I Am The Line Slayer

Curse you, Peg-o-Leg!

A helpful assistant manager was directing traffic to the checkout lines at the grocery store today and pointed me to the shortest line.  I followed his direction, but my answering smile was rueful.  I knew this was going to be an epic fail.

I considered telling him he might as well send me to the longest line they had in the place.  It doesn’t matter which line I’m in; it never does.  Whichever one I pick will turn out to be the slowest.

I am The Line Slayer.

Do you remember the story of Sleeping Beauty?  Her parents did not invite the Evil Queen to baby Aurora’s christening.  In return, the furious Queen cursed the infant.

It turns out my parents left the Evil Queen off the guest list for MY baptism, too.  Legend has it that she still showed up at the shindig down at the Elks Lodge and cursed the adorable, infant me.

“Hear me well!  I curse this child.  For all eternity, whichever line she is in, that will become the longest, slowest line.  I dub her The Line Slayer.”  Her awful voice rang out. “And I’m going to toss in a near-fatal addiction to sweets, too, because I’m really ticked-off.  C’mon, what’s it costing you here –  $4 a plate, including the cake?  It was just rude not to invite me.”

I’ve tried to outrun the evil curse; lord knows I’ve tried.  Whenever I approach a line, I’m counting heads, carts or cars in front of me.  I’m weighing the odds, playing the angles, plotting strategies.   Whether on foot or on wheels, the story is the same.   The curse follows me.

Today was no exception.

There was only one lady in line ahead of me, and she was already getting checked out when I wheeled up behind.  All she had was:
3, 12 packs of Coke
3, 12 packs of Diet 7-Up
5 bottles of flavored water.

I thought, “I’ll be out of here in a jiffy!”

That’s the worst part of the curse; that I still allow myself to hope.

The Coke was on sale, but it wasn’t ringing up right.   The cashier looked up the correct price in the sales flyer, backed out the old transaction and re-entered it manually.

The 7-Up rang up at full price, but the lady said that was supposed to be on sale, too.  The cashier searched the sales flyer front to back, all the while looking suspiciously at the soda-lady, suspecting her of foul soda-price tampering.  Soda-lady stood firm.  The cashier sent the bag-boy back to the display to confirm the price.  It was located, naturally, in the far back corner of the store.   He came strolling back 10 minutes later to say yes, the sign DID say the 7-Up was on sale, but if you looked closely, it also said that only the regular was on sale, not the diet.  Soda-lady didn’t really want it badly enough to pay full price, so it had to be cancelled out.  A manager was summoned for this high-level transaction.

Next came the water.  Soda-lady had a coupon for that, but it wouldn’t work.  Both the cashier and the soda-lady examined the coupon with an intensity one would normally reserve for a treasure map to the Lost City of Atlantis.  Turns out the coupon had expired last year.

Finally, all was done and it was time to pay.  Soda-lady wasn’t very well versed with her new-fangled debit card.  She swiped the card backwards, forwards and sideways before it finally took.  The credit verifying company in New Delhi experienced a temporary cyber hiccup and the entire transaction disappeared.  Soda-lady had to reswipe her card again, upside down and sideways, before it went through.

Then, halleluiah – it was finished!

All the while this was going on, soda-lady and the cashier kept up a running commentary about an aide who worked at a local nursing home.  Wasn’t it a shame about how bad she was, and “do you know what I heard about her?”  The cashier relayed interesting tidbits about the despised nurses aide long after the transaction had been completed, holding on to the receipt and gesturing with it for emphasis.

By this time, the box of low-fat fudgecicles I was buying had melted and formed a brown river running down the conveyor belt.  The fudge river swirled around my now-wilted spinach.  I started thinking about abstract art and water pollution.

I snapped out of my reverie (really more of a trance by now) when soda-lady pushed her cart away from the register.  She looked back apologetically at me, shrugged and said “Sorry!”

“No, no – it’s not your fault” I said earnestly.  “It doesn’t matter which line I choose, it always ends up to be the one with the slowest, most incompetent cashier, the most complicated orders and the most clueless customers.”

“It’s not you, it’s me.”  I finished up, glad I could relieve her mind. “I’m cursed!”

For some reason both the cashier and the soda-lady looked ticked off.  I guess that’s just part of the curse of being me; The Line Slayer.

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About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
This entry was posted in General Ramblings and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

94 Responses to I Am The Line Slayer

  1. It appears that customer in front of you was not getting the message the universe was sending her: “don’t buy the damn soda!”

    Like

  2. Sandy says:

    I now know why I too get stuck in the slowest line even though I do lane hopping. I never thought I had been cursed. My biggest peeve though is when after standing in the one open lane, it is now my turn and they open 5 more lanes. I think it is a conspiracy. One day we might share a line at the checkout. Maybe it’s a subtle way to keep us from buying the fudgecicles or in my case, chocolate.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      They were low-fat! Surely the universe is ok with the low-fat??? It sounds like the Evil Queen showed up at your christening as well. It’s our cross to bear. Sigh.

      Like

  3. k8edid says:

    Sigh. I have suffered with this malady for years. I have often said to people behind me “you may want to change lanes, this one is going to come to a screeching halt”. We need a self-help group, or perhaps an assigned lane at the store where only those of us with the ability to halt free trade by our mere presence can shop.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      The ability to halt free trade by your mere presence is an awesome power to have, Katy. We must be sure and use it for good. Hows about we take a trip to the Middle East and go to the gas store? We can shut down those seeking to rob America on oil!

      Like

      • k8edid says:

        Yes!!! I’m in. Let me make sure my passport is up-to-date. Oh, wait. I had different color hair in that picture (actually, my had color as opposed to its current pigmentless state). I am sure this will mark me as a terrorist (as if my orthopedic shoes don’t give me away) and I’m certain to be selected for one of those “intense” screenings. On second thought, let’s just cause mayhem here in the States.

        Like

  4. Oh Peg, we must have a sleepover! I ALWAYS get into the worst line. Even when there is one person ahead of me, 1) the register runs out of money/paper/springs 2)the person is trying to pay with foreign currency/a non-working credit card/Monopoly money 3) the person starts arguing with the cashier about the price of the item, resulting in the manager being called over or a gun being pulled out

    Like

  5. I have a similar affliction. I don’t always end up in the slow line. Just when I’m in a hurry. When I’m not in a hurry, I zoom right through.

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  6. This is a tough burden to carry, Peg. 🙂 But I am happy to see that you still hold out hope (even if you say it’s part of the curse). Hang in there — even curses have expiration dates, right? But if you can’t wait, maybe you need to find a frog in the store to kiss, or a sword to pull from a rock. There’s got to be something.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Good idea! I forgot that there’s always some deed you can do to break the curse. I think I saw a dragon in the produce aisle – I’ll just slay that!

      Like

  7. winsomebella says:

    So good that you spoke those kind, uplifting words to the cashier and soda lady. They deserve it 🙂

    Like

  8. Angie Z. says:

    I always get behind the old man who is counting out his pennies. Or the person with a coupon for every item and they have to check to make sure the coupon was used for every item. Are you sure you got this coupon? Standing behind the price checking nonsense is like a slow painful death. But I’m too nice in general. I let about everyone get in front of me. When I’m by myself that is. When I’m with my kids, get the hell out of my way before we all implode.

    I loved the description of them examining the coupon. Loved it. Laughed out loud, which I don’t do nearly enough while reading anything.

    Like

  9. Worrywart says:

    I think you reframed your misery beautifully by writing a hilarious post (note: I’m working on reframing my negative thoughts according to Weight Watchers this will make me skinny).

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I’m all in favor of looking on the bright side occasionally, but I think Jennifer Hudson is pulling your leg on the weight-loss promise. Besides, you look great as you are!

      Like

  10. gojulesgo says:

    Remind me to thank my parents for not baptizing me.

    I so feel your pain. Although, if you’re impatient like me, Jersey is the place to live. There’s no chatting on lines. EVERYONE has somewhere better to be. (People seem to come to my parties with the same attitude. Hmm…)

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Oh how I long for such simple, honest rudeness. Here in small-townville, everybody has to chat and smile and pretend to be patient when what you really want to do is drop-kick the old man with the pennies.

      Like

  11. Ha! You made me laugh, as usual. I feel your pain. I think I’ve been cursed too….

    The only thing worse is standing in a line which takes ages is standing in the line for the self check-out, when someone is taking eons to swipe the items and then they can’t work out what to do next because the machine has decided to take its own sweet time… Then they realize that not all the items were successfully swiped and have to rummage in the (by now, bagged items) to find the one which didn’t go through. And I’m standing in the line, thinking ‘I could do it so much faster than them’. By the time I finally get to take my turn, of course the same thing happens to me, forcing me to eat my words. Those self check-outs are a darn nuisance!

    Like

  12. You’re my Post of the Day. Sorry, no cash comes with that honor. HF

    Like

  13. Great post! I always pick the slowest line, too. Either that, or I’m the cursed one who causes the line to come to a screeching halt? Not sure. All lines cause me to become very anxious. I did a post on stabding in lines, not too long ago myself.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      There have been times when I’m the problem, but I tend to erase those from my memories. I prefer to think of myself as the long-suffering victim, rather than the old man with the pennies.

      Like

  14. You, too, eh? I am seriously considering getting a sign to put on by back: “Don’t follow me. I am in the wrong line.”

    Like

  15. Al says:

    This is why agoraphobia has reached such epidemic proportions. But thanks for the heads up. If I ever see someone with a blonde wig and Dorothy shoes in line, I’ll change lanes.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      It’s my signature look. That way, when I get too frustrated I just click my heels together, murmur “There’s no place like home”, and I’m back in Kansas.

      Like

  16. sukanya says:

    You are not alone. When I am stuck in a line at a store, I usually pick up the trashiest magazine and get up to speed with whats happening with the Angelina Jolies and Bard Pitts of the world. Celebrity news/rumors work magic on my impatience and short fuse.

    Like

  17. i mayfly says:

    I have the antidote. Or at least it works for me. As I get in line I’ll pick out an interesting magazine (in the evil temptation section) and quickly scour it for an article I’m eager to read. I have no intention of purchasing this particular magazine or tabloid, but I figure I’ll expand my mind while I have this opportunity, right? I’m amazed at how quickly that blankety-blank line starts to move as soon as I find juicy tidbit. For me, it works every time.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Good thinking! I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I do that when I’m in line in my car. I start cleaning out my purse, or balancing my checkbook until some rude car horn recalls me to the current traffic situation.

      Like

  18. Mary Kay says:

    I dislike self checkout and don’t use it myself but if hubby comes with he ALWAYS uses it and we always run into trouble and have to call the checkout nazi over to help us. Remind me NOT to stand in a line with you.

    Like

  19. Tar-Buns says:

    It must be a family curse … always happens to me as well. And, I rarely ever use the self-checkout. Only if I only have a few items and no line! Otherwise, I figure bagging my stuff is part of their job so why should I deprive them of that joy? 🙂

    Like

  20. judithhb says:

    As we all suffer from this curse Peg I wonder who those lucky folk are who just whiz through the lines. Yesterday I got behind a group of laughing (and Imight add lovely) young women who discussed with the cashier the upcoming birthday and the party. I stood there listening while they sent a bag boy off to find out the price of a small packet of potato chips of which they had many, and then when he did return the conversation kept on. I did say to them that while I enjoyed listening to their lives I too had a life and would like to move on. They apologised, waved and smiled and left with their potato chips.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Good for you for having the guts to say something, and for them for taking it in good spirits. That’s the way this sort of thing SHOULD play out.

      Like

  21. Well, excuuuuuuuse me! But I had to get that 7-Up and Coke, it helps keep my blood sugar spiked nice and high and steady all day. And so what, I tried to save a few bucks, can ya blame me?

    Like

    • This post was perfect today because I was out running errands. At Walmart (don’t judge) I was behind an elderly couple who had to ask the clerk to double check every. single. item. on their receipt to make sure they weren’t getting ripped off while I stood there with my bottle of cheap wine (don’t judge), glancing at my watch and cursing under my breath. Then I just repeated ‘Serenity now!’ and all was forgiven.

      Like

      • Tar-Buns says:

        Hahahahahaaaaa!!! Love it, Maineiac! Made me laugh out loud and I needed that today what with a know-it-all 16 year old telling me the lessons we were doing were 5th grade stuff (I teach alternative HS). She called me out in my own classroom!!!!

        I was so stunned (one of the better students) I have devised a way to circumvent the mob mentality in the classroom tomorrow. Geez. I’ll take the line problem over this adolescent BS anyday! (Sorry to be a downer; that is my life right now)

        Carry one, Peg posters! 🙂

        Like

        • Tar-Buns says:

          Oops – that would be “Carry on, Peg posters!

          Like

        • Oh, no, you did have a bad day! Between Peg’s impatience with me buying all that soda and you dealing with a testy high schooler, you both need to go out and have a drink or two later this week.

          Like

        • pegoleg says:

          Miss Tar, how dreadful! Tell little miss smarty pants “Perhaps your would be happier at an alternative HS – you know, the one you couldn’t handle to get sent to this one?”
          Or a calm response “Then you’ll have no trouble getting an A in this class, will you? Except that behavior also factors into the grade.” Snot!

          Like

      • pegoleg says:

        I may need to have the Serenity Prayer tattooed on my arm so I can repeat it constantly. I think I would have gone postal in your situation. Or, do you think anyone would mind if I dropped to the ground, assumed the lotus position, closed my eyes and chanted “ohm, ohm” until the urge to hurt passed?

        Like

        • Tar-Buns says:

          Took a while to return to this blog, as your recent ones have been so stellar!

          Yes, I would have liked to go postal on this gal, like “hmmm, tell me, how did you get your college degree without having a HS diploma?

          And, you’re a certified teacher as well? My, my, (and so on before I really start ranting!)”
          Still bothers me today. Don’t like confrontations and sometimes that impedes my best reply, which comes AFTER the meeting. Sigh…
          Love ya, T

          Like

  22. Elyse says:

    I’m still wiping tears from this line: I started thinking about abstract art and water pollution.

    But you know, it could be the red shoes.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I always draw myself in red high heels because I WANT to have the kind of life that requires one to wear red high heels, and validates that choice. Or because it looks funny.

      Like

  23. joehoover says:

    I’m glad we don’t have the coupon culture here, I wwatched an episode of extreme couponing last week, and you have guns over there too. Why are there not more trolley-rage fatalities?

    I’m a great shopper, storming round the supermarket knowing precisly what I want and where it si, throwing people aside, then it’s the idiots at the tills. I have a very prounounced “Tut” which is used frequently in their direction.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      You’re so right – that is the next, big reality show: “Extreme Couponing meets Dead Eye Shot”. Only in America, Joe.

      Hows the fight going to save your local pub?

      Like

      • joehoover says:

        We have a meeting next week, seems a bit far away, they’ll probably get planning permission by then. Looks bad, the same owner got the same planning permission for another of his pubs granted last week.

        We’ll have to stage a sit in, as long as they don’t turn the beer taps off!

        Like

  24. That explains it…I’ve been cursed by that same witch all these years and i thought it was just my having a knack for choosing the right line. Evil witches and wicked step-mothers are surely to blame for my male-pattern baldness as well. Thanks Answer-Lady!

    Like

  25. I am not afflicted with this malady, a fact for which I intend to be grateful in the future!

    Like

  26. lexiesnana says:

    I always always always get behind the person on the cell phone in the check out line and it drives me crazy because their kids are screaming and dropping crap all over the place and cell phone important person doesn’t even notice.Yikes

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      That person was in the stall next to me at a restaurant last night. She kept saying “Hello? Hello?” I wanted to say “nobody here but us turds!”

      C’mon people. What you have to say is no doubt fascinating, but there’s a time and a place!

      Like

      • pegoleg says:

        Just reread my own comment (because I’m anal and obsessive that way) and noticed I wasn’t clear that the person on the phone was in the stall in THE BATHROOM. Hence the “turds” comment.

        That is all.

        Like

  27. Spectra says:

    “That’s the worst part of the curse; that I still allow myself to hope.”

    LOL. Too funny, and sadly, too true.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Sometimes I test my theory that I am magnetized to slow down the line and I go to the longest line on purpose. I still wait a really long time so, yeah, that doesn’t prove anything.

      Like

  28. I’m finding it’s worse to go into stores in small communities. When the folks know each other, they will chat. ALL. DAY. LONG!

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      So true! And you have to smile and play along because they know YOU. Only when I’m up in the city do I truly feel free to be myself – rude and impatient.

      Like

  29. I thought it was JUST ME! This happens to me EVERY TIME! It’s like the opening scene to ‘Office Space’. With foodstuffs.
    The other thing I ‘love’ is when the bearer of an expired coupon starts to scream and yell at the poor cashier when s/he can’t accept it. Like it’s their own personal policy to turn down coupons that were printed when Eisenhower was still in office. Awful.
    🙂

    Like

  30. I found you thanks to Harper Faulkner. Your line story is a familiar one. The people on line in front of me invariably want to pay by check (who even DOES that anymore?), they insist that their coupons are valid when they aren’t, they quibble with the cashier over the price of each and every item, and then they take their own sweet time moving on. It’s the sort of thing that makes me wonder if this is Purgatory.

    Like

  31. mistyslaws says:

    Wait . . . I thought that only happened to me? I have always been cursed with that as well!! No matter how short the line is, it will take the longest if I stand in it. Wow, do you think maybe we are sister princesses BOTH cursed and then seperated after that baptism? That would finally make so much sense! Thanks for clearing that up for me. Thanks, sis!

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I don’t know – do you only truly feel comfortable when wearing a tiara? If so, you could be a sister princess. Or you’re just watching too much Toddlers & Tiaras.

      There are so many of us with this afflication, stores are starting to install Line Slayer registers right next to the Express!

      Like

  32. Margie says:

    An absolutely awesome post. I laughed the whole way through (but cried at the demise of the fudgecicles….)

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      It was sad. Then to add insult to injury, when I got home I discovered that not only were they melted, but I specifically bought those 2 packs because of the “$1 off this box” coupon attached to the top of each, and they WERE STILL ATTACHED! That damn store owes me $2.

      I’m going to have to find the receipt, get the other coupon off the box in the basement freezer (and the basement is under water after last night’s downpour) make another trip to the store, wait in line…grumble, grumble, bitch, moan, you get the rest of this.

      Like

  33. Dana says:

    I was a grocery store cashier way back in the day. You Line Slayers were the bane of my existence! I swear, I could have had everybody bagged up and ready to go in record time each and every transaction, but there was always one Line Slayer at my checkout. Always. The curse hurts us all, Peg.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Dana, how can you be so cruel? I’m a victim here. MY shenanigans never hold up the line, it’s just that my mere presence makes everything in front of me turn to molasses in January.

      Like

  34. Barb says:

    I love those sel-checks. Well, I also curse them. Some of them freeze if you bump them or breath on them. I try never to shop on senior day which seems to be Tuesday here. Of course, I probably qualify to shop that day because I’m so brain addled I can’t find my head much less my purse. Great post.

    Like

  35. Pingback: One and Done Sunday #16 | JM Randolph, accidentalstepmom

  36. pattisj says:

    I love the self-checkout line! Unless I have a very large order that will not fit in the bagging area until complete, because the “lady” in the machine won’t let me remove my bags until she says so.

    Like

  37. I, too, am a line slayer! I love this post! It seems like I always have the underage cashier who has to put the light on to get a manager to ring up wine for me. Not that I am a wino, but I buy my share! 🙂

    Like

  38. Pingback: With Apologies to Robert Frost | Peg-o-Leg's Ramblings

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