Sunday, January 13, 2013

the beautiful people

I drove across the ice rink that is Anchorage, Alaska, this morning to scope out the location of the trauma nursing course I'm taking before dawn tomorrow; I also stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few items.  Wearing cleats strapped on my snow boots, I skated warily across the store's parking lot and found 10 items I couldn't live without.  I mention the number of items for a reason.  There were only a few checkout lanes open and there were at least two people with overflowing shopping carts in each lane.  I headed for the "15 item or less express lane", moving slowly because I still had my cleats on and it's about as easy to fall down and break a hip wearing cleats on a cement floor as it is walking on ice without the cleats.

A couple sped into the express line ahead of me.  They weren't wearing cleats and could move faster, not to mention that they were probably at least 20 years younger than I am.  I'm always a little irritated when someone beats me to a checkout line by that thin a margin, but when I peered into their cart, I escalated.

They had at least 30 items in that cart.

After I had counted their items (I know, I can hear Bill W. and Bob S. chanting the serenity prayer in my ear) I took a closer look at them.  I had plenty of time, too, because they were taking their time placing items on the counter.  She was maybe mid thirties, had beautifully cared for long red hair, and by my estimate, a size 6.  She moved gracefully, albeit slowly.  I could picture her taking pilates lessons, slipping out of her designer jeans and donning footless tights with no grease marks or tears in them.  He had thick hair, a classically handsome face, no beer belly, was about her age, wore designer jeans and carried himself with an air of confidence.

I hated them.

Entire glaciers could have melted in the time it took them to place their groceries on the conveyor belt, and of course one of the items required a price check.  I watched the checker, scanning her face for signs of annoyance.  Her affect remained perfectly flat.  When they handed her a stack of coupons, I felt bile rise in the back of my throat, but maintained my distance and kept my mouth shut.  When they swiped their credit card and the checker turned to her cash register to pull out CASH BACK I nearly lost it.  I swiveled around to see three people waiting in line behind me, one of whom was a young woman holding a salad and a drink who was anxiously checking her watch.  I know that poor girl was on her all-too-short lunch break.

FINALLY the checker handed them their receipt and they wheeled away.  I stepped up and as the checker processed my legal-sized order, we chatted.  We talked about how rude people are, how people can't count, and how some people have a sense of entitlement.  She said, "You have no idea some of the behavior I witness, or how desperately I wish I could tell some of the customers in this line to _ _ _ _  _ ff."

That made me feel better.  That's "customer service".  I understand the concept.  What I don't understand is how the beautiful people seem to think they're special, and different.  They aren't.  Wait until I'm ordered to give one of them an enema.