Monday, February 25, 2013

The Slowest Line

No matter what, Mrs. Snark always winds up in the slowest moving line. Location does not matter. Bank, grocery store, school's always the same. Time slows to a crawl and Mrs. Snark becomes trapped behind the world's greatest moron.

Pushing the shopping cart containing an impatient Miss Bear in the child seat, Mrs. Snark approaches two open check stands that are located side-by-side. Quickly, she eyeballs both, appraising not only the number of items on the belt, and the fullness of the carts, but also the demeanor of the shopper standing in line.

Hmm... both belts and carts are about equal, so it comes down to the little old lady with silver hair or the forty-something brunette woman. Being a forty-something housewife herself, Mrs. Snark throws her lot in behind the lady with the cart full of frozen diet meals. After all, anyone with a bunch of frozen food must be in a hurry to get them home before they melt. Right?


Not so.

Everything seems to go smoothly up until the point where the cashiers asks, "Did you find everything?"

"Actually, I forgot canned stewed tomatoes."

No problem. The checker smiles and deploys her bagger to recover the missing item. Upon his return, the customer scrunches her nose and says, "Actually, I wanted organic."

Off he goes again and eventually returns with organic canned stewed tomatoes and payment is rendered. The process appears complete, but then--

"I calculated that my total should be $85.16," the customer says, waving her receipt for $86.16.

Apparently, she couldn't be bothered to notice this BEFORE she paid.

Together, she and the checker squint at the printed receipt, which is the length of Santa's Naughty list. 

Five minutes later, the shopper points to an item mid-list. "I bought ten frozen meals that are on sale ten for ten dollars but these rang up $1.10 each."

"I'll have to call for a manager to issue a refund. We're not allowed to change anything once I process payment," says the cashier, flipping on the blinking light above her register.

Another five minutes pass. Ten.

At long last, a frazzled manager shows up and then takes five more minutes to complete the refund process. The lady collects her dollar and departs.

Of course, the little old lady has been gone for twenty minutes...


  1. The Daughter plays volleyball and last weekend we were in Ohio. Coming back across the boarder we tried to pick the right line from a distance. I swear 3 cars on each side of us went thru before just one in our lane, and this happened several times. When we finally got to the "next" position, the bar came down and the guy went for break. REALLY??? What I want to know is...if everyone I talk to is always in the slow lane, who is it that gets the fast lane? Keep up the good work Mrs. Snark, I look forward to your blog every day

    1. Charlotte, Exactly! Any attempts to change from a slow line to a faster one are futile. The new line will instantaneously grind to a halt and the line abandoned will accelerate. The physics of lines is baffling and frustrating. ;-)

  2. My husband is the same! No matter what line he picks, how short it seems, it always, always takes the longest. Now, he just stands back, shakes his head, and tells me to pick what register. Even if no one is in the store.

    He always seems picks the broken, squeakiest-wheel cart, too. Fun post - thanks!

    1. Melissa, LOL It's the same for me. Oh, and shopping carts...don't even get me started. What I really despise are those wheel locks that suddenly render your cart immobile...within fifty feet of your vehicle. Just out of reach. SO frustrating.