Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Meijer and the barrier


this post is going to be difficult. I hesitate to share because, well... I think I was a jerk. *guilty grimace* it should be titled: "Meijer and the poo denier, pt. 2" because it happened on the same crappy (see what I did there?) day.

clearly, I was stressed out by the poo smearings, and the repeated texts from my son, and repeated phone calls from his birthday party host/friend... but that's no excuse. 

I could've been more patient and thoughtful because, I'm from the South (bless your heart!); we eat charm and hospitality for breakfast, lunch and dinner-- and then dunk it in our mint herbal tea on the porch, as we wave to passing strangers! I was raised better--

*southern-accent sigh...

I suppose, in a way, Meijer is cutting-edge-- at manipulating the customer into doing their work. first they eliminated the bagboy and installed the "round-about" bagging system which meant the customer was now "helping" the cashier bag groceries. 

then, the "12 items or less u-scan" scam was enacted, pitting humans against machine (humans will eventually lose this battle, for with each infuriating, time-wasting experience we lose several dozen braincells. the machines are just messing with us until that collective fateful day).  

the u-scan then evolved into the "unlimited item u-scan." the beauty of this braincell-popping, lull-the-humans-into-self-destruction machine is the hinged 3' plastic barrier that keeps groceries separate. so, in theory, while customer A is bagging their purchases, customer B can start scanning their purchases. 

makes sense, right? 

whoa(!), not so fast you makes-sense-thinking-human. 

not. so. fast. 

I have never seen anyone use the barrier, ever. I've seen the Meijer u-scan jockeys yell prompt customers from The Podium of Power to use the barrier, but eventually, they have to stomp over and make it happen when no one dared "pressure" the person holding up the brilliant Meijer system... 

and *gulp,* that's where I come in, Miss Southern Belle that has, apparently, lived with the native Yankees for far too long.

rarely do I accept Meijer crazies as nemeses. but on that day, in that moment, when I was the 2nd person queued for the scan nightmare, the slower than molasses in January (keep the southern imagery alive), Meijer crazy got elevated to Nemesis status when she completed her purchases, looked back at next-in-line comrade, then at me and then at her splayed groceries.

she inhaled and released a long pitiful exhale, as if the bagging task was infinitely more difficult and life-sapping than the eternal dilemma of poor mythical Sisyphus and his pet rock. 

for a moment, her eyes rested on the 3' barrier--aka, the device that could've restored my faith in humanity--her hand reached out... my faith-in-humanity-meter lifted with anticipation--

and came crashing down when she reached for her bag of quinoa and millet ("organic quinoa and millet" is understood, right?).

when customer in front of me lifts a finger to point out the barrier, Nemesis sneered a withering "don't even," challenge; nearly squeezing the "fu" out of her tofu purchase in her raised fist. to drive home her supposed-to-be-intimidating point, Nemesis slowly places the juicy squareness of no-flavor "food" into a Meijer bag.

where I come from, that's "ugly" behavior and when someone gets ugly, all bets are off. I step in front of my 4' 0", cowed comrade (I'm 5' 7", but in my leather ankle-boots I'm a solid 5' 9-ish"), armed with my Southern secret-weapon: KILL THEM WITH KINDNESS.

you think I'm joking, but I'm serious. Southern Serious. 

no one can beat this strategy. there is no socially acceptable countermove to the KTWK without looking like a rude, shameless such-n-such. Nemesis had no idea that my winning smile was the equivalent of Michael giving Fredo the kiss of death. 

*cue "Godfather" flashback*

I smile and reach for the barrier: "this will help--"

Nemesis: "I was just about to do that! you can't wait 15 SECONDS--?!!"

ahh, evil Nemesis doesn't give a rat's behind about her socially-acceptable checkmate dilemma? 

Very well... I un-Southerned and Yankeed-up within 1.2 seconds. 

*smile gone, replaced with tight-lip, raised left eyebrow and the deadly quiet-mom-voice* 

me: "No, I can wait-- but today, I won't wait."

I drop barrier into place, turn and get back in line behind 4' 0" pole-position woman, who I'm pretty sure was fighting a smile, and grew 5" as she stepped up to begin scanning her items.

let this be a lesson kids; the Civility War is not over.

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