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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Plum Crazy

I recently attempted to purchase two plums at a local grocery store. It would have been easier to get elected head of the Happy Hollow chapter of Hell’s Angels than it was to buy those two plums.

“What’s this?” The cashier, who is approximately the same age as my knee replacement, held up a plastic baggie that contained two small purplish globes. The look on her face asked the obvious question. “Where did the crazy woman get the body parts and how do I alert store security without having to deal with bloodstains on my scanner?”

I remember when it took all their concentration to ask “paper or plastic?”

The trouble with parents today is that they don’t let kids peel potatoes. Back in the good old days, kids spent quality time in the kitchen, slicing and dicing and cleaning out the gunk in the drain. Kids today are too busy taking Advanced Placement classes and computing their GPR to do chores. That’s why none of them can tell the difference between a kumquat and a kiwi so that they can hold down a decent job at the Piggly Wiggly. Sure the modern kid can program a cell phone to intercept messages of national security from spy satellites, but when it comes to real life his grocery cart has a loose wheel.

“They’re fruit!” I shouted in the tone of voice I usually reserve for children who are engaged in enthusiastic games of lawn darts in populated areas.

The cashier looked at me as if contemplating a dress code change to include full body armor, and held up my helpless plums beside a picture of an eggplant in her secret cashier code book.

“Are they like apples?” she asked leafing through the pages.

“Yeah, the same way Richard Simmons is like Robert Redford.”


“He looks a lot like Brad Pitt.”

“Oh, that old guy from the movies.”

“Yes. Robert Redford.”

“Not him. I meant Brad Pitt.”

“Look, I’m not trying to give you brain freeze. I just want to buy plums.”

She flipped the “assistance needed” light over her cash register. This simple flashing light initiated immediate changes in shopper-to-shopper interface. A mother of two behind me ceased counting the piggies on the dimpled bundle in her buggy and fixed me with an evil eye. Her older daughter, a charming toddler dressed in pink, gave up begging for gummy bears and launched a barrage of peanut M&M’s at my shoe. Behind the Partridge turned Munster family, a balding man in Bermuda shorts dialed 911 on his cell phone and a Goth-style teenager drew a tear in her white makeup with a spiky black fingernail.

As the light pulsed on and off, a tense stillness settled over the surrounding area. In the sudden lull, the cashier’s voice came loud and clear over the microphone. “FRUIT AT REGISTER SIX!”

I can understand the feelings of the people waiting in line, but it was downright rude of them to shout AMEN!


Melanie Avila said...

Ohhh, I can totally sympathize! This happened to me recently, except the snotty-nosed pre-teen helping me only spoke Spanish. And the looks said, "Quien es este gringa?" Who is this gringa. Ay carumba.

(and good job on the spacing!)

Kate Boddie said...

And people wonder why I'm losing faith in humanity.

Hilary said...

Hilarious.. thanks for the laughs. :)

Kate Boddie said...

Tag! You're it! Don't worry. This one's a cool one. Check out my blog for more information.

the Bag Lady said...

Hilarious post!
Was she the type of cashier you can play mind games with? Pay in cash, wait until she has typed in the amount in her register, and it has told her how much change to give you, then tell her you can give her a penny? Completely screws them up! It's totally worth it to see the consternation on their faces as they try to compute in their heads the new amount of change! This game is only to be played when there is no-one behind you in the line-up...

Melanie Avila said...

Hi there. I tagged you without realizing Kate did too. Sorry - you can double us up!

Beth is wfg said...

This post is so funny....painfully true funny!

I have a nine year old daughter...wasn't planning to make potatoes tonight, but maybe I'll make her peel zucchini instead. ha!