The Express Lane: 10 Items or Less

I was going through the 10 item lane with 11 items.

I had 10 items, then I picked up a pack of gum while waiting in line… (I almost picked up a package of razors, too.)

The Cashier said, “I’m sorry sir, but you have 11 items.”

I said, “you actually counted?”

She said, “yes sir, this is the 10 items or less lane, you will have to go to the next lane.”

(I looked at the next lane, it was a long line)

I said, “seriously? I just grabbed this pack of gum, just now.”

She said, “it is still 11 items, sir.”

(Meanwhile during the banter, the ‘express 10 items or less’ lane was growing longer)

I said, “look, we could have already been done by now, could you just ring it up?”

She said, “I don’t make the rules sir.”

I said, “Stop calling me sir please. It doesn’t sound right. You can call me New Acquaintance. It’s a mouthful, but I think it is better than sir.”

The woman behind me wearing a large, printed blouse said, ” could we get a move on here?”

The Woman with a double chin behind Large Blouse said, “Just get to the other lane, you have too many items!”

I said, “I just picked up a pack of gum! IT’S GUM.”

The Man, unshaven, behind Large Blouse and Double Chin said, “it’s just a pack of gum! Ring it up!”

The Cashier said, ” I don’t make the rules, sir.”

(I put the gum back)

I said, “OK, I have 10 items again.”

(I noticed the slightest hint – almost imperceptible – grimace on her bland almost emotional-less face).

She began to ring up my stuff.

(I looked at the 12 people in the ‘express’ lane and shrugged my shoulders… the express lane people waiting in the express lane seemed exasperated.)

I looked at them sheepishly and said, “it was just a pack of GUM.”

Large Blouse behind me said, “you should obey the rules.”

I said, forcing a peace-loving smile,”it was gum! That is like less than half an item… it’s like I had 10 and 1/2 items. Maybe even 10 and a quarter items”

Double Chin said, “it is still more than 10.”

I said, “but it still has the number 10 in it.”

The Cashier said, “that will be 18.50, please.”

I asked, “do you get in trouble if you ring up more than 10 items? Are they watching you?”

(I looked to see where the cameras were)

She said, “I don’t know… I just follow the rules.”

(I gave her the 18.50 – Exact Change – you know, to save time.)

I grabbed my 10 Items (exactly) and got another 50 cents out of my pocket. I picked up the gum and asked Large Blouse “could you get this for me – here’s the money. I see you only have 7 items, this gum will make 7 and a 1/2 items which is still less than 10.”

(Large Blouse ignored me.)

I asked Double Chin. She only had 9 items.

The Unshaven Man behind Large Blouse and Double Chin spoke up, ” Christ, I’ll get your gum for you, pal.”

I said, “looks like you have about 10 items, though.”

He said, “damn, you’re right.”

We all looked at the Cashier.

The Unshaven Man put his razors back and grabbed my gum.

He said, “I didn’t need to shave today anyway.”

I walk out of the Store, gum in hand, triumphant.

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Published in: on February 11, 2011 at 4:14 PM  Comments (13)  
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