Category — Idiots at the store

Guy tries to pay with million dollar bill

This actually happened on December 31st, but it’s taken me this long to stop laughing.

The obvious point is that a person that actually has access to a million dollars is not likely to be caught dead in Wal-Mart.  Unless, of course they are part of Sam Walton’s family and have shown up in an armored vehicle to pick up that day’s receipts.

This place scares me.

Secondly, everyone knows not to give a cashier an abnormally large bill for a small purchase.  (Dude…seriously?!  A million dollar bill for a $467 purchase?  That’s like giving someone a $1,000 bill for a 46 cent purchase.)  Way rude.

That kind of shit will get you bitch slapped by the cashier.  And “dirty-looked” by everyone else standing behind you in line.  Maybe even shot at in the parking lot.  Here’s hoping.

Have you seen the people who shop at Wal-Mart?  If they stampede your ass you will turn into ground meat in no time.  Those people don’t play.  (And spandex is their favorite fabric.  Just in case you didn’t know.)

And what did that asshat attempt to purchase with his million dollar bill?  A vacuum cleaner, a microwave and some other stuff.  (Please tell me I don’t actually have to point out that there is no such thing as a one million dollar bill.  Okay.  Good.  The largest U.S. bill currently in circulation carries a charming portrait of Mr. Franklin.)

Dude?!  Seriously?!  No guns??  No bulk toilet paper?  No house dresses for your woman?  What the hell kind of Wal-Mart shopper are you?  (Are you sure you didn’t mean to hit up the Best Buy?  Just think of the reward points you just walked away from.)

For years Wal-Mart was banned from opening a store within the Chicago city limits.  Yet another sign of intelligence from the Windy City.  (That, and the ability of our dead people to vote.)

January 4, 2012   2 Comments

Newsflash: cookies can morph into cereal

Did you find everything okay?

How many times do you get to the retail checkout counter—particularly in grocery stores—and find yourself greeted with that phrase?

A ton, I bet.

Ninety-nine percent of the time, I answer “Yes, I did.”  So, the conversation ends right there.

However, try saying “no I didn’t” sometime.  I did exactly that during my most recent Whole Foods encounter and my response was met with bulging scared eyeballs.  I might as well have been an alien with three heads and green scales all over my body.

Judging by the cashier’s body language, the only natural assumption I could make was that he was too frightened to ask a followup question.  (Apparently, they are trained to ask the question, but not trained to handle a negative reply.)

The sound of crickets was deafening, so I soldiered on.

“Yes, I couldn’t find the Kashi Oatmeal Dark Chocolate cookies.”

At which point the bagger pipes up and says:  “Oh, you mean the Kashi cereal?”

Apparently these cookies can morph into other food items.

Yeah, that’s exactly what I meant, because I live in a bizarro world where the word cookies is code for cereal.

“No, I meant the Kashi Oatmeal Dark Chocolate cookies.”  (I’m also pretty sure that’s not code for a dozen jumbo organic eggs, either.)

More crickets.

“Did you ask me for some particular reason?”  (Is this a game you associates play? Like, how many customers you can frustrate during your shift?  The winner gets a box of vegan burgers.)

More bulging scared eyeballs and then finally…”can we get you something else?”

Nope.  Just my Kashi Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Cookies.

More crickets.

So, listen up retail managers.  Don’t train your people to ask questions unless they are prepared to handle a negative response.

And don’t try to pawn cereal off on me when I am looking for cookies.  I’m pretty sure that’s a capital offense.

August 23, 2011   Comments Off on Newsflash: cookies can morph into cereal

I love when people tell me what to do. Not.

Yes, I’m talking to you, idiot woman at Costco yesterday.

I’m in the checkout line, minding my own business.  I had run in to pick up a few things just after the store opened and I was at the head of the checkout line in record time.

A passerby, looks into my cart which I was about to empty.  (It contained two large bottles of contact lens solution, three huge boxes of Q-Tips, a pack of cotton makeup remover pads and four oscillating tooth brushes.)

Apparently, I was purchasing cleaning supplies for every orifice in my head.

1,875 Q-Tips. Just realized, I may not need to buy more until 2015.

At least you now know that although I may be a sarcastic bitch, I am a clean, sarcastic bitch.

That’s when the woman says to me:

Her: Do you still need this cart?

Me:  Yes, I do. (Because I wasn’t raised by a pack of wolves and if Costco isn’t going to give me a pretty tree-killing shopping bag, I would like to at least reserve the right to carry these extra large packages to my car in a shopping cart as opposed to clutching them to my bosom. I do not feel that’s a good look for me.)

Her:  Really?  Just for those few things?!

I’m pretty sure that’s when the aneurysm in my brain occurred.  I definitely felt blood shrapnel flying around inside my head.

In the past,  my brain would have immediately signaled my mouth to say something very lippy.  (If accompanied by a close friend, this would be when they would have gotten scared, knowing that the verbal barrage was about to commence.)

It potentially would have started with something like…”Oh, hi.  I didn’t realize that Costco had a cart police division.”

But in today’s world where loonies pack hand guns, vials of acid and lord knows what else, I’ve learned to save the attitude and sarcasm for after they walk away.  And, of course, as fodder for Rantopolis.

Afterall…this is Costco we are talking about.  One notch above Wal-Mart.  Not Neiman Marcus, where the associates are required to wear diamonds the size of Belize.  BTW, if you get into an altercation at Neiman’s the worst that can happen is that you get scratched by a Tiffany bracelet clasp.  At Costco, they may end up beating you with a jumbo 12-roll pack of toilet paper or a family pack of chicken. And by family, I mean enough to feed a cult.

Back to the checkout line.  The woman ahead of me heard the entire exchange as did the two employees handling check out and bagging.  They also saw my big bulging eyes, which is what happens when my brain puts my mouth on lockdown.

Trying to ease the tension, the cashier said to me, “M’am we have small boxes you can put your  terribly small purchase into.”

We all started to laugh.  My eyes returned to their appropriate size and nestled back into their respective sockets.

That was followed by, “We at Costco wish you a very small and happy Saturday.”

Hilarious, right?!  You gotta hand it to that cashier.   (Can you imagine what brain curdling things she sees/hears in the course of the day.  They should get combat pay.  And/or a pack of 10 turkeys during the holidays.)

In closing, I would like to deliver a little message to the control freak with the cart issue.

You realize that every little thought in your brain doesn’t need to be articulated, right?  For example, like the one that I kept to myself when I took a look at that hideous blouse you were wearing.

Here’s a tip.  Go buy some mirrors.  I bet you can get a bulk discount at Costco.

Oh, and you will need a cart for that.

August 14, 2011   6 Comments

People who line jump should get 20-to-life

You’ve all been in this situation.  More than once a week you probably end up in a place where you are expected to stand in line for a product or service.

Except, there isn’t an official line.  It’s more of a free-for-all.  And what’s even more annoying is that the store proprietors don’t seem to care.  It quickly turns into a verbal Thunderdome.  You end up engaging in stare downs or having to shout “I was here first,” to stake out your territory.

I am beginning to think the store ignores the whole thing on purpose.  You know…just for personal entertainment.  I can just hear the discussion in the employee locker room.

Hey, did you hear those two fighting over who got to the deli counter first?

Oh, yeah.  I thought she was going to hurl the baby carrier at him.

Who knew work could be so much fun?!  Like when I was bagging and I put that 64-ounce of liquid laundry detergent on top of the tomatoes.  That was six kinds of awesome.

Hey, I’ve got an idea. Let’s encourage the butcher to mess with the customers.  He’s got a big chunk of glass in front of him.  It’s too high for them to scale it and attack him.  Plus, he’s got that huge knife.  And, if he gets really pissed off at him, he can switch out the filet mignon with that dead rat we keep in the back.

In particularly tense situations you end up discussing the correct rules of engagement with your opponent. (Yes, I said opponent.  This is a death match.  Get it?!)

Like in the self-service grocery store checkout line which usually has two rows of scanners opposite each other.  There are those people that understand there is one line and others who think they are going to beat the odds by creating a second line.

This is the way to command order!

Would it kill the store to install a take-a-number system?  (I love Chicago’s Paulina Meat Market.  There, you take a number from a pig’s mouth.  How can you not love a ticket delivered from a pink plastic swine lips?!)

I’m going to be honest with you.  If you try to cut in front of me in a check out line, I’m going to go from mild-mannered middle-aged woman to the Wrath of Khan in about five seconds.  I can string words together that would make a  longshoreman blush.  And I can do it in more than one language.

Being polite and being a bitch are not mutually exclusive. Just sayin.

Somebody probably should have warned the guy at the Whole Foods deli counter earlier today about me.  It didn’t end so well for for him.  As for me, my prize was a 1/2 pound of rosemary/pepper turkey breast.

At least I’m hoping those little black bits are pepper.

June 16, 2011   2 Comments

Eating at the checkout?! Uncool, people!

What’s with people that can’t get through a trip to the grocery store without opening a package of something or another to eat before they get to the checkout?

Did you just return from a multi-day colon cleanse?  Have you been on a desert island for the past month with only bananas and coconuts? The free snacks all over the store don’t do it for you?


I’ve seen people rip open bags of chips, cookies, candy, bagels and lord knows what else.  (They’ve stopped short of peel and eat shrimp and raw tenderloin.)

In front of me at the checkout line earlier today, was a mom with a toddler.  This should have been a strong sign for me to pick a different line.  But, stupidly I didn’t.

This mom decided to turn the conveyor belt into a serving table.  She popped open the lid of the pizza box and proceeded to snack on it as it slowly moved.  Oh, and she was feeding her kid, too.

The evidence, your honor.

You can’t wait 15 minutes to return home?  How about 10 minutes until you get to your car?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that you and the kid won’t drop dead of malnutrition if you postpone your pepperoni buzz until you leave my immediate perimeter.

You might also find the whole dining experience a bit more enjoyable if you are actually sitting down and not chasing your food down a belt.

I know that I would find the whole checkout experience more enjoyable if I don’t have to dodge your grease spots.

Just sayin.’

May 26, 2011   Comments Off on Eating at the checkout?! Uncool, people!

I found urban hunter/gatherers!

After having a fun Sunday morning breakfast with a gal pal, I needed to run a couple of errands before returning home.  My mom was running short on bread and asked me to pick some up if I was going out.  Dutiful daughter that I am, I made a pit stop at one of the little grocery stores in my urban Chicago neighborhood.

Grabbing a loaf of French bread and a half-loaf of Wonder Bread, I made my way to the check out area.  I quickly sized up the two open registers and opted for the one with a young couple unloading their cart.

I stood there for a few minutes as they placed their grocery items onto the conveyor belt.  Not a huge order…but not a super small one, either.  I’d say there were probably about 15 or so items of varying shapes and sizes on the belt.

I place my two loaves behind their order and wait patiently (as patiently as I’m capable of…which is basically, not very)  for them to cash out.

And that’s when she said, “We don’t want a shopping bag.”

No biggie.  Sign of the times.  You see it more and more these days when environmentally-minded folks bring in their own cloth bags or recycle paper ones.  Except in this case, it became obvious that they didn’t mean they that.  They meant we don’t want a bag…any bag…at all.

I perk up.  Militants.  Right in front of my very eyes.  So, now I’ve suddenly gone from bored to gawker!  They do not realize that they have just become entertainment for me.

I watch while they gather (see…I promised you hunter/gatherers!) their various purchases.  A large bottle of juice, half a dozen eggs, a bunch of bananas and so on.  Nothing that could be stacked or easily nested together.

These two probably spend their summers at Camp Cirque du Soleil figuring out ways to grocery shop while doing acrobatics.  That would explain their thin muscular frame.

As they walked away precariously embracing the various grocery items, I looked at the cashier.   We had a moment.

“I have been doing this a long time,” she said.  I’m used to people asking for or doing weird things in the checkout line, but this one is now at the top of my list.”

Wow.  A cashier personal best.  Awesome! It takes a lot to make someone’s top five list who works retail in the city.  Congrats to you freaky hunter/gatherers.

However, much as I enjoyed the moment, I wasn’t in the mood for extended chit chat with the cashier.  No sireee.  I now needed to run out the door quickly to stalk the hunter/gatherers.  I wanted to see how far these two planned on walking with two armfuls of groceries.  Or if, for example, they exited the store and walked right into a double-parked gas guzzling vehicle.

Which, of course, would have made them hypocritical hunter/gatherers.

So here’s me grabbing the two loaves of bread (of course they were in a bag!) and running out the door.  I hit the street and quickly scan for my Sasquatches.

You gotta understand.  I live in a neighborhood where people pay other people to park their car, walk their dogs and pick up their dry cleaning.  People walking down the street cradling unbagged food?  Not so much.

If you squint, you can see them at the corner. Like photographing Sasquatch, you can't get too close.

I look to my right, and then to my left.  There they were.  Already at the corner.  Apparently hunter/gatherers walk fast.

Like a lunatic, I start running down the street with my two loaves of bread.  I’m secretly thinking how awesome it would be if they dropped the eggs.  (I also am aware that the thought just cost me karma points.)

They turn the corner and proceed to walk down another half block where they go into the lobby of a high rise.  I watch them struggle with door.  But they manage to make it through without dropping a thing.

Damn!  Talented hunter/gatherers!

But, I’d love to up the anti.  Hey hunter/gatherers!  I triple dare you to pull this stunt at Costco!

May 1, 2011   3 Comments

300 pounds of lamb

It’s Thursday Rantopolis readers.  Do you know what happens every Thursday at lunch?  I take my elderly mom shopping for her groceries.  Frequently, if not always, something happens during these excursions…usually involving my mom…which is either laughter- or rant-worthy.

However, today’s shopping tale involves a stranger.  A mom in her late 30s, shopping with her three-or-so year old daughter.

She steps up to the meat counter at my local Whole Foods and proceeds to tell the butcher that she would like 300 pounds of lamb.  I gleefully see a Rantopolis post unfolding in front of my very eyes.

Me (inaudibly)300 pounds of lamb?!  Do you belong to a cult or are you trying to set a Guinness record for the world’s longest baaa-kabab?

Butcher (quizzical look on face):  M’am, are you sure you want 300 pounds of lamb?  That’s a lot of lamb.

Shopper: Oh.  Can you show me what 300 pounds looks like?

Me (inaudibly):  Sure.  Get into your car and drive 10 miles northwest to O’Hare.  Board an Air New Zealand plane.  Sit in cramped seat for 24 hours. Get off in Auckland.  Go to a sheep ranch and herd about 8 lambs into a pen.  That should give you a pretty good idea.  Oh…one more thing…you’re a moron.

Butcher (now gesturing with flailing arms):  Ma’m, 300 pounds of lamb would be stacked all the way to the ceiling.

Shopper: Okay, well maybe I should start with three pounds?

Me (inaudibly):  Yeah, because three pounds is just a tad under 300 pounds. I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that your driver’s license says you weigh 8.5 ounces.

The butcher then starts putting lamb pieces on the scale.  The shopper stops him.

Shopper: Oh, that’s plenty!

Butcher:  Ma’m, that’s only a pound and a half.

Shopper: Yes, that looks like that will be enough.

Me (inaudibly)What’s next?  The bakery section?  Let me take a wild guess.  You want 57 loaves of bread which end up turning into a dinner roll and 73 layer cakes which end up being an eclair.

This is seriously making me consider online grocery shopping.  Unless, of course, I need 275 turkey burgers, 4275 hot dogs and several thousand buns.  In that case, I may need to rent a trailer.

March 10, 2011   7 Comments

Paying by check makes me crave cyanide

I really do try to keep my eyeball rolls down to a minimum when I am out in public.  (Same goes for sighs of disgust and toe tapping.)  However all bets are off if you are in the checkout line ahead of me and I see you pull out a checkbook.

While I try to strategically scope out the line to see if anyone is clutching a checkbook or pen, I am sometimes lulled into a false sense of security by someone who whips it out last minute.

That’s when my eyeballs turn into pin wheels and blood starts engorging my neck veins because I know what’s about to happen.  Which is…me losing my mind.

In my experience, public checkbook users have issues.  They fall into the same category as those morons that can’t remember the pin on their debit card.

Checkbooks. So last millenium.

C’mon.  Let me see a show of hands. How many times have you stood behind a debit card user that kept punching numbers into the key pad?  I’ve even stood there while one called her boyfriend to have a PIN discussion.  Yeah, sure…take your time.   My clients love it when they can’t reach me for hours because a freakin’ dumbstein can’t remember four digits.  Which most likely are 1, 2, 3, 4.  Or, if they were feeling clever on pin-setting day…4, 3, 2, 1.

But let’s get back to the check people.  They haven’t even graduated to a debit card.  Stuck in a time warp somewhere between the tablet/chisel and papyrus, they didn’t get the memo that a debit card takes money out of your checking account.  FASTER! And without paper.  What a concept.

Noooo.  They enjoy reaching into their big tote bag which most likely includes yesterday’s lunch, a few plumbing fixtures and a small chihuahua.

Then they stare back and forth from the check to the register so they can s-l-o-w-l-y write out thrity thirty seven dolars dollars and twinty twenty-two cents.  Ten minutes and two torn up checks later, they proudly had over their paper creation to the cashier. With a smile. Like they just solved a thermonuclear equation.

Does it end there?  I wish.

Next up is the ID and verification phase.  (Usually accompanied by Ms. Checkwriter thinking it’s an ideal time to call her boyfriend.)

In the meantime, I’m scanning my memory to see if I remembered to slip a cyanide capsule into my purse before leaving for this little shopping trip.  Because long about now, I’m thinking I want to place it under my tongue and end it all.

Then I hear the most frightening words in the English language.  Check denied.

Oh sweet Jesus. Now I have to endure the verbal justification phase.

Ms. Checkwriter: Are you sure?  There is no reason the check should be denied. [Really. How bout the fact that there isn’t any money in your account.]

Cashier: Yes, I’m sure.  I’m sorry we can’t accept your check.

Ms. Checkwriter: Well, can you try putting it through one more time? [This ain’t Groundhog Day sweet pea.]

Cashier: No, because it will only get rejected again.

By now, I’ve sadly discovered that there is no cyanide in my purse, only lip gloss. And I’m reasonably sure I can’t kill myself with Korres pomegranate lip butter.  I debate whether or not I can sneak a hand into her tote bag to grab a plumbing fixture so that I can pummel myself with it.

Unfortunately, this is when I can no longer control the really loud sighing and obvious eyeball rolling.  Picture my eyeballs on the end of Slinky toys.

Eventually, Ms Checkwriter finds a credit card in her wallet which (mercifully) is accepted.  I try to tactfully suggest to her that she may wish to consider getting a debit card to …uh…make things move more quickly for her me in the future.

Her answer?

Oh no.  I don’t think debit cards are safe.

I really do need to find that cyanide capsule.

March 3, 2011   Comments Off on Paying by check makes me crave cyanide