Welcome to Thunderdome
There are numerous things I dislike. In the top five is talking to others. This “personality quirk” (or, as my wife calls it, “being an a-hole”) makes self-check out at my local grocery store ideal.
I can literally walk into a store, shop, check out and walk out the door without speaking to a soul. This includes the greeter, to whom I knowingly nod, as if I assume they know why I’m there.
I frequent Wal-Mart. It is quite literally the “poor man’s Target.” That is probably the only scenario in which that is not a metaphor. It is where that special select caste of lower-middle class hillbilly and downright poor go to shop. Mostly because it’s flippin’ cheap as hell.
I go there because compared to the lepers, street people, visitors from the local state hospital, the teenage urchins and vagabonds of cultured society, I look and sound like a combination of Jon Hamm, Niels Bohr, Errol Flynn, Ricky Gervais and Kris Kristofferson (I am a hell of a songwriter … recognize). And it’s cheap as hell.
I also love the self-checkout stations. However, a shift has taken place since they were first instituted. It has taken something good and decent and turned it into the Thunderdome – an arena of lawlessness and debauchery. There are no mores or regret. Every man or woman for him- or herself. This is pretty much why I’m a democrat.
When self-checkout stations were first introduced, there was an understanding that the queues situated with one communal line on the left or right (typically, there are two stations on each side … so, two lines total). When one became open, the next person in the one line moved up.
Thus the fundamental shift. There is no longer the communal line. If I should walk up to the stations on the right-hand side, I should have my pick of the station nearest the front of the store or the inside station. Instead, I must now pick one or the other. There is no communal line. You could be waiting for 30 minutes for some blue-haired old bitty to scan her Cream of Wheat, but if a station comes open someone can jump the entire line of people and take it?
It’s like George Costanza’s pact with the pigeons. As people walk by me, I raise my fists and scream “I thought we had a deal!”
The deal is off. I’m a blue-blooded American. I know how to get mine. I’m going to start boxing out like Dennis Rodman. Arms perpendicular to my body, my knees bent, my muscles tight in anticipation as I wait for the carom of the rebound and I POUNCE!
I am The Worm.