Does it take an advanced degree to note fairly obvious details and keep one’s ears open? I went to the grocery store yesterday and, as usual, took in my reusable bags. As it turned out I didn’t take enough bags in with me. You know, that “oh, right, we need ______!” syndrome. (Of course, if my bags looked the one pictured here I'm sure I'd taken every single one in!)
Anticipating that the bagger and her ever-so-efficient helper would reach for plastic when my bags were reaching their limit I said, “I’ll just take the watermelon as it is (half a watermelon, covered in plastic), and it can go on the floor of my car. I really don’t want to use plastic.”
The bagger looked up at me, questioning my judgment. “It might leak,” she pointed out. And you think the floor of my car would object, I wondered? The dirt and dog hair don’t want company? “That’s okay,” I replied, “the floor can handle it. I’m not going far.”
Then the efficient helper reached for the chicken and before I could take a breath it went into a plastic bag. “I’d really rather not use plastic,” I repeated, receiving a dull stare in return. There was still room in my bags to accommodate the meat, but the efficient helper gathered up the chicken in its plastic and reached for the beef, fluffing open yet another plastic bag. “Here,” I offered her the stew chunks, “may as well just use one bag for both,” I suggested, thinking that placation might ease the dull, fixed expression on her face. She grudgingly obliged.
Then she reached for the peaches, already in a bag of their own. I snatched them up quickly, placing them in the top section of the cart next to my purse. “I know you must think I’m crazy,” I said with a smile. “I really don’t like to use plastic.” The efficient helper turned and moved on to another lane where she could fill up more plastic bags against customers’ wills.
The bagger was more forgiving. “Can I help you out with that?” she asked. I begged off. “Have a nice afternoon,” she said with genuine cheer. “And also with you,” I nearly replied, but caught myself in time. “You too,” I smiled, and schlepped my purchases to the car.