Terror in the checkout line


My dear friend,

Please accept my sincere apology for the inexcusable behavior I displayed yesterday in line at Pricey Fresh Food Mart. You see, you caught me off guard, at a vulnerable moment, and in my anxiety I acted rude and dismissive.
It wasn’t you. It was me. Me and my shaky finances. The kind of shaky that makes trips through checkout lines more emotionally taxing than a biopsy of a suspicious lump.
You are such a sweet soul. Always so breezy and chatty. You with your cart of exotic little cheeses in their bright geometric packages. You and your collection of imported waters clattering next to mesh bags of organically grown produce.
If you only knew what was tearing at my insides while the cashier scanned and bagged my food products. My mac ‘n’ cheese boxes. My pasta bags. My peanut butter.
As you chatted to me about your day at the spa, I swiped my debit card through the reader and put on my best poker face.
As you adjusted your snappy leather jacket and shifted your designer purse on your shoulder, I closed my eyes and made a wish to the gods: “Please, please, please ….”
I opened one eye to peek at the screen. It paused. It blinked. My heart skipped a beat. I clutched my wallet tighter. I wondered why I didn’t just go to Cheap-O Charlie’s where no one makes eye contact.
While the screen sputtered and you asked me what my big plans were for the evening, the cashier stopped this runaway train.
“There seems to be a problem,” he said.
I broke out in a sweat. He flipped a switch to turn off the lane light. He called for assistance.

Fearing a DECLINE to my card swipe, I avoided eye contact as you repacked your cart of cheeses and wines and exotic little chocolates and backed out of line. And that, my friend, is when my dignity was saved.

By the time you had relocated to another lane, I learned it was not a decline but merely a computer glitch that necessitated a system reboot. That’s all. But by then I was emotionally drained. I looked for you at the door to salvage the moment, but you were gone. Gone home to your Belgian chocolates and flavored waters.

Please understand.


Your hormonally bitchy but definitely-not-broke friend