I hate buying groceries.
I know. You’re probably surprised.
Alas, it eventually has to be done. By yesterday, my pantry looked like this:
That isn’t the pantry of a family that is in any danger of going hungry, but Brian told me that if I tried to feed him one more bowl of beans and rice, he was going to consider roasting one of the dogs. The refrigerator was just as empty, but my recent cleaning frenzy hasn’t reached the refrigerator yet so you’ll have to go without the visual aid. Nobody wants to look at pictures of sticky, jam-stained appliances.
So, time to buy groceries, which I hate to do. In order to make the agony of shopping happen as infrequently as possible, I do it thusly:
- I make a menu of a dozen or so dinners and put all the necessary ingredients on the list.
- I add all the staples we need to the list – peanut butter, toilet paper, milk, etc.
- I go to the store and gather everything on my list.
- I go up and down every aisle and put everything I see that is a) not deadly and b) the locusts who live in my house will eat. I gather yogurt, crackers, fruit, pretzels, and everything else I see until the cart is so heavy I can barely push it and/or until it’s so full that stuff is leaping off the top.
- I crown it all with half-a-dozen loaves of bread and head to the checkout stand.
This morning, I was finally finished loading my cart and ready to pay, and whaddya know? My card was declined.
What the hell? I checked my account balances before I left the house and there should have been plenty of money, and of course, there were half-a-dozen cranky shoppers in line behind me.
Modern technology to the rescue. I told the checker to cancel my transaction and said, “I’ll just stand right over here and figure out what’s going on.”
She looked at me like I had a giant booger on my face and called a manager while I got out my phone.
The customer service manager, when she arrived, wasted no time making sure I knew that she was a bad ass and that I was in her territory. “I’ll have your cart over at customer service when you come back.”
“No, wait. I’m not going anywhere,” I said. “I can fix this. It’ll only take a minute.”
“Ma’am? I will have your cart at customer service.” Apparently she was not only a bad ass, but I’m also hard of hearing because she said this part quite loudly.
Turns out, I can be kind of loud and snotty, too. Who knew?* “Don’t move this cart. I’ll pay for these groceries in just a minute.”
People? She stood there and stared at me while I used my phone to transfer money. Just stared right at me.
What did she think I was going to do? Get my fat, middle-aged self in gear and take off running with my 9,000 pound grocery cart?
Then I started imagining that I had traveled back in time and she was a cave woman and I was using a Bic lighter, but instead of oohing and aahing, she opted to stare and assume I had big plans to burn down the world.
At which point I developed the church giggles, causing the manager to look not only cranky, but like she just stepped in a giant steaming pile is dog poop.
That was a proud moment.
I finished transferring money and said to the cashier, “I can pay now.”
The manager sniffed, “We’ll see.”
Clearly, I was doing some magic, secret, fraudulent something there with my phone. I got away with my criminal behavior today, but I’m pretty sure she’ll have her eye on me next time!
Big surprise, though: my wizardry or magic or whatever I was doing with my phone worked and I managed to pay for my groceries.
I drove home, amazed at how awesomely cool modern technology is (Remember when, if you needed money, you had to go to a bank?) and wondering when we’ll develop something that can remove the paranoid unpleasantness from the personalities of people who have an excess of those qualities.
*Besides everybody, I mean.