here in the first place. I grabbed the big bag and grinned. If I suck up enough, maybe she’ll get off my back.
I made my way back to the check-out counter. What the–? Where did all these people come from? There were five lanes filled with three people–who had a billion items in their carts–in each line.
I’ll take my chances at one of the express lanes, both have about twelve people in each. My retired baseball coach smiled. “Hey Dustin. How are you?”
“Hey Coach Mackie. I’m good. And yourself?”
“Still breathing. That’s always a plus,” he joked. We both laughed. “Look at you in a suit. You’ve come a long way since high school.”
I tugged at my tie. “Don’t let the suit fool you. I work in customer service.” I grinned.
We chuckled. Actually, I worked as a marketing consultant; I enjoyed my career. However, recently, I messed up. I had been dating my sexy, Cougar boss until I cheated on Maria with her sister. Now, she rides my ass whenever she can. Said the next time I’m late for work, I’m fired.
I looked at my watch. Fifteen minutes left. I had plenty of time. The line moved quickly. Now, only a lady at the register, then Coach Mackie, then me. No sweat. I pulled out my wallet, anticipating the transaction. It’d be nice to get to, you know, actually eat on my lunch break.
We had a staff meeting–corporate was in town–soon, and I didn’t want to go in there on an empty stomach.
Coach Mackie and I continued to make small talk because that’s what people do when impatiently waiting for their turn. I sighed, looking down at my watch again. Seriously, five minutes had passed. What was this lady doing?
I tapped my foot, drumming my fingers on the conveyor belt.
“Sorry ma’am. That card didn’t work either.” The cashier frowned.
The lady pulled out another credit card. “This one should work then.”
Of course, it didn’t. Bugged-eyed, I wanted to scream. This lady would end my career. Could be worse. At least I wasn’t Craig, who got fired on his day off over “stolen” boxes.
No, I’m just a pushover–prisoner to grocery store politics of wasting customers’ time. I glanced over at a magazine with Kim Kardashian on the cover. She used to be so hot until she turned her face into a plastic doll. I drooled over Susan Sarandon’s photo. Now, she was a fox.
If only I was a celebrity and could get away with being fashionably late.
“I’m so sorry, dear. I could’ve sworn money was in my account. I have to use change now.” She retrieved a piggy bank, reaching for coins.
Coins! This would take all day!
The cashier rolled her eyes. “It’s okay, ma’am. Take your time.”
Take your time. A plague on both their houses. I tapped my foot impatiently, wiping sweat from my forehead. Coach Mackie conversed with me, but I couldn’t focus on what he was saying.
It felt like I was stuck in a comedy sitcom–the scene where everything plays in slow motion to empathize how bad the character’s life is going. Except I’m not an actor who’ll hear “Cut.” This was my real life.
“Ma’am. The total is $5.20. You only have $5.05.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry, sweetie.”
The lady shook her head. “Oh no, sweetie. I can’t cheat the system.”
But you can ruin my life!
“It was nice seeing you again, Coach Mackie.” I patted him on the shoulder, then walked over to stand beside the lady. I handed the cashier my two items. “Ring these up.”
“You can’t cut in line, sir.” The cashier folded her arms across her chest.
I took a deep breath to try and calm down. I couldn’t act a fool in here, but I was two seconds away from being banned. I threw the sub and Doritoes at her. “Ring these up. I’ll pay for them.” Frazzled, I put a twenty dollar bill in the lady’s palm of her hand. “Keep the change.” I rushed out this hell hole they call Martin’s Grocery Store.
“Fifty on pump one.” I slumped my shoulders. I sighed and closed my eyes. It took all of me not to cry. I couldn’t even bear to think of the box on my passenger seat from where I had to clear my desk. Maria had fired me, yet accepted the chips. Cold-hearted bitch.
I reached for my wallet and opened it. This couldn’t be right. Wide-eyed, I searched through it again. I pulled out a twenty dollar bill. Earlier I had two bills–one a twenty and the other a fifty.
I scratched the top of my head, disheveling my dirty blonde hair even more. I had given the annoying lady a twenty–
Wait a minute!
A line formed at WaWa, a convenience store. I whispered, “I could’ve swore…nevermind.” I pouted. “I’m sorry, make that twenty on pump one.”
I handed the cashier my dollar bill in defeat. Twenty dollars wouldn’t even get me to the unemployment office in the morning. I shook my head, sighing loudly.
Where’s a therapist when you need one?
** If anyone would like to share their take on this creative writing prompt, email me at Author.Yawatta.Hosby(AT)aol(DOT)com**