Bags in the Bagging Area


So…we landed in Palm Desert this p.m. to spend a week at a Marriott property with our good friends, Ruth and Tom.  Weather was perfect.  A glorious day in the desert.

We met up with our buds in the parking lot of the resort because the room wasn’t ready yet.  There, it was decided that Ruth and I would venture out to the grocery store to stock up on provisions for the next 24 hours.  The next 24 hours included breakfast, lunch and a dinner party for 6.  Another couple was vacationing in the desert and our plan was to meet up and have them over for turkey burgers and all the trimmings.

So, Ruthie and I went together to the grocery store.  And it went something like this.  Ruthie wanted a list before she entered the store.  So we sat in the car and compiled a list.  I was visualizing a few things.  Good grief.  We ended up with a giant basket filled with all matters of food.  We had living butter lettuce(never mind that I had brought romaine from home), a head of cabbage, cilantro, onions, two bags of bells (I picked out the baby bells (my AT&T background was showing?)  Ruthie picked out 3 big bells.  Grapes, bananas, soda water, regular water, diet tonic water.  Do you have any idea how many kinds of water there are out on the market.  Cheese sticks, sliced cheese (never mind that I had brought brie), ground turkey, smoked turkey, bacon, vinegar (never mind that I brought red vinegar, the recipe required white vinegar!!).   Kaiser rolls and skinny bread.  On and on.

But I digress.

It was time to check out and so I wheeled the basket into the self-check area and proceeded to start the check out process.  First thing Ruth did was set her purse down on the “bagging area”.  That is when a voice announced, “Uknown item in the bagging area.”  A very loud and repeating announcement.  “Ruth, you need to move your purse off the scale.”  Ruth took the purse off the scale.  Then she started handing me items.  One of the items wouldn’t register.  So, the woman that was in charge of the bagging area as well as the machine that controlled the “self-checkout area”, came to my rescue.  Then I realized that Ruth had one bag of bells and so did I.  This required one purchase to be deleted.  So, the lady came over to assist us again.  Ruth placed her purse in the bagging area again.  “Unknown item in the bagging area”, the voice announced.  Her purse was once again removed.

Ruth then decided the she needed more room in the bagging area (the food was piling up) so she moved one of the bags from the bagging area into the cart.  Well.  This would not stand.  The machine rebelled.  “Please place bag in the bagging area.,” it commanded.  Okay, okay.  The bag went back on the scale.

Once we didn’t place the item we checked in a bag on the scale.  The  machine went bat-shit at this point.  “Please place item in the bag”, the machine implored.  It refused to go further until we got the item out of the basket and into the bag.  About this time, Ruth mentioned to me that she never did self-check for more than about THREE items.  Geeze.  Ray and I do it all the time.  And I mentioned this to the lady that was there to help customers.  “I never have this kind of trouble of home.”, I pleaded.  I heard her eyes roll.

A crowd had gathered.  The other check-out stations were being used by other customers.  They were not have the problems we were having.

At this point, a bag of grapes got scanned and the price came up on the screen.  $6.37.  OMG.  I was not going to buy those grapes at that price.  “I need help!”, I implored to the lady who by this time was wishing she had a hidden movie camera.  Really.  She probably never had two old ladies come in and create such a ruckus.  But she came over anyway to help us remove the grapes from the list.

We were at the bottom of the shopping cart, she could see that and so she stayed at our station and showed me how to check out…like I knew how to do that…how insulting.  But on the other hand, I was happy to accept the help offered.

As we waddled out of the store, Ruth said, “That took about 20 minutes.  I never do self check-out for more than about THREE items.”

And I said, “But look at all the fun we had.  Now we have a story.”

As we drove back to the timeshare, my phone rang.  “Where are you?”, I heard from the other end of the line.  “Oh, I got the bright idea to self check-out and it took a long time to check $120 worth of groceries.  We ran the woman in charge of helping people ragged.  We made every mistake in the book.”

It’s funny.  After an “event” like that, the story improves with age.  By the time we had one glass of wine and a little down time, Ruth got to giggling about how funny we must have looked to that lady.  “She is probably telling her friends about the two old ladies and their tribulations at the self check-out station. It was our Ethel and Lucy moment”, Ruth decided.  And we laughed and we laughed and we laughed.

And the topic kept coming up all evening and the more we thought about it the funnier it became.

And did I mention, the store was practically empty and there were several checkers there with time on their hands.  And they probably had the ability to actually check the groceries.  But oh, no.  I had to do it my way.  What the hell was I thinking?


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