Friday, March 03, 2006


You and I are above average, in all things. We know that. There is no need to try to convince us otherwise. We make wise decisions. Some of that decision making ability comes from having learned from our mistakes. You tuck the info away, to be used for the next and wiser decision.
However, God has a plan for us. It includes humility. Well, to be more precise, humility, temptation, and stores with more than one check out line.
The lesson goes like this. You are following a large lady who is pushing a cart, and pulling one with a rope. Both carts are full. Stacked 3 feet above the side of the carts and items underneath hanging out and sweeping on the floor. She obviously has the seats out of her Suburban. How else could she possibly haul this stuff home? She goes into lane 1. In lane 2 is a man with a pack of gum. Who do you get in line behind. If you have enough experience, you will fall in line behind the lady with the two carts. Why? Because you realize it is a trap. Then the second temptation is thrown at you. A sweet young thing steps up to the register in lane 3, turns on the light and says, in a voice meant for seduction, "I can help someone over here". There is suddenly a bright light from heaven that encircles this girl and her empty lane. She is lovely, her hair fairly glows with radiance with the light from above. You want to. The urge is so strong. The man with the gum is almost out the door. Now even lane 2 is empty. The sweet thing in lane 3 smiles an alluring smile at you. The check out of the lady in front of you is about one fourth completed and is on the microphone, "I need a price check on Pillsbury Ultra Fudge Brownie Mix". Sweat, streams down your brow. You know it's a setup.
The human that you are, wins. You make a dash for the girl in lane 3. Three people show up behind you and fill lane 2. And another big load goes in behind the power shopper in lane 1. Your first item is scanned and then your second, and on and on until your last item is in hand. She shows it to the scanner. Beep beep. A frown appears on her face. She scans it again, beep beep. She reads the numbers and enters them one at a time. Beep beep. She grabs the microphone, "Bob, could you come up front?" Well, Bob is unloading a truck with a forklift and is the only one in the store right now who can both run the forklift AND tell us why this item won't scan. "I told Bob, and he'll be there as quick as he can", says the intercom. She smiles that beautiful smile that says, "I'm so glad you came to see me....SUCKER". She doesn't laugh that evil laugh. Outloud.
The other aisles empty, the customers are gone, and the checkers go on break. But there you stand with the Queen of Da Aisle. She says "I'm sorry this is taking so long". You reply while you look at the floor, "that's okay". If you were a five year old your Mother would be spanking your bare behind right now. "How dare you yield to temptation like that" she would yell. But for you, shame and humility is the lesson here in lane 3. YOU KNEW BETTER!
Marilyn claims to having worse luck than everyone else. She claims she's jinxed. Today we ordered breakfast at the little cafe off of the store. She went to get a jar of instant tea. She came back ten minutes later to a cold breakfast. "I can't believe it, the man in front of me just used his debit card for 33 cents". Now yelling "THIRTY THREE CENTS... AND, when she asked if he wanted some cash...HE SAID NO!!!"
There are two phrases which sound different but have the same intent.
"Hi big guy, want to have some fun?" and "I can help someone over here in lane three.".... Take a long, slow, deep breath and say, "No thanks", and just walk away.


Triplet Dads said...

this story was priceless (no pun intended).

Felecia said...

Indeed! Tell me, though, would a more forgiving version of yourself be able to see this as not a temptation, but rather a devine intervention? Her 20 minute delay may have very well saved you from an awful fate (such as being crushed by an overstuffed runaway cart!)

Also, as to easier access to my page... perhaps using the history section of your internet (a/k/a, the pull down arrow)? I made a deal with my husband that I wouldn't make my blog public; he's not entirely paranoid, but protective nevertheless:)

Jamie Dawn said...

They say that Einstein had trouble with simple tasks.
I guess we, the really intelligent people of the world, have our weaknesses. I think choosing the wrong check out lane is one of them that is shared by all of us who are otherwise really VERY wise.

33 cents?? Marilyn could have shot that man and probably gotten away with it by a jury of her peers.

Jim said...

The sweet young thing at aisle # 3 was a blonde, right? The lady at # 1 was an experienced checker who had all the prices memorized. Or she would take your word for it.
Mrs. Jim doesn't want her name used either. All of my kids and grandkids [the ones old enough to decide] say it's ok to use theirs. The grandkids says theirs come up on Google. I don't use last names. I think it is a generational thing.

Jerry said...

I thought I was the only one who had the "gift" of finding the slow line. I'm usually behind the lady who's writing a check, slowly.

Rhodent said...

I usually get stuck behind the lady with a bagful of coupons, half of which don't apply specifically the the products she is buying or are expired. Then when she finds out the products are not the specific ones on the coupon, she sends the bagger back to get the correct size or item. The bagger then disappears for at least 10 minutes after NOT finding the item. Then the three of them engage is a meaningless argument after which the l;ady stomps out without any of her groceries. I get to check out after they have removed her items from the belt along with her cart. Yup, I too have the gift.

Miki said...

Cliff, I too get behind the guy with the 33 cent debit purchase, and he thinks nothing of using the card! A little insane the technology that our world has chosen to use, right? Anyway, amusing story. Rhodent, you have baggers??????? If I need a specific item, and have made a mistake, I have to drag my daughter who is 4 and whining I would llike to go home now arewe doneyet??????????? to the aisle and find the specific thing myself. Usually, if I have made a mistake, I say "NAH, just take the mistaken one off and I will get the stuff next trip," It isn't worth the effort. We don't get a "bagger" unless someone new is training on the register, another thing that has fallen by the wayside here in NY. Well, lower NY, I hear that Upstate they still in some stores have "baggers"

Just Help Me said...

ha ha great story. just like a man to go to the beauty and not stay with the experienced smart one. lol who the hell puts 33 cents on a debit card. that would have pissed me off too.

Rachel said...

I hate those times at the grocery. I guess that's why I hate grocery shopping so much. 33 cents on his debit card?? I agree with JD on that one! Why do people do such stupid things? Just to annoy us maybe?

If I have a cart filled with many items I will let the people behind me who only have a few things go first. Then it's frustrating when something happens and they have to get a price checked and I'm thinking, "Oh, I know I did the right thing, but I think God is testing me in patience!"

Very funny post Cliff.

Bossy♥'s YOU said...

oh dear, never be tempted by the pretty little never ends good..

and poor marylin, i woulda slugged him:)..or gave him a dollar..:)

bridgesitter said...

Cliff your talent in writing, the way you phrase things and everything is so wonderful. You hold my attention to the very end.

After years of struggling in check out lines with four kids wanting this and that and pushing each other around, I have finally reached the point that I don't care how long I have to wait in line as long as I don't have to keep anybody else in line.

Mike ( ex scientia, veritas ) said...

You may have a good start on a book or sitcom - "The Checkout Lane". Of course, some might think it's a re-make of "Highway to Heaven". ;)

Paul said...

The same thing happens to me at our grocery store--and at the drive-up banking windows. Good post.

But listen, this might help someday: A cute young thing once sidled up to me and said, "If you can say it in three words or less, I'll do for a $100."

"Okay," I said and pulled five twenties out of my wallet. I held them up for her to see and slowly said, "Paint. My. House."

Maria said...

And I thought I was the only one with the "which line" problems. Once at the Commissary, the 15 items or les line had no one in it, so the cashier motioned me over even though I had a heaping cart of groceries. As I was unloading, some indignant person with less than 15 items showed up and read me the riot act. Being originally from Minnesota and raised to respect others, I held my tongue while all the time wanting to give that person the finger.

Green-Eyed Lady(GEL) said...

Priceless post. (Just saw that Marty beat me to it with the pun, but your post is well WORTH more praise!)