The Supermarket

I am not a huge fan of shopping, but I don’t hate it either. For that matter I kind of enjoy spending time and Trader Joes and Costco. They certainly are better than a crowded mall, unless it is right before a holiday in which case they are just as horrible as every other retail establishment.

Supermarkets aren’t all that bad either. I can’t say that I like them as much as Trader Joes and Costco, but any place that feeds me starts out with a couple of bonus points. All that being said there are some real issues that bug me about them.

To begin I want to know why they bother to set up 27 checkout stands as no matter what time/day or how busy they are I can guarantee that only five of them will be manned by a live cashier. That leaves 22 empty stands and several lines.

The problem with a line is that it leaves me with plenty of time to stand around and look for ways to entertain myself which usually translates into get in trouble. One day I’ll have to share the tale of juggling a seven pound watermelon, a small bottle of Vodka and a plum. It is quite entertaining but now is not the time nor the place.

Here is another thing about those freaking empty checkout stands that aggravates me. How many times have you been standing in line and seen this happen. A store employee ambles on over to an empty register. It looks like they are about to open it up for use. The overly optimistic part of me is always pleased to see this as I naturally assume that the store management agrees that it is considered bad form to make customers wait in line for so long that their purchases spoil prior to exiting the store.

More often than not that fantasy is spoiled. Here is the skinny on how that goes down.

Whenever I stand in line I spend a few minutes conducting surveillance. I look for the crazed crackhead who is seconds away from pulling out a sawed-off shotgun and robbing us all so that he can go score some more rocks. In my old age I may be a step slower but I still have a cannon for an arm and big hands. I can guarantee that I can grab a cantaloupe out of the cart, fling it at the crackhead and knock that gun out of his hands before he can harm anyone.

Or alternatively I can grab the gum and mints off of the counter and hurl them at him in a furious frenzy. While he is fending off a swarm of Dentyne I’ll vault over the stand and use the closest magazine to knock him out. In general I prefer People Magazine’s 50 most Beautiful People. It is a little bit heavier and whoever is on the cover is of much more use to me as a bat then eyecandy.

Sometimes I get bored with the crazed crackhead routine and I look for the crazy terrorist. There is a slight variation on the theme and a small change in how I rescue everyone and earn free groceries for a year. In the terrorist scenario I sometimes pull their kaffiyeh over their eyes and box their ears or sometimes I just show them offensive cartoons and make them go crazy.

Once I stopped a near incident by handing the guy lighter fluid and a couple of American/Israeli flags. The poor fella got so caught up in burning those that he didn’t realize I had taken his weapon.

Anyhoo, I seem to have lost my way. Time to get back to reality. And the reality is that while I am conducting surveillance I scan the registers to see if a new one is about to open because everyone knows that there is an artform to getting to that newly opened register. You can’t just walk over there. You’ll cause a stampede.

Heaven forbid that the herd notice the empty register. The trick is to quietly leave the line while muttering something about having forgotten to buy Spaghetti O’s. So you leave the line you are in and quietly mosey on to the newly opened line and then bam! They get you.

You see that newly opened register is not really open. It is a stupid trick that the store management uses to enteratain themselves. They love watching people lose their places in line. It gives them a big hearty laugh. This is also why I like to rearrange the shelves. Waste my time and watch me help you waste yours, you line shifting bastards.

All that effort to quietly move lines so that you can gain a better position and what happens. Nothing, other than you have given up your prior place so that you can start over. And just to add insult to injury you look back at the old line to see that the guy who was three places behind you is checking out.

Oh my, why did I ever move.

Did I mention my issues with the people outside the store. Have I told you about my troubles with the Girlscouts and their bleeping cookies, or the 17 clipboard carrying canaries who assault you with petitions that you must sign because if you don’t the environment will fail, children will die of drugs, oil cartels will rule the world and the poor Dodo bird may face extinction.

Perhaps I’ll save that for a different post. I have a lot more that I could write about including shopping carts. There is a shopping cart law that applies to me. It is the one that mandates that I must always pick a cart that has a bad wheel that refuses to turn and that when it does it must emit a squeak that is so loud dogs scream “Crap! that hurts that bleeping ears.!”

That is it for now, until next time.

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  1. MUST Gum Addict February 28, 2006 at 9:54 am

    Managers taste like chicken. Don’t ask how I know…

  2. Jack's Shack February 28, 2006 at 7:05 am

    I might have to try that, biting the mgr. that is.

  3. Miss Nibbles February 28, 2006 at 6:50 am


    Oh man. That’s funniness in a Wal-mart sack.

    I hate it when the self check out lane looks open… and then you are there checking yourself out, and then they turn off the machine.

    Yeah, that wasn’t funny.

    I would have sent my child to bite the manager… but I didn’t. (plus he can’t follow complicated instructions like that…. yet)

  4. Jack's Shack February 28, 2006 at 6:04 am

    I dislike Walmart immensely, but you are absolutely correct. Glad that this is a classic post.

    What elements are required to become a classic Jack?

  5. Ezzie February 28, 2006 at 5:38 am

    I’ve always been of the belief that the first supermarket to man all the lines would rake in billions. Notice how Walmart has a million and one places to check out? Why do you think they’re so successful! (plus, there’s none of that “omg, we have too much stuff, put this back” – instead it’s ‘sorry, we already bought it’)

    btw, this was a classic Jack post. I loved it. 🙂

  6. Jack's Shack February 28, 2006 at 5:29 am


    Sometimes just getting into the store is a major chore.


    I refuse to give up. It is not in my nature.


    Sundays are a horrible day to hit the store and a great day to see them understaffed.


    I bet.


    That sounds unpleasant.


    The Hinderburg- I love that line as it just says so much.

  7. Minor Fast Days February 28, 2006 at 4:25 am

    Oh the humanity…

    it seems like, even with all the time-saving technology, we still have lines and traffic…

  8. Regina Clare Jane February 28, 2006 at 2:52 am

    The problem with our grocery store is the entrance into the store. It is only wide enough for probably two people to go through at a time. So, you have people coming in with a cart and people coming out with a cart handled by a bag-boy who could care less whose feet he runs over. Everybody ends up doing the waltz with each as we can’t figure out how to get in or out of the store in an organized manner.
    I hate the grocery store…

  9. Stacey February 28, 2006 at 12:21 am

    I hate when grocery stores are short on bag boys. If I wanted to bag my own groceries, I’d go to Sack-n-Save.

  10. Gooch February 27, 2006 at 10:39 pm

    I hate, hate, hate it when grocery stores don’t adequately staff their stores on busy days. Such as yesterday, Sunday, one of the busier shopping days of the week, and maybe 3 out of a zillion lines were open.

  11. MUST Gum Addict February 27, 2006 at 8:52 pm

    I’ve given up Jack. My wife has successfully convinced me that I will forever always be in the slowest lane on the highway… find the parking spot most furthest from the place we’re going… stand in the longest line at the supermarket… wait in the longest toll lane (for those without EZ-PASS, and when there IS EZ-PASS, I will always get stuck behind the idiot who’s EZ-PASS isn’t working)… and life goes on…

    You’ll find that life is easier once you accept your true place in life.

  12. swiftthinker February 27, 2006 at 8:37 pm

    I hate when they try and sell me a subscription to the post outside the store. On the days that I’m really interested I’ll splurge on the 50 cents at a newsstand and not save a dime per day on the subscription.

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