Wednesday, December 16, 2009


There's all different kinds of loitering, but some are in extreme fashion. Typically, loitering is annoying, but doesn't completely and totally irritate me. And a lot of time people aren't intending to loiter, they just are like that. I used to work at a bank and the guard told me how when he got married, while waiting in line at the grocery store, he noticed his wife was one of "those" people. You know what I'm talking about...the person that waits until ALL of their groceries are rang up (simply watching the check-out screen the whole time) and the cashier hits the "total" key THEN, they casually reach in their purse, pull out their wallet, search for a pen, open to their checkbook and begin writing a check. After that you still have to wait for the cashier to request their driver's license and write down all the pertinent information on the actual check. Said guard quickly remedied this situation with his wife because it annoyed him as much as anyone else. Normal people already have done all of this while the groceries are being rang up. In fact, my mom used to have everything on the check written out, except the dollar amount, by the time the cashier had a chance to push the "total" key. My mom liked to watch everything get rang up too, just to make sure she wasn't over-charged on anything. But, that's why she drug me along; to unload the groceries on the conveyer belt. All the while, she watched everything be rung up while multi-tasking with her checkbook. That's what kids are for.

Now everyone swipes their debit/credit cards, but the same premise still applies. You have your wallet out with card or cash ready to pay whether you're at the grocery store, fastfood restaurant, coffee shop, drug store or department store.

This didn't happen yesterday. I made a short trip to the local City Bites on my lunch hour to pick up a take-out order for myself and my boss. Everything looked very promising when I walked in. I was very hungry and I just LOVE their spuds, so I was practically salivating on my drive over between stomach grumblings.

When I walked into the restaurant there was only one person in line ordering. Sometimes when I go, there's a massive line of 10-15 so this made me happy. Why? Because it was friggin' cold yesterday and they're ALWAYS busy on cold days because everyone else has the same idea about their hot, tasty spuds. Regardless, I could see it was going to be a "quick" transaction due to the lack of other patrons. When I walked up the cashier had just given the customer in front of me her total, we'll call her Ms. Customer. Ms. C. started to pull out her wallet and proceeded to fish out a $10 or $20 bill (I wasn't paying much attention at this point) and gave it to him for payment. The cashier looked up and saw me and gave a, sort of, nod of recognition. I go there enough for the employees to recognize least the ones that work the cash registers.

At this point, I began to eye the cookie case. Have you ever had a City Bites cookie? They're the best and apparently they have a couple holiday flavors right now...yum! But, I'm trying to be somewhat good so I just looked longly into the case. The cashier quickly made change (cash and coin) and grabbed the receipt for Ms. C., then immediately looked to me expectantly for my pick-up order request. However, I wanted to wait until Ms. C. moved out of the way so I wouldn't be rushing her and could, also, easily hand him the payment for my transaction. Ms. C. started to fumble with her purse and wallet as she tried to hold both of these and her change. We both looked to her at this point as she appeared to be having some difficulty. I tried to distractly look back into the kitchen as not to make her feel rushed as she was obviously flustered for whatever reason.

Around this time I heard change hit the floor. Spinning my head back around, I was going to help her pick it up, but she had already hunched near the ground to pick up the two or three coins. At this point I happened to make eye contact with the cashier who had a slightly exasperated look. Then, Ms. C. proceeded to put the change in her little change section of her wallet...and then started to arrange her cash money in the correct order and direction in the bill section.

Quick Pause In Story: Am I the only person who just throws it all in the coin section and goes back later to fix it? Like I mentioned earlier, I worked in a bank before. For three and a half years. I'm probably the most OCD person anyone knows about the money in my wallet. All facing the same direction, in monetarily correct order, all right-side up, etc. Of course, this is when I have money. Like I've said previously, I almost always use debit or credit cards so it's rare that I have cash. But, when I do...this is how I am. Nevertheless, I never, ever, ever do this with people waiting in line behind me in a store or food establishment.

Back to the story, Mr. Cashier looks at me now with a somewhat apologetic look. He motions with his head towards Ms. C. who then makes a point to zip and snap her wallet shut and reach to put it back into her purse, throw her purse over her shoulder and head over to a table to sit and wait for her order to be called. This entire exchange took approximately 30-60 seconds after she was handed her change and receipt. This doesn't seem like a long time...unless you're the one waiting on it. Try it. Sit there for a minute and do nothing but pretend to watch someone fuddle around with their wallet.

While this did not ruin my day or greatly irritate me (slightly-yes, but greatly-no)...I just don't understand it. My mother always taught me to be mindful of other people and try not to get in the way. I can't tell you how many times I was told to 'stand back' or 'get out of the way' as a child. Ms. C., who by the way was probably a little younger than my mother, did neither. Granted this incident didn't really hurt anything, but perhaps it makes one think about how you are perceived by others in public. I walked away from the situation with no desire to meet Ms. C. (less desire than I normally would with a complete stranger) while she probably has no idea the impression she made (on me and the cashier).

Just a thought the next time you're in line at your local grocery store or other public establishment...


  1. my mom is that person...she believes checks are the only way to pay and THEN she balances it at the register! she is crazy



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