I am constantly misjudging the amount of time it will take me to get in and out of Dollar General on the way to work. Either I end up with fifteen minutes to kill or I'm racing through the back door at work with nary a second to spare.
Yesterday I went into DG, grabbed some ice cream placed only inches from the checkout counter, and jumped in line. There was only one old couple in front of me and they only had three things in their cart: a jar of cherries, a birthday card and some box matches. PHEW! I was definitely going to be on time.
They took the items out of the cart one by one, resting a few seconds in between because apparently birthday cards weigh heavier than we think, people! As the cashier was ringing them up, the wife went over to put the cart away. After fussing with it a few seconds, and just as the cashier calls out the total, Grandma beckons her husband over to aid her in her cart plight. They both fiddle with it while three more people get in line behind me. "Cart plight" sounds like something that would require Cart Aid, doesn't it? "We are the carts, we are the misfits, we are the ones with the wobbly wheels, so let's start giving. There's a choice we're making, taking carts with broken wheels..." ANYWHO.
The whole time I'm thinking, "Come on, damn it!!! Everybody knows you fug with the cart AFTER you pay." So Grandpa comes back to the checkout and despite the fact that the woman repeated, "Five dollars and twenty one cents" about three times, Grandpa Doubting Thomas decided he needed to squint at the register for several long seconds to see if she was lying. Can't blame him. You know how cashiers are constantly trying to cheat old people by saying one figure, charging another, then pocketing the difference. Hey, if you do this for several months, you'll have enough money for one of those really big Snicker bars. After a bit, Grandpa declares, "Five dollars and twenty one cents" as if he was required to come up with that figure all on his own.
He pulls out his wallet and several moths flew right into my face, all but blinding me. I see a five dollar bill CLEARLY among his bills and telepathically, I'm willing him to pull out that five. "Pick the five, PICK THE DAMN FIVE!!" Then I hear, "Onnnnne.......twwwwwo.........."
Son of a bitch. I don't know why he wasted those ones. Now he's going to have to get more change for the strip club.
He stalled out on four. "I know I have another one in here somewhere," and then he said words that sent chills down my spine, "If not, I'm sure I have the change." Instantly I imagined him counting out one hundred and twenty one pennies. Brrrrrrrrrr.
A pack of wild dogs ran past us and out the front door. Ok, not really. Just wanted to see if you were still awake.
At this point my ice cream is melting in my hand and I'm seriously contemplating opening it and eating it with my finger while Grandpa Moses finds that last dollar bill. Even if he does find a paper bill, I know I'm going to be there awhile because no way in Hell is he going to drop a quarter on the cash register because that, my friend, would result in change. And if there's one thing old people can't stand, it's change.
Glancing at the clock, I know I'm going to barely make it on time, when Grandma pulls out her change purse and declares she has the right change if Grandpa doesn't. Grandpa insists he doesn't need her change, he has it. It's moments like this I wish I had a gun and no conscience.
Well, suddenly Grandpa finds a dollar bill and lays it on the counter. Then he folds up his wallet and puts it away, then reaches into the other pocket, pulls out a handful of change, and I hear someone sighing behind me. I turn to the guy behind me, and we give each other that sincere "I wish to hell he'd fucking hurry up because I don't have all damn day" smile, and I notice that there are now six people behind me. I mentally noted that if we were on the highway right now, Grandpa would be the one in the lead driving ten miles under the speed limit with the left turn signal on the entire way, and I would be the one screaming, "Get off the road, *insert a really bad "c" word here*!!!"
Grandpa put one dime on the counter, then picked it up again, and said to his wife, "Look, it's a Canadian dime" because we live in America and every time you see a foreign coin, you're legally obligated to point it out to the person standing next to you. Then he puts another dime and an
Advil on the counter and tries to pass it off as twenty one cents. Oh, sure, he CLAIMS the Advil looked like a penny but we all knew he was trying to scam the cashier out of that penny. Probably saving up for one of those really big Snicker bars.....
And yes, I was late.