Saturday, December 15, 2007

Probably Why I Was Single For So Long

Picture this:
It's late-ish Friday night, a near-freezing rain has been pouring down for days. We're expecting snow possibly and ice certainly. After the obligatory Work Christmas Party, D. and I head to the one godforsaken place where we can get all of our necessary items (rock salt, shovel, dog food, comfort food fixin's, cigarettes) at once - yes, you know it - Wal-Mart.

We soldier on through the holiday crowds and are tantalizingly close being done, prepared for the worst and at home, sitting in front of the fire. We're waiting in the one Cigarette Line because my sweetie is (sadly...and not for much longer?) an addict. If you've ever been in a Wal-Mart, you know this line. It's the longest and crankiest.

So there we are. With our cart full of bad-weather provisions. The shifty-eyed guys in front of us are buying cigarettes (duh) but also three bottles of Robitussin apiece. Hm. That's some cough, guys. In other words, how sad and gross it must be, spending a terrible, cold, rainy night drinking cough syrup to get high and smoking cigarettes.

But back to us. The checkout guy, who I imagine has probably been on his feet for hours and hours dealing with holiday shoppers, scans everything very quickly because they all have UPC codes but then gets to the VERY LAST ITEM, a lone orange pepper. I specifically chose this pepper for the chili I planned to make because it was more than a dollar cheaper than the red pepper ($2 and 40 friggin' cents each). The guy puts it on the scale and punches in the code, I see it come up on the register as "Red Pepper - $2.40" and, before I could even stop myself, I burst out with, "No. That's an ORANGE pepper and it's a dollar twenty." And with those few words, thus began our descent into hell.

The guy tries to void the previous scan and ends up somehow charging us for four orange peppers instead (now well over $5). He keeps punching the same buttons and getting the same beeping error message. He tries again. Same thing. Again. Same beeps. The line behind us is growing. People are shifting their weight and starting to stare daggers into our eyeballs. I can't even look at D. because I'm afraid of what I might see in his expression - disbelief, frustration, and possibly fury." I can read his thoughts, though, "Alannah! ONE DOLLAR'S DIFFERENCE!!! We were almost out of here. Why, oh why couldn't you keep your trap shut? Just this one time?"

Checkout guy turns on the blinking light to call over a manager. She punches the very same buttons. Same beeping errors. She tries several more times. Mutiny in the cigarette aisle is imminent. D. is offering to pay the $5 extra, $10, whatever.... just get us the F out of there. In my weak attempt to make up for all this trouble, I run back to the frozen section to trade in D.'s halfway melted Ben and Jerry's for a new pint. The manager tells us we have to go to customer service to figure this out. By the time I come back with fresh, frozen ice cream, D. is walking back with four crisp dollars in his hand, and the comforting knowledge that he's got himself the craziest, cheapest, penny-pinchingest girlfriend in the world.


Anonymous said...

Should we really be blaming this on you and the orange pepper? Wouldn't it feel better to blame it on D. and the smokes? I always feel better by placing blame elsewhere.

Alannah said...

Yeah! Or, even better, this is the fault of Wal-Mart and their screwy, computerized system that won't let you just DELETE a transaction and REDO it with the correct code!

StormySleep said...

OH MY. You should meet my husband. He'll do this over a 10-cent overcharge. Five cents, even. When I read this (great post), my history with him made me get furious! How dare they overcharge you like that! GOOD LORD THIS CANNOT STAND! I'm more like D, but going to the store with M has definitely had an effect on my perspective. You did what you had to do, and so did D. :)

Alannah said...

I blame it on growing up poor. I keep a running ball-park total in my head as I shop and I remember exact prices because I have this fear of going to the register, not having enough money and having to return something.

I also have a theory that Wal-Mart has become this behemoth because they just exploit everyone involved with the selling and buying process, all along the line. Buy cheap, sell at a huge mark-up, overcharge when you can, etc.