Thursday, November 18, 2021

Frustration in the Check Out Line

 Do I look like I care? Seriously!

A day or 2 ago I was in line at the grocery store. The lady checking out 2 folks ahead of me, apparently did not realize that she would have to pay for her groceries. So after the cashier had checked her out and filled her bags, the customer started digging into her large purse to find, of all things, her check book. Then there was the issue that she seemed to have misplaced her pen.

Meanwhile the lady in front of me had a toddler in her buggy. She was on her mobile chatting - fairly loudly. "Well honey, I'm sorry but I figured you would not have the day off." Silence. "Sweetheart, you work in retail, that's the day after Thanksgiving - Black Friday. No one at the mall will have that day off." Silence. "No, I know you cannot drive 6 hours home Wednesday night, then 6 hours back Thursday. It makes no sense." Silence. "No, I'm afraid I cannot buy you an airline ticket." Silence. "I'm sorry, but I just can't." Silence. "Honey, I just can't."

Now, to get the full picture, the entire time of the phone call, the toddler was throwing a toy on the floor, and crying for her mother to pick it up. The mother would pick the toy up (all the while continuing her phone conversation) and give it back to the child, saying,"Don't do that." But, the child immediately did just that. After several of these out bursts, I wanted to grab the toy, put in in my bag, and inform that child that if she cried again, Santa Claus was not coming. But, I held my tongue, after all the child was not mine - thankfully. And, obviously the child and the mother would repeat this exercise until the child tired of throwing the toy down and having a fit.

When her phone call ended, the lady turned to me and announced, "She just hung up on me." As she put her phone back in her purse, she continued,"That was my oldest daughter. She just got her first job at a mall and thinks she should have Black Friday off." She stopped, picked the toy off the floor, gave it to the child and admonished her that 'If she did that one more time. . .'

She continued her story. "She has been our problem child and I have just had to do tough love. She makes poor choices. She dropped out of school. She is living in this horrible little place in a sketchy neighborhood. The boy she dates is horrible. And, this is her first job - at 19. Now she is upset about missing Thanksgiving." Just then, the mother turned to the toddler and once again told her, 'Not to do it again.'

I looked ahead and hoped the older lady had found a pen, written her check, took her groceries and left. But, alas, it was not be, she was chatting with the cashier. At this point, I wanted to wake up from this frustration dream. But, the sound of the toy being thrown on the floor, made me realize it was not a dream, just a nightmare in real life.

The mother continued,"I just don't know what we are going to do with her. She just makes poor choices. I just don't understand. I have given her everything - given her money, a car, and paid her rent. She keeps saying she is going back to college, but this boy she lives with doesn't want her to. Thankfully, she finally has a job."

Just then she realized that the lady ahead of her had moved on and she needed to get her groceries on the counter and check out. Thankfully that turned her attention away from me. Just when her groceries had been bagged, the toddler, once again repeated her throw-the-toy-on the floor- and cry routine. The cashier was losing patience. I did not fault her. The lady turned to the cashier and laughed, "I guess I need to pay." She opened her purse and started rumbling around, I assume to find her wallet. 

As she did, she looked at the cashier and started up, "I'm sorry, but my oldest daughter just called. She's upset because she cannot come home for Thanksgiving. See, she has made poor choices. . ."

All I could think was - Shoot me now. I need to develop a visage that shouts, "Don't share - I really don't care!"

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