There’s a new Safeway (well, not exactly new, as Joe would sing/explain it, “They tore down a Safeway and put up another Safeway…”) in our neighborhood. So, I went to check it out last Sunday. It was annoyingly crowded -- from being called vulgarities in the parking lot for mouthing “you can park there” to tallying up a record number of “excuse me”s in every aisle I walked down -- it just wasn’t what I would consider a pleasant shopping experience. Meh. Apparently I wasn’t the only one to get the $10 off coupon in the mail.
Any time I’m in a crowded grocery store, as I was this past weekend, I’m reminded of my University of Washington days, when I worked as a checker in a popular Seattle grocery store, QFC (go to 1:30 in the attached song- QFC SHOUT-OUT Y'AAAAALL!). It would get extremely busy in the evenings, so much so that in just a few hours I’d have repeated the same “checking” motions so many hundreds of times that, many nights, I’d experience symptoms tennis elbow. Yeah, I was that hard core. Although I worked there for a number of years, I never could remember which aisles items were located on. It was pretty pathetic. Many times, when a customer would ask where something was, especially when it was busy and I couldn’t jog down a few aisles in my regular chicken-with-its-head-cut-off search, I would have to make a decision to either pick up the phone and disturb another checker, or just turn quickly and loudly direct the question to the checker behind or in front of me.
One of my most hilarious checker moments, that I still giggle to myself about frequently (because I’m immature like that; you’ll see) was when, during one of these very busy evenings, a customer approached me and asked where she could find Beano. Now, as I stated, I had a decision to make: pick up the phone and discreetly ask another checker, or holler the inquiry to the checker nearest me. Surely embarrassing myself (I really hope) more than the customer, I went with the latter option. Still trying to get through all the customers and not seem like an immature dork, I looked back at my buddy Niraj, and (even as I type this I’m giggling like a freaking 8-year-old, GAAAAH) asked, “Hey Raj, you know where the Bea... (giggle), Bean... (louder giggle), the Bean… (a total wreck at this point) Beano is?” He proceeded to crack up, but quickly composed himself to point her in the right direction. As she shuffled off, totally not amused, I’m pretty sure she said something sarcastically along the lines of, “Yeah, real funny.” Wasn’t it, though?