I couldn’t wait to get home this evening after my check out at the grocery. I knew immediately as I was checking out that I had blog material. Blog material in the sense that the proceeding conversation described only happens once in a lifetime.
So I hit the grocery store after I hit the dry cleaners after I hit my numero uno watering hole in all of St. Louis. I don’t have breakfast items in the house after spending a couple of days away on business travel. I picked up a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread (50 calories per slice), six six-ounce containers of yo-plait no fat yogurt (various flavors at 60 calories each), a bunch of bananas (five to be exact), and to satisfy my sweet tooth I grabbed a box of weight watchers cookies and cream ice cream bars at only 140 calories each bar.
I marched my 2700 calories up to the check out counter. I had used a hand basket to carry these groceries and placed the entire basket with contents onto the check-out belt. The check-out person, an Indian male in his mid-50’s or so, asked me to remove the items from the basket before check out. I took this as odd because 1) there were very few items, 2) no other cashier in my life had ever required item removal from a hand basket before checkout and 3) it wasn’t like it was a couple of 20lb bags of charcoal. We’re talking one day worth of calories here.
So I asked him why. “Are those 6oz yogurt containers too heavy?” “Is the loaf of bread too much?”
Now you have to realize that my attitude in this manner was provoked by the tone of voice of the cashier who was in absolute command of his register and check-out lane. A cock roach couldn’t have walked across that check out lane without being hit with a blast of Raid spray with the force equivalent to a Boeing 777 jet blast on take off quicker than Clint Eastwood in a spaghetti western. Yet here I am with my strawberry no-fat yogurt in a basket, a threatening figure indeed.
The cashier wasn’t in appreciation of my questions. “Sir, I don’t understand your questions. Could you please remove your items from the basket?” Now this was a 1lb plastic hand basket with 2 lbs of food, max, contained within. The customer in front of me, who was still gathering his bags, started to laugh and I ascertained that he had the same experience. So I forged ahead, “are you able to move the basket from the belt once it’s empty?” I asked the cashier.
“Sir, it is a union requirement that all items be removed from the basket before check-out.”
I immediately removed all food from the basket at the sense of the urgency you would expect from a starting Super Bowl quarterback. There was no argument now. Gosh, why in the world would I want to raise the cost of my groceries by debating process with a grocery union employee? I could see the cash register ring higher with each item as the strapping union worker rang in my groceries.
My total for the evening for the next five days of breakfast was $13.26, or $0.49 per calorie, or $4.42 per pound.
The price for hearing a union grocery employee explain he couldn’t move my 6-oz yogurt from the hand basket, across the scanner, to my grocery bag = priceless.
Splish Splash Ya’ll