Thursday, November 15, 2007

Cows, Turtles, Cards, and Crabs


It seems like whenever I go to Duane Reade on 6th Avenue (I refuse to call it "Avenue of the Americas because it sounds like the name of a Columbus Day float), I should be primed and ready for a fight. It doesn't always happen, but the way things are set up, it's good to be prepared. Click Read More. Now.

After pushing through the door, I notice a significant lack of customers at the registers. This is my motivation now, so I race towards the escalator, only to be cut off by a woman who has decided, "I think I'll ride the escalator today. All the way to the top. I won't try to walk up while it's moving, because that's too dangerous, and I certainly won't use my peripheral vision to see that someone behind me might not feel like waiting for my lazy ass to get to the very top. And I'll ignore the deliberately heavy steps and the sighing of that person behind me."

I get to the top and I curse at the cow ahead of me, making a break for the card aisle. I pick out my cards quickly, hoping to avoid long lines downstairs. "Why the hell aren't there registers up here?" I complain, as I race to the down escalator, now out of service, and made all the more worse by a woman doing "wedding steps" all the way to the bottom.

Desperate and annoyed, I watch as she makes a right and heads down the first aisle to the registers. She has that "take up the entire width of the aisle and don't let anyone pass you" walk, so I race around the second aisle, full speed ahead, towards a woman who senses my urgency, and, I kid you not, turns around and races me to the front of the store. I make a break for aisle three but it's blocked by a stockboy and a massive cart.
In my head, I hear my mother's voice. "Stop running!" The woman in aisle two wins on a technicality.

What the fuck is up in this store today? I think, before finally getting to the register area, where, despite the signs for separate registers, the mass of confused customers have decided "No, one line is the way to go."

"I hate this fucking store so much," I announce the man next to me. We share a knowing look, like tenants who equally despise their slumlord.
I wait next to a looming display of Christmas candy and decide that, though I could easily walk to another register and use the "separate lines" rule as my defense, I see that two of the three open registers are manned by their two slowest cashiers. Now I understand why everyone was standing in a single line. They want to be able to say to the person behind them, "No, you can go ahead of me," when those two cashiers are free. They are hedging their bets that the newer, younger cashier may be a bit more efficient.

"NEXT CUSTOMER!" yells the new cashier. I look over to see that, oddly, there is still a woman there, and she is from the "I'm-still-putting-my-wallet-back-in-my-overstuffed-purse-so-you-can-all-wait-until-I'm-good-and-ready-to-leave" Club.

Perhaps even more incredible (and entertaining) is the reaction of the new cashier, who bluntly tells the woman that if she's going to take her time then she can move to the side. She even goes so far as to step over to the empty register next to her, slap her hand on the counter, and say, "I meant over here."

"NEXT," yells one of the turtles. Seeing how the newest cashier is in a bad mood because of Mrs. McStuffit, I step up to the female turtle and put my items on the counter. "Do you have a Duane Reade card?" asks the bucktoothed cashier, heavy Indian accent.

"No," I say, refusing to elaborate or show interest in the slightest.
"Oh," she says, looks down. It’s as if she wants to say, "That's too bad for you because you're missing out."

I hate these store cards with a passion. They don't even try to sign you up anymore, and they don't keep a card at the register to cut you a break. What ever happened to having a sale and giving everyone the same fucking discount?

"Is that everything?" she asks.
"Yes."
She scans my items.
"Is that everything?" she asks, again. Didn't we just go over this?
"Yes. That's everything."
"Eleven-twenty-four," she says. I hand her a twenty. I thrust it at her like I'm trying to shove it through her body.
"Eight seventy six is your change," she says and I stick out my hand, but she's not done torturing me yet.
"And twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen and five is twenty," she counts, making sure to fan out the bills so that I can see the 5 and the three 1's before me. There must be a lot of people accusing them of giving back the wrong change around here.

I think maybe I'll send e-cards from now on.

3 comments:

eleni said...

lol...I love these narratives...you're the best babe...hmmm, now, if only you'd write a book...LOL...love ya

Chris said...

At this rate, I'll need to fake a kidnapping just to have the time to work on it.

eleni said...

lol...I'll make the "ransom" call...