How old is too old to be a “girl”….


I had to go to Safeway on the way home for dinner items – no stop meant no dinner.  Just nip in and then get home and relax with a glass of wine before whipping the ingredients into something to put on a plate.

I chose what I thought was the smallest queue.  Well, it was ..there were only 4 ladies in it, but each one of them had food stamps and each one wanted to buy things not covered by the stamps so it became the equivalent of 8 people with problems in front of me.   

The check-out chick had a packet of chips open and in-between scanning items would take a few chips and munch away – mouth open.  Then she had to have a drink.  Then she had to talk the guy operating the register next to her.   I had 9 items and cash and my patience was wearing thin. 

After 40 minutes (seriously) it finally became my turn …. but then the woman behind me asked the check-out chick something about the cheese that is allowed on food stamps. 

Check out chick tells woman that the cheese has a special symbol on the tag.
Woman – well, there isn't any.
CO Chick – yes there is.
Woman – no there isn't.
CO Chick – well she  (pointing at woman in front of me packing her groceries into a trolley)  just got some.
Woman -  Oh -  can I look at your cheese?

Okay – I don't have a problem with one woman showing another her purchases but can the CO chick please ring up my items while they do it?   No …..she munches a few more chips and watches the exchange which is happening over the top of me!

I'm now up to 45 minutes and I'm thinking an entire bottle might be needed to chill me out.   I head out of the store and power walk to my street where I quickly catch up with an elderly lady.  As I'm about to rush past her getting closer to my wine, she says hello and I realise it is Miss Elise from across the street. 

Now I'm in a dilemma – of course I will respond but I really want to get home.  Miss Elise is nearly 90 and walks at a pace marginally faster than a snail. She had back surgery in March and every evening she takes a walk around the block.   Uncharitably I think this wouldn't be a problem if she was walking on her side of the street.   But, the thought was fleeting and I do slow to walk beside her – once I get to it, that first sip of wine is going to taste so good. 

We get level with my yard and she mentions how good the chillies were that I gave her a few weeks ago.  Oh – I see I have some more ready ones and I feel that I have to offer her some of these. I run inside for scissors (and yes I do consider having a quick gulp from the bottle while I'm passing through the kitchen).

As I hand her 6 or 7 peppers she says:  "Oh thank you, you are such a nice girl"

When I finally got to the wine it actually tasted so much better knowing that Miss Elise was across the road enjoying my peppers served straight up sprinkled with some vinegar!

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43 responses

  1. Precisely what I mean by stopping and making time to take in the world around us. A little delayed wine was certainly enhanced by the nice thoughts of a wonderful neighbor who made you feel young at heart again.

  2. Sucker this is why I hated to make friends in my building when I lived in the city much easier to ignore people and have little or nothing to do with them because of days like yours, when you have not the resolve or the incline to spend time being nice when you just want to escape take it easy and unwind or drink wine!Although you miss out on some fun and nice interactions but even so the scale of personal private time over being social… Also I do Hate when people play dumb at a grocery store just trying to get something that others may not let them away with getting so to the new person! Thankfully we have no food stamps here!

  3. Eeeeewwww – can you imagine the germs she was shoving in her mouth after handling money and food stamps????? She may get her pay back for making you wait so long. You have a lot more patience than I do – the first problem, I would be in another line. LOL

  4. Hey, thanks for adding me to your neighborhood! After reading this post I am returning the favor. This was hilarious! The check out girl, the cheese conversation, Miss. Elise….Thanks, you made my day:)

  5. You absolutely must be living in the South. I lived in Tennesse for 18 months and the first time I went to Walmart I about had a fit. I think the same lady was working there. It took forever to get through the line because she had to catch up on all the news with each person in front of me. I finally realized it was just the way everyone is there, and I stopped caring about time. If the line wasn't moving, I just zoned out….Rest time…Time to move one step…Rest time….

  6. My thoughts exactly:

    Eeeeewwww – can you imagine the germs she was shoving in her mouth after handling money and food stamps????? She may get her pay back for making you wait so long.
    My dear, I don't know about a "girl," but you are a saint. I may not say anything in those situations but I am thinking pure evil thoughts.

  7. I reckon a 90year old can call you a girl. I hate it when women in shops call me dahl or love, or sweetie. I am so proud of you taking the time to stop and share with Miss Elise – you may have been her only contact all day.

  8. you're very cool. but i would have complained to the store manager about the CO girl. she shouldn't be eating while working. that's what breaks are for. and she was definitely too slow. 45 minutes is a ridiculously long wait at the grocery store. i don't think i've ever waited more then 15 minutes – and even that is considered on the long side.

  9. One of the advantages of being a new mother is that people expect you to be tired and irritable. πŸ™‚ I hope you are getting some sleep when your little one sleeps.

  10. You are so right. My elderly neighbours have wonderful stories – I try to make time a couple of times a week to stop by their front porches and have a chat. Once the weather gets cold they won't sit out there and I will miss them.

  11. Yes – there can be a fine line between friendly neighbours and over- friendly neighbours. I have a friend whose neighbour is always knocking on her door for things – she has to pretend that she is not home!

  12. LOL – I didn't think of the germs she was ingesting!! I was just so surprised to see her doing it at all. I thought about swapping lines but when I looked around the other ones were longer than mine….. isn't that always the way!

  13. Yeah at some stage around 30 minutes a switch clicked over in my brain and just sort of froze me in place. The other lines had grown while I waited; if I'd left I'd be hungry and I'd still have to go back the next night…

  14. LOL – well I live in Washington DC which some consider the south….. πŸ™‚ I used to go to a CVS where there was a girl who took ages examining what people were buying and asking questions about the products. She was really sweet so people just went with the flow. I've been in my supermarket before and had a cashier get into an argument with her boyfriend – she stepped away from the register and we were left wondering what was going to happen. Another time the cashier was texting on her cell between scanning items. It's a supermarket of last resort really.

  15. Thank you Lucy :-). At some stage in the supermarket the fake pleasant expression froze onto my face. There is a feeling that getting annoyed is not going to achieve anything even if that's how you feel inside – I'll bet my blood pressure was up!

  16. …..I am thinking pure evil thoughts. LOL – I have my fair share of those too! I can't imagine eating finger food at the same time as dealing with germy money.

  17. I think you earned two bottles… LOL – but then I wouldn't have had one for tonight! I don't like being called "honey" or "darl" very much but I really detest having my name shortened – especially by people I barely know. That just seems really rude.

  18. I don't think notice is taken of complaints in my store. It is the subject of many UNC (United Neighborhood Coalition) etc meetings. It is earmarked to be demolished and rebuilt but it doesn't look like that will happen soon. My next nearest supermarket is a mile away – actually now I think of it I could've walked there, shopped and walked home in the same time I spent waiting 5 blocks from home!

  19. Thank you – Miss Elise is such a dear old thing. She is usually sitting on her front porch when I come home and she always waves. It's nice to think someone is watching out for me in a way.

  20. You are a patient and tolerant woman Emjay. I'd have just waved hello to Miss Elise and scooted off. And I'd have been less patient in the queue as well. You'll get your reward in the next life!!

  21. Oh my goodness! That checker works at MY Safeway! I have an entire small-range of motion exercise routine I do when I'm in her line. And those same people shop here, too. I wonder if they can get in trouble for collecting food stamps from two different states concurrently . . .

  22. That story made my night. I've had moments of extreme grumpiness followed by neighbors wanting to chat (usually kids) and looking back I was always grateful when I found within me the patience to stop and talk.
    On a seperate note, isn't it awful when grocery clerks act so obnoxious? It's like oooh, they have to work…heaven forbid……(now I need a drink)!

  23. Yes – it seems that some cashiers are totally put out when they get a customer! I'm sure some stand and look surly so people won't get in their line. I do wonder what the managers of these stores are doing – shouldn't they be supervising and ensuring that the cashiers are doing what the company is paying them to do – customer service.

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