Move It, You Old Bags!

I realize that I’ve complained about grocery shopping many, many times before, and although I honestly try not to go to the well too many times, I find myself doing it anyway. This is because people are inconsiderate fucking pricks that make me want to lunge at their genitals with a long and powerful cattle prod. Case in point, the two fucking old bags in front of me at the grocery store this afternoon.

Because I am health-conscious (when I’m not guzzling beer from fifty gallon containers), I try to eat things like salad for lunch. This, actually, isn’t much of a sacrifice on my part. I love salad. LOVE it. People look at me when I’m buying a salad and say, “Well, you sure have self-control!” Yeah, lots of self-control, that’s me. Now let’s go celebrate this witty conversation you’ve started with 42 beers and a couple of bumps of bath salts. Maybe later, I’ll snack on your face if this salad hasn’t filled me up too much.

Anyway, because salad doesn’t keep well in the refrigerator, I find my self running to the grocery store across the street from my office at least twice a week. Usually this trip takes me under five minutes, and I can be back at my desk, eating salad and watching Bavarian donkey porn until lunch is over and I have to go back to work (writing code while watching Bavarian donkey porn). But today my efforts were stymied by two women who looked like this:

I'm exaggerating, of course. Their hair was gray.

I’m exaggerating, of course. Their hair was gray.

After gathering up my groceries, I headed for the register to find that the regular lane was full of people buying entire carts of groceries. The express lane, on the other hand had just these two kind old ladies buying four things, and so I got into line behind them. Here’s how that went:

Cashier: Hi, how are you today?

Register: Boop!

Old Bag #1: Wait! Those tangerines cost way too much! They are fifty cents a pound!

Cashier: (looking at the monitor) No… You must have misread that. They are fifty cents each.

Old Bag #2: No, they most certainly are not! CAN YOU CHECK THE PRICE?

And so, at this point, the cashier called Herb in produce over the grocery store hotline to ask for a price check. Herb walked over to inform everyone that the stated price of tangerines was fifty cents each. At this point I was patiently waiting my turn, unaware that the Tangerine Incident would be a harbinger of controversial grocery store purchases to come, something Bag #1 rectified immediately:

Old Bag #1: Well, you should change the wording on that. It’s very confusing.

Herb: Ma’am, I can bring the sign over here. It clearly says “50 cents each”.

Old Bag #1: I know! Fifty cents each what? How am I supposed to know what that means?

Cashier: I will speak to the store manager about this as soon as I can, ma’am. Do you still want the tangerines?

Old Bags #1 & 2: (in unison) NO THANK YOU!

Fifty Cent. Each.

Fifty Cent. Each.

At this point I was nervously glancing at the conveyor belt to see how many purchases they had. Luckily, or so I thought, they only had three more before they went to Andy Griffith’s wake, or wherever the fuck it is they were going. The next item up was a bottle of Tide detergent.

Register: Boop!

Old Bag #2: Oh, wait! I have a coupon for that Tide. (to the other old bag) A whole bottle of Tide for $2.00. What a coupon!

Cashier: Ok…

Register: (farty noise)

Cashier: Hmmm… Ok, this coupon is for Tide Travel Size, and you’ve got the 100 ounce bottle. Also, the coupon expired last year.

Old Bag #1: NO! That is WRONG!

Cashier: Here, let me show you…

This is when I knew I was fucked. The other lane was still full, and no other registers were open. I was going to have to stand behind these fucking idiots, furiously trying to throw daggers at them from my eyes, until they finished their purchase or they died of sheer stupidity, whichever came first.

Cashier: …and you can see right here on the bottle that this is the 100 ounce size.

Old Bag #1: Well, I don’t agree with this.

Old Bag #2: Oh, wait!

Me: (just under my breath) Yeah, let’s wait. That’s what we need to do: Go slower.

Old Bag #2: You have to get the right one! We got a different kind!

Old Bag #1: No we didn’t! WE GOT TIDE!

Old Bag #2: Hmmm, you’re right.

Cashier: (glancing at me and wishing she’d brought a cyanide capsule with her to work) I’m sorry, I can’t honor this coupon. Do you still want the Tide?

Old Bags #1 & 2: (in unison) NO THANK YOU!

This is exactly why they don't sell axes at Safeway.

This is exactly why they don’t sell axes at Safeway.

Note that by now we’ve spent well over five minutes on zero purchases. Their grocery bill at that point was the same as it was before they decided to elude their ward attendant and go on an unauthorized shopping trip away from whatever psych ward housed them: Zero.

Register: Boop!

Old Bag #1: Don’t we have a coupon for this toilet paper?

Old Bag #2: I think so!

They then brought out a coupon organizer the size of the Hoover Fucking Dam and proceeded to go through each coupon, one by one, until they found the coupon they were looking for. By this point, I had opened a can of club soda I was going to purchase and swigged at it while thinking that if things got any worse, I’d be able to go to the liquor department so I could mix some whiskey in.

Old Bag #1: Here it is!

Cashier: Ok, thank you.

Register: (farty noise)

Cashier: Oh my. (looks over at me with sad eyes and mouths, “I’m sorry”.) Ok, let’s see here… Ah, yes. This coupon has expired.

Old Bag #1: No it hasn’t.

Cashier: Sorry, yes it has. See right here? September, 2010.

Old Bag #1: Right, September! This is… What month is this?

Me: July.

Old Bag #1: (eyeing me suspiciously) Yes… July. And this is good until September.

Cashier: Right, September 2010. Two years ago.

Old Bag #2: Well, I don’t know what to say.

Seriously. They were arguing over the calendar now. This is when I knew that they were just trying to scam Safeway out of a few pennies. The way Old Bag #1 fixed me with her eyes as she made her asinine argument spoke volumes. “I’m trying to do this, see, and you’d better keep your nose out of our business or you’ll be sorry, Bub!”

Cashier: I’m sorry. Do you still want the two packages of toilet paper?

Old Bags #1 & 2: (in unison) JUST ONE!

One item to go. A simple bottle of salad dressing.

Salad dressing. Kind of hard to fuck this up, right?

Salad dressing. Kind of hard to fuck this up, right?

Register: Boop!

Old Bag #2: (sounding honestly worried) Wait! Does that contain dairy?

Cashier: I don’t know.

Old Bag #1: (eyeing the ingredients) HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO READ THIS?

Old Bag #2: Potassium Sorbate? Is that cheese? Because I can’t eat cheese.

Old Bag #1: I think it is.

Old Bag #2: Well, I can’t have that.

Cashier: (wishing she were dead) Do you want the…

Old Bags #1 & 2: (in unison) NO THANK YOU!

Cashier: Ok, your total comes to $4.93.

Old Bag #2: I’m going to write a check.

The fact that I am writing this from the comfort of my home rather than as part of a confession in a homicide holding cell is a testament to the self-control that I jokingly claimed I lacked earlier. I should have strangled those two witches on general principles alone. I spent fifteen minutes listening to their bullshit.

Cashier: Hi, sir. I apologize for the long wait.

Me: Haha, I was going to go get some beer to enjoy the show, but the coupon I have is expired. Haha.

Cashier: I’d honor it. You deserve it.

And just like that, Safeway kept me as a customer.

Beer: The everlasting key to my heart. (And yes, that is a 55 pack of Coors Light. USA! USA! Oh, wait... They're only available in Canada. Canada! Canada!)

Beer: The everlasting key to my heart. (And yes, that is a 55 pack of Coors Light. USA! USA! Oh, wait… They’re only available in Canada. Canada! Canada!)