Goin’ into town (Best of) | TSLN.com

Goin’ into town (Best of)

If I were to make a list of my all-time favorite people NOT to get behind in the grocery check out line that list would include:

#1 – The unmarried lady who crowds in front of you with 10 kids and then buys cola, candy and chips with food stamps. #2 – The lawyer who complains to the checker about the rising cost of foreign cheese, as if the clerk was the one who raised the price. #3 – The lonely lady who lives alone and views grocery shopping as a social occasion. While she tells the checker about her arthritis I am standing there holding a freezing carton of ice cream. #4 – The shopper who remembers she forgot her checkbook after the checker has rung up $250 worth of groceries. #5 – The consumer who asks if she can go ahead of you in the check out line because she only has a few items. And then she pays for them with coins from her piggy bank… one penny at a time. And finally #7 – the ranch wife.

Just last week I arrived at the checkstand at the exact moment as the ranch wife with three overflowing carts. She offered to let me go first but she had three little kids that desperately needed to get out of that store. Those little darlings had already destroyed the Twinkie display and were working on a pyramid of canned goods. By letting her go first I was a big hit with the store management.

While in line I took a quick assessment of the ranch family’s provisions and counted 14 cases of beer, 6 cartons of cigarettes, 4 bags of disposable diapers, 150 pounds of dog food and a case of motor oil. And that was just the first cart. The seasoned grocery checker had immediately recognized the shopper and tried to fake a sudden illness before checking her out, but it didn’t work. She was the only one on duty as the grocery baggers and management were hiding in the back room. “Doing your monthly shopping I see?” asked the checker, resigned to her task.

“Yes, my husband made me do it,” replied the ranch wife. “We live two hours out of town on a ranch so I only get to shop once a month. And for the trip into town my husband makes me take the flat bed truck and our three kids along. Have you ever tried keeping 22 bags of groceries balanced on a flat bed over 50 miles of dirt road with three kids screaming in your ear?”

“Can’t say that I have,” replied the compassionate checker. “It must be difficult shopping for a month at a time. What do you do for milk and vegetables?”

“My husband forces me to grow a garden and milk a cow twice a day,” said the ranch wife. “Everything else we buy in bulk once a month.”

As the checker strained to pick up a case of soup and a gallon of whiskey she asked, “I suppose eating out at a nice restaurant is out of the question?”

“What’s a restaurant?” answered the ranch wife, and I don’t know if she was kidding or not.

The checker chuckled and then asked, “What do you do if you forget something on your shopping list?”

“We do without. I’ll never forget that month I forgot the Right Guard.”

“Who could forget that?” said the checker as she rang up a gallon of ketchup and four dozen eggs. “These sure are good looking grapes you bought.”

“Oh yes, my husband just loves grapes and we can’t grow them in the garden. He’ll probably kill me but I just couldn’t resist buying those grapes for him. By the way, do you know if those grapes have been sprayed with any kind of poison?”

“I don’t think so dear,” said the checker sympathetically. “But I think you can buy some over at the hardware store.”

email lee pitts at itsdapitts@charter.net


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