Well, maybe hate is too strong of a word, but they really, really, really don’t like me. When I go to check out, they all avoid catching my eye, they look away or look down. Kind of like when you are in school, and you avert your eyes hoping that the teacher won’t call on you. Sometimes, if there is much of a line, they don’t see me get behind someone. Then when they finish checking the other person out, they look up, see me, and their face betrays their unhappiness.
Am I rude? No. Do I yell at them? No. Do I have a zillion coupons, half of which are expired? No. My problem is produce. That’s it. Produce. At my local grocery store a lot of the produce does not come with one of those handy scannable numbers that make cashiers lives oh so easy. So, they have to key in the 4 digit number. The good cashiers have a lot of these codes memorized. Tomatoes, no problem, cucumbers, got it. The problem is my produce, apparently it’s unique. Not a lot of people buy what I buy. Or at least, not enough to memorize the codes. Plus 99% of the cashiers at my local grocery store are high school girls. I know because all 3 of my daughters have worked there. High school girls, in case you are wondering, could care less what kind of vegetable you are buying. They don’t consider it a challenge to learn the codes of the unusual vegetables. No, they consider it an unbelievable hassle that you are even attempting to buy these items.
When they don’t know the number, they have to look it up. First on this clever little roller thing that is on their cash register. After they spin that around a few times, and fail to locate the vegetable, they must pull a book out from under the counter. This is always done with great sighs of weariness. They manage to look completely disgusted and totally bored at the same time. First, they don’t know what leeks are, then shallots are a puzzle, by the time they get to the ginger root, you can tell they wish they could pull a lever and I would drop down into some convenient whole in the ground.
But you know what is really hard? What’s really hard is when even the people who work in the produce department don’t know what the produce is.
I know that most of you probably don’t need another picture, but here is a full view.
When the cashier sees this, she is finally happy because it has a number on it. She doesn’t have to look it up. She has no clue what it is (and neither apparently does the produce department). Unfortunately, it doesn’t ring up. Why? Because my store doesn’t carry celery root. It never has. She looks at me. I say “Um, that’s not celery root, it’s fennel.” She looks up fennel, but she can’t find it. She starts to pull out the book, but then I notice “anise” on her roll guide thing. I say “Oh, there, try anise. You see it’s not celery root, it’s fennel, but they have it listed under anise. Which it’s not really anise either, but that’s what you call it here. When you are not calling it celery root, that is.” I give her all this information helpfully. I forgot, just for a moment, that she really, really, really doesn’t care.