Wednesday, February 03, 2010

I'm Not Invisible -- Part 3

A few years ago, Kroger opened up a big new superstore in Alvin. One of the innovations was a self-checkout system, where people can run their own items over the scanner and get out faster than they can if they're in the so-called "Express Lane," which in my experience is unquestionably the slowest-moving lane in the store. It's the one where the woman in front of you has only two items, which make you think you're going to be out of there in a jiffy if you get behind her, but it turns out that she wants to pay in pennies that she keeps knotted up in a handkerchief. With knots that she can't untie. And neither can the checker. And when you offer the Alexander the Great solution with your pocketknife, the woman looks at you as if you wanted to kill one or two of her cats, of which you're convinced she has several dozen at home.

You know the line I mean.

But I digress. I was there using the self-checkout, which isn't as easy as it appears because if you have vegetables, there's no barcode on them. You have to look them up and then let the machine weigh them if they're sold by the pound. If they aren't, you have to punch in the number of them that you have.

Anyway, things were going pretty smoothly, so I wondered when the woman at the next station was staring at me. I hadn't made any blunders that I was aware of. I hadn't set off any alarms. I wasn't trying to sneak out without scanning the bread or the milk.

I ignored her and finished up my little transaction. I tore off the receipt and picked up my bags. As I was leaving, the woman said, "Don't I know you?"

I'm unfailingly polite, so I said, "I don't know. Do you?"

She looked at me again. "Do you run down Hill Street every day?"

"Yes," I said, "I do."

She smiled. "I thought so. I almost didn't recognize you with your clothes on."

This last comment got a great reaction from the other customers. I'm just glad that Judy wasn't there to hear it.


Todd Mason said...

I know it's an Olympic year, Bill, but you needn't go That Old School in your athletics...

Bill Crider said...

Well, I know that shorts and a tank top might seem skimpy, but not that skimpy.