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Don't tell me I don't look a day over 16

Posted by NumberSix , 26 June 2010 · 507 views

There're a number of reasons why we don't shop regularly at the very convenient Meijer down the street. Their prices pale in comparison to the Wal*Mart a mile farther down the road, they're more cluttery and cramped than the Target across the block, and their employees always seem to be in the throes of clinical depression.

Today the wife and I were out of the house earlier than usual for our weekend errand run, ran out of mandatory stops, and had to kill some time before her bank opened. We stopped at Target first, but browsed too quickly. With fifteen minutes left to waste, I made the command decision to stop at Meijer to browse at nothing.

In perusing their slightly discounted not-new-release BluRay selection I decided to pick up a copy of Shaun of the Dead for fourteen bucks. I've spent hardly any disposable income this month, it was a reasonable price to fill a hole in my collection, I hadn't seen it shelved at any other stores in recent memory, and it's a nice token to celebrate the Edgar Wright-mania that will surely overtake America when Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is released in August and becomes one of the ten best films of 2010 despite Michael Cera.

As usual, the Meijer "express" lanes had longer lines than the non-express lanes (and seemed to have their conveyor belts loaded with about the same amount of merchandise), so we walked down to the opposite end of the store to take advantage of the self-checkout lanes. My wife is not a fan, but I can handle most simple gadgets, especially if they provide written instructions and don't require any assistance from employees whose job performance was insufficient enough to land them a spot on self-checkout monitor duty. I can't imagine what it would be like to spend five eight-hour shifts a week standing still and watching unpaid amateurs play cashier. At least actual cashiers get light exercise from scanning items, bagging items, lifting bags, and occasionally being forced to greet customers verbally.

I begin my one-item transaction, scan my Shaun, bag it, touch the "Finish & Pay" button, and then wait for it to beg me for money.

Surprise caveat: my movie is R-rated, so an employee has to authorize the purchase. The screen stands still and awaits the proper codes.

I look toward the monitor station. Two employees are on duty. One is a girl on the phone with another cashier, presumably for a price check on waffles or whatever. The other is an old man, meditating with his eyes open. I stare in their direction. I'm denied eye contact. Of the eight or ten other self-checkout stations, only a few of them are in use by other customers, all showing no outward signs of pressing checkout errors.

After an extended moment of waiting for someone to notice the gauntlet I've thrown down for one heck of a staring contest, the old man finally finishes his ninety-eighth mnemonic unspooling of what our boys did for us in 'Nam and notices I'm technically loitering. He does a double-take, returns to active duty, and walks over to us. He touches the screen and enters a lengthy passcode.

Then he looks at me with my full beard, my slight wrinkles, my not inconsiderable bulk, my quasi-Hawaiian shirt, and my beat-up years-old adult wallet...and asks to see my driver's license so he can verify my date of birth. I rolled my inside eyes instead of my real eyes and grudgingly showed him my ID so he could enter my complete date of birth into the computer and let the program proceed.

When this happens with cigarette and alcohol transactions, I'm sure it's a sheer delight to every drunken cancerous lady over age 30. I can't fully blame the employee for the momentary inconvenience, though I have to wonder how much convincing he needed. Perhaps he thought my wife standing beside me with matching gold band was actually my mother, and her eternally youthful looks are thanks to her aging backwards like Merlin.

I can understand retailers needing to protect themselves from potential legal issues. It might be nice if the procedures they set in place didn't have to add an extra touch of detriment to an already detrimental service standard.

(Over at Wal*Mart it's a simple matter of "Customer Over 18? (Y/N)" answerable with a one-touch response...which, oddly, I encounter every time I buy fuel injector cleaner from them. I suppose an eight-year-old buying a bottle of STP product would beg suspicions of drug abuse, terrorism, or street racing.)

Maybe I'm irked more than I should be because so far I'm enjoying what the aging process has done for my looks. I'll never be "hot" in any sense, or in any sense within the same realm of outward description, but I'm no longer feeling haunted by the shame of every horrid photo ever taken of me from ages 12 to 25. I weigh less than I used to. My beard isn't as wispy as it used to be. My freckles look more stately. My facial skin is no longer corpse-white. So far I'm content to have lost as many resemblances to my school yearbook photos as possible. When relatives compliment me in any way relating to youth, I find myself suppressing the little offense I'm taking from their ostensible kind words.

But that's just me. I'm weird about the physical maturation process that way...for now. Just wait'll I have my first parade of serious chronic medical conditions, and then I'll recant everything I just said.

Until then, Meijer is totally invited to go out of business for its sins against me today. :P

You should write a comedy, Six. I seriously LOL'd a few times during this entry.
Meijer self-checkouts are special, and not in the way Barney uses the term :yes:
    • NumberSix +1 this
I no longer encounter this because even the most braindead walrus can clearly see I am an adult. What gets me going however is the request to see my driver's license when I use a credit card to purchase small items. Why yes indeed, lady, I am going to risk going to prison to use a stolen credit card to acquire a candy bar and a soda. Idiots.
If watching Breaking Bad has taught me anything, it is that fuel injector cleaner (and probably other petroleum products too) are used in meth production.
Destiny Skywalker
June 28 2010 11:23 AM
Wait until you're 80 like my grandpa and get carded for beer. He was so proud.
youre not me youre not free et cetera

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