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Friday, March 27, 2009


I just came back from a super grocery store whose name rhymes with "Chalmart." I got 10 things and went to a short checkout line because, in my mind, short is supposed to take less time. I decided to treat myself to an ice cream Snickers bar and added it to the conveyor belt. I was in line for about 3 minutes before it dawned on me the belt hadn't been moving. Looking back, I wonder if the line was short because everyone else was already aware of the situation. The situation was that the cashier was less-than-fast. He was less-than-efficient. He may have been less-than-awake.

George was a non-smiling older gentleman. He seemed undecided as to whether he wanted his lane light ON, OFF, or FLASHING. I watched him use all three options every few minutes, at least 3 times. It was like a Checkout Disco. (If only I had been wearing silver platform shoes and a gold polyester dress.)

I noticed George fumbling with the purchases of the person ahead of me and then realized he had been for quite some time. I saw conversation happen between the cashier and the customer. The light went off, came on, back off, and then flashed. I heard the customer say "I can just pay with cash." The light went off.

By the time it was my turn up to bat, I had had 2 birthdays and my ice cream bar looked softish. George clearly did not want to be there. I watched him fumble with my purchases. I asked him if he was looking forward to going home (he was) and asked when his shift ended (1 am, which was 6.5 hours away). My questions seemed to throw his concentration off, so I waited until he finished ringing me up before I nonchalantly asked how long he'd been working there (about 4 months).

I happened to have some cash on me so I paid for half of my total with cash and was about to hand him my debit card when George closed out my transaction and put my bills in the till. A less honest person could have said, "Bye! Have a good evening" and George would have totally let them walk out with half-priced groceries. But I pointed out, "I still need to pay the rest."

George seemed inconvenienced by this. He couldn't remember how much cash I had given him. He played around with the disco light again and got someone to help him. I knew Irma had authority because she looked stressed and she had a walkie-talkie. (I only know of three jobs that involve walkie-talkies: the police, the secret service, and the commander of grocery cashiers. Perhaps, my grocery store has an army? And maybe their aged greeters are actually trained ninja assassins.) George kept telling Irma I paid with less cash than I had given him, which kind of bugged me. She unloaded my purchases and re-rang them up. George walked away. Just like that.

"He seems to be having a hard day," I said.
Then, she said, "He's not a cashier."

Excuse me?

"He stocks shelves but when we're busy, we have him man a lane."

OK, I know that being a cashier does not require specialization like say, a heart surgeon or a ninja assassin, HOWEVER, shouldn't the person handling people's cash and credit cards know how to, at least, use a cash register? This falls just below going to the gynecologist's office and finding out that your exam was done by a bored janitor.

Had my baby not been fussing for dinner, I would have taken the time to make an a-gasped scene about my fake cashier. (Irma, thank the baby. Thank the baby.)

When I finally got to my car, I looked for my delicious ice cream Snickers bar. George had thrown it into a bag with some glass jars. I found my treat under a heavy jar of natural peanut butter. The package was flat. Had my baby not been fussing, I would have gone back in and gotten a replacement. (Chalmart, thank the baby. Thank the baby.) I drank my tube of melted ice cream, crushed chocolate bits, and peanut pieces. Hmph.

Well, at least George has their bagging techniques down pat.


Lyns said...

Sounds like a typical day at "Chalmart!" Very frustrating.

TheOrttFamily said...

All I have to say is I LOVE your stories...write a book so I have something to laugh about know like those calendar turn a day charts...whatever they are called..anyway thanks for the laugh. Things are a little upside down lately for me..ha..I can even make just a little humor now! You get it right??

Adhis said...

I'm glad you are laughing and finding the humor in things. It will keep you sane-ish. :)

Englishfam said...

I think I have a sign on my forehead that says "please be the worst and slowest cashier" when I get in a line there too! What is with that place?? I went to Albertsons last week just to spite them. The whole time I kept thinking, I could get this at Walmart for .... and left frustrated that I had probably spent atleast 10 bucks more. The trap! Grrr. Thanks for the laugh Adhis!

Sarah said...

I'll never look at Greeters the same way again.

Sara Lynes said...

Well, last week at Chalmart I called the police on a woman that the Ninja assassins said regularly comes in an sits her kids on the bench while she shops. The oldest was 3!!! Well supposedly, Chalmart ninjas also double as baby sitters for negligent mothers. You never know what you will see there.

Heidi said...

And yet we all keep going back...I just don't get it.

sarahandtim said...

Walmart is rather renown for terrific service, as your story attests. The way you tell stories always makes me chuckle :)

Katy said...

I had a less-than-satisfactory experience at Target last week. The (shopping cart collector/parking lot attendant), um, "cashier" said NARY a word to me!

He didn't look like a friendly man, but I still thought I'd give him a cheery little "hello" as I approached the counter. He just looked at me with absolutely no expression, then started scanning my items.

I expected him to tell me my total. He didn't. I knew the total, however, since I had been watching my items scan, so I handed him my money.

He handed me my change and receipt. I took them and then my bag and said "thank you!". Absolutely no response.

As I left I could not help but think to myself this seemed much more like a "chalmart" experience than something that would happen at my beloved Target.

If wasn't such a tightwad and so dang militant about getting the best deal, I would NEVER shop at Walmart. But they DO have some great deals. :-/

Jackie (updated profile) said...

There is nothing quite as disappointing as having a bored janitor do your gynecological exam. If I found my ice cream squished, I would never stop crying.

Joyful Mother of Children said...

I totally feel the same way about Chalmart. I did however have two very positive experiences at the new one in Cedar Hills if you're interested. In fact, the Pharmacist that we love left her previous pharmacy and now runs the Chalmart pharmacy in Cedar Hills. Sooo, maybe you could try it out? You never know. I had the same very young guy as our checker both times and he was surprisingly pleasant!

Kristen said...

Am I the only one that had to look at the comic about 20 times before I saw what was funny? And it WAS funny!

I make it a point not to get anything edible at that store. Ice cream bars included. And their generic diapers just about gave me a breakdown. Anyone need some newborn diapers? I moved him on to size one just so I don't have to deal with Ben's bargain anymore. There's nothing I love more than Huggies coupons at a double-coupon sale.

bananaberry128 said...

I hate that place! I have found the same deals if not better at target. I avoid chalmart at all costs. Target , maceys and costco are my stores of choice. The only "good" thing about that place is the guarantee on everything....amazing! But still not worth it.

I am so shocked you didnt cause a dissapointed ;)

Anderegg & Co. said...

You make me laugh! I hate Walmart, but still find myself there once in a while because I don't want to pay the higher price. Guaranteed long lines and some mishap. Good read, though, Thanks!