Jennifer D. Wade Journal

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Life in the Checkout Lane

When I go to the store (pretty much any store will do), I have this little trick that I do.  I always find the checkout lane that moves the slowest.  I'm so good at it, that I don't even have to try.  Jen's Law of Shopping states that:  The slowest lane will be whichever one Jen gets into.  Doesn't matter how many people are in front of me, or how many items they have.  It will be slow.  In fact, in many cases, some sort of rule of inverse proportions seems to apply, whereby the shorter the line appears to be, and the fewer items I have, the longer it will actually take to get through it.

I don't know why this rule/law/cruel joke of the universe applies to me, but it does.  I always seem to get behind the person who a) needs to split up the order into two groups; b) bought some item which requires a price check; c) thought the ad in last week's newspaper was still good for today.  Oh, it's not?  Then I don't want that; d) wants to pay with a check, but doesn't have their driver's license.  I've been in line behind them all and, sometimes, there was only one of them ahead of me!

This rule/law/cruel joke of the universe proved itself once again yesterday when I went to my least favorite store in the world - and you know WHICH ONE IT IS.  I wanted to hang a picture in my office, so I needed a frame, a matte, and some nails.  That's it.  Nothing else.

So, it's the middle of the afternoon when I arrive at the store.  And, as usual, it's mobbed with people meandering through the aisles, looking every which way except where they're going.  It's also very loud inside the store.  A combination of pop music and conversations made for a din that was louder than it needed to be, really.

Anyway, I manage to pick up my three items - a frame, a matte, and some nails - and head to the checkout area.  About half of the lanes seemed to be open, and they all seemed to have quite a few customers in them.  Then, I spotted the self-checkout area.  Aha!  That's usually good for small purchases. 

Not at my least favorite store in the world, it's not.  Despite signs which promise "Self checkout - Fast Lane", there were fairly long lines at each one, and a majority of people had carts which were fairly full of stuff.  I eventually ended up in a self-checkout lane, behind an older couple who had a few cans of peanuts.  They were behind a woman who had a cart, but appeared to be close to getting done.

Not at my least favorite store in the world.  This woman had enough stuff to last a family of five for a week.  And, she was the SLOWEST self checker-outer I have ever seen.  She was so slow that I can't even describe how slow she was.  Let me just say that it didn't help speed things up any when she kept pausing to pull her wandering kids back to her side.  So much for the "fast lane."  Jen would like there to be some laws about these things.

The old folks in front of me got fed up and took their stuff to the girl who was there to help people who needed help with the self checkout.  I and my three items went right up there behind them.  I think we qualified as "needing help" - to get the hell out of the store! 

This would never happen at Target.  

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