Thursday, October 29, 2015

How to Get Banned from Smiths Food and Drug Stores

My life seems to lurch from one incident to another foible to an outright oopsie. If you don’t know what an oopie is, you’re too young to be reading this blog. I’ve already confessed many of my goof-ups, lapses, and the like on this site. My trials and tribulations with a new computer. My disgust with the Do Not Call Registry. Battling Dragon Naturally Speaking. Embarrassing mistakes with a new washing machine. Brain creep (and not in a good way). A lost driver’s license. The feckless search for just the right digital atomic clock. Playing skip-a-rope with a gas hose and a host of other foolishness.

Now I have learned how to get banned from Smiths Food and Drug stores. A month ago, I told you about falling in Smiths parking lot while failing to mind my own business. Well, this week, I made another trip to the same store. All I wanted was some bread, a little can of peanuts, a package of candy to hand out on Halloween Eve (yeah, right!), and some distilled water. I did my shopping and started looking for a cashier. All busy. Too many in line. So I went to the self-check-out stand. Great. No waiting.

I swiped my Smiths Rewards Card and started scanning the items. Distilled water, 97¢. No problem. French bread, $1.79. Great. It registered just like it was supposed to. But I didn’t want to put the bread in the same sack with the water, so I moved the bag with the water out of the way.

Wrong thing to do. A computerized-voice informed me in an accusatory tone (real or imagined) to remove the last item from the bag and scan it. I couldn’t, of course. Moving the water after scanning the bread had made the device suspect that I was trying to sneak something past it. And the device wasn’t about to get snookered like that.

I called the attendant, a pleasant young lady, over. After checking my bags and the number of items scanned, she scolded the computer and put it in its place. Then I tried to scan the package of Three Musketeers. It wouldn’t scan. After trying four times, I called for aid again. The same young lady came over looking  a little grimmer this time and ended up having to manually put the bar code into her little scanner thingy. That done, she went about more important business.

And then the biggie. As I took out my clip and removed money to pay the final tab of $7.74, a bill flew out of my hand and slipped right down into the hairline crack between the checkout computer and the sensitive platform that keeps tabs on how many items you put into your bag (and sometimes lies about it). Had it been a dollar, I would have slunk off without uttering a word. But it had been a five-dollar bill. Now, I’m not poverty-stricken, but five dollars is five dollars. So I looked up this same young lady and told her what had happened.

She didn’t actually say a dirty word, but each one she uttered had some filth hidden in it somewhere. “You dropped it where?”

“Right there. It went between the machine and the bench. (Highly technical terms, I know, but I made her understand by pointing.)

“You’re sure?”

“Yes, right there.” Then I did the bit about if it had been a dollar bill …

She didn’t seem impressed. “I’ll have to disassemble the whole thing.”

I couldn’t think of a proper response, so I kept my mouth shut.

She began the process with absolutely no trace of that pleasant young woman I’d first seen in evidence. A moment later, she ordered me to hold the end of the stainless steel bench-top she’d lifted. The thing actually complained when I laid hands on it. It let out a prolonged, agonized beep. I felt no sympathy. It had falsely accused me, hadn’t it?

Five minutes later, she had enough of the steel and plastic out of the way to feel around for my money. She found the fiver and handed it over with a sour look on her formerly pretty face. For some reason, she failed respond to my sincere “thank you.”

When I started to leave after paying for my groceries, I realized that all I had left in my pocket was the same five dollar bill the clerk had just rescued. Not good. You see, I wanted one of those dollar lottery tickets … Scratchers, I think they call them. After hesitating a long minute, I turned back and asked the attendant for change.

She complied while managing to keep a false smile painted on her lips, but she also took out her telephone. I don’t believe the picture she took was a selfie. But was it to show her friends the boob she’d encountered at work that day, or did she intend to post it on the wall alongside shoplifters and other miscreants as a warning them to keep off the premises under the penalty of prosecution?

I guess I’ll learn the answer when I run out of milk this weekend. On the other hand, there’s an Albertson’s not far from my place.

Thanks for indulging me. Please give a “Like” or a “Comment” or a “Schmuck.” I’m always pleased to hear from readers.



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