Posted on | March 6, 2007 at 5:45 am | 11 Comments
So the other day at Safeway, I was doing my own thing, minding my own business, standing in line at the checker. “General Hospital SHOCKERS!”… yeah, yeah, whatever. I noticed that the bagger in my line was someone I’ve never seen before – an older gentleman (in his late 50s or early 60s), balding with gray hair and glasses. Looked normal enough. He started engaging the guy in front of me in conversation, asking him what he did for a living and making remarks about it. By then, I started to get scared. I don’t like service people engaging me in anything beyond “How ya doin’? Weird weather were havin’, eh?” idle chitchat. But it was too late to back out. Someone had pulled into line in back of me. So I was determined to weather it out.
The first thing I had on the belt was two large boxes of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes (which long-time readers will remember is one of the three cereals I rotate). I had them right up front so I could give the checker the rain check I had for 2 boxes for $4. N is always trying to impress upon me the importance of bargains (who says having a girlfriend is expensive?) and when she was shopping with me a few weeks ago, the Corn Flakes were on sale but they were out of them. So she had me get the rain check. (I also picked up two boxes of Special K on this trip, since that was on sale this week, so my basket was just chock full of cereal.)
Unfortunately, N wasn’t with me this time, and so I had no one to distract the chatty bagger. He immediately commented on the Corn Flakes, saying something like “KELLOGG’S Corn Flakes! Nobody gets *those* any more! Most people just get the generic ones. You must be very concerned about your fiber intake!” I think I muttered something about how I prefer the taste of the brand name Corn Flakes, but then he moved on to commenting on the type of sandwich I had gotten from the deli. It was wrapped in the usual opaque “Rancher’s Reserve” paper that they wrap all the sandwiches in. “Rancher’s Reserve!” he said, “That must be a prime rib sandwich! Is that prime rib??” I was like, “No, it’s a ham and cheese”. “Did you get it all heated up and melted?? I bet it’s real good melted!” “Ummm… no.” (I don’t think Safeway even does that, and if so, it would be pretty yucky by the time I got it home and got the groceries unloaded.)
By that time, I was looking at the checker and he was kinda chuckling. Obviously he’d been dealing with this for awhile now and was deriving some entertainment value from his partner. I gave him that look like “Hurry it along, buddy! My brain is going to explode!” The bagger made a few more comments about my food items, but by that time I had tuned out and was trying to focus on anything other than his banter. Finally I was all checked out, but the bagging wasn’t done and the checker had to help out. Then I desperately tried to pull away from the checkstand (”No, I don’t need any help, thanks!”) but the bagger spotted the Corn Flakes boxes and started going on about them again.
“Yes sir, those are just filled with fiber! You made a good choice there! You’ve got more fiber there than a thousand other people have in their carts!” And he kept going on and on about it as I said “Thanks” and tried to get away. But my way was blocked by some other carts coming out of their lines. It was like a nightmare. I don’t remember everything he said, though now I wish I did. At last, I was able to slip out and I pushed that cart to my car so fast that I nearly ran down an old lady in the crosswalk.
I felt really sorry for the people who had hemorrhoid ointment, condoms, or personal lubricant in their cart that day.
So I figure either the guy was 1) developmentally disabled (didn’t seem like it), 2) just a friendly chatty old guy trying to make the time at his post-retirement job pass a little more quickly, or 3) a sly old geezer pulling one over on me (and everyone else who wandered into his line). At any rate, the whole experience made me very frightened. Now I’m going to have to find a new grocery store. And work on those social anxiety exercises again.
(This was not a dream. I think.)