Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I think perhaps she didn’t grasp the concept

I went to the 99 Cents Only store today. I love that store. I picked up two huge cheap vinyl tablecloths to drape over my equally huge kitchen table whenever the Denizens are doing things I’d rather not have to scrub off the wood (finger painting comes to mind) – I get about ten uses or so out of them before they disintegrate, which I feel is a darned good deal for ninety-nine cents (plus tax).

I also found plastic sandwich boxes. Now, I was using these Ultra!Cool!Wrappers! (Wrap-n-Mats, and they ARE awesome) for the Denizen lunches, but! The Denizens kept losing the durned things. At $6.50 a pop, that gets hurtful in a hurry.

Sooooo, I picked up eight of those cute little sandwich boxes for 99 cents each. Also I restocked the Den candy bin, which is very popular around here on Friday when the girls cash out their commissions (they get quarters for chores, homework, perfect classwork and like that).

I buy the stuff 3/99 cents. I charge them $1.25 for it.

They do not need to know this, people. Someday, I will use it as a business-learning experience, an example of how the middle-person makes their living. Meanwhile, I will be grateful that they have a limited grasp of ‘deferred gratification’ and blow their $1.25 on a 33-cent Fun Dip instead of saving it up for Disneyland, which! If they saved $200, they could choose as their reward.


So I went up to the front clutching my basket of items and unloaded it onto the conveyer belt. The twelve year old obviously old enough to be working without a permit lady began ringing it up, and I began digging in my bag for my wonderful, ecologically responsible canvas bag, which miraculously naturally I had thought to bring with me into the store instead of leaving it in the van like I normally do as I’ve heard people say they often do.

As I triumphantly whipped it out of my backpack, I realized that she had already tossed all my items into two plastic bags. Straight from the scanner into plastic, in one smooth motion.

“Oh, actually? I brought my canvas bag,” I blurted out, and handed it over.

Without missing a beat, she took ten cents off my total bill (five cents for each plastic bag).

And then?

She put the two plastic bags full of junk food and recyclable #1 plastic sandwich boxes into my canvas bag and handed it back to me.


“Uh,” I said cautiously.

“OK, thanks, have a nice day” she replied briskly, giving my bag an extra nudge to make it absolutely clear that it was time for me to get going now. “Hi! How are you today? Find everything OK?” she continued, already scanning and thrusting the next order into plastic.

I may be a tad on the ‘socially awkward’ side of the scale, but even I know when I’ve been dismissed. I was tempted for a moment to unload all my things out of the plastic and leave it behind, but I could feel the hysteria building (curse my overactive sense of humor! CURSE IT I SAY!!) and beat a hasty retreat to my van.

There, I dissolved so thoroughly into laughter that I was crying. And also invoking the name of the Almighty over and over and over again.

Methinks she may be missing the point, just a tad.


Anonymous said...

Oh please do tell more about the $.25 for chores! I've been trying to figure out the allowance/chore thing...and how old are these Denizens? (TIA!)

Science PhD Mom said...

*LMAO* You remind me of the time DH & I were in Trinidad, CA and we were buying a few bottles of wine. We got to the checkout where the young, wet-behind-the-ears teenage boy rang up all but one bottle, which did not have a price tag. (Can you tell it was a small store?) He used the store microphone to ask for a price check..."Can I get a price check on (I kid you not) the XY (he was struggling mightily here)'pee-not noor'?" DH & I struggled to keep straight faces and just barely refrained from bursting into peals of laughter while paying for our Pinot Noir. This from a kid living right next to California wine country. I still can't remember that story without busting up.

Anonymous said...

That's likely to be enough to get my canvas bag out of the back seat and into the store even.... if only to see that kind of thing happen in real life.

But I'm loving the quarters for chores, with shopping AT HOME w/ the money! Sweet. I could make yarn money by not doing chores!

Anonymous said...

Oh that is priceless! Sounds like her autopilot needs a tune-up, eh? I would have laughed right there - you're a better woman than I.

Very Herodotus said...

Maybe she is just lazy, and hey - you got two free bathroom trashcan liners out of it!

Kristen Filipic said...

Life may be different when you live near San Fran, but from what I've seen, bringing your own bag is a very very yuppie thing to do and when I try it at the cheap supermarket they look at me like I'm a crazy person. It is just not done. And I have had the helpful but befuddled clerks put the pre-filled plastic grocery bags into my canvas bag before.

anncrafts said...

I've had the clerk take the items out of the plastic bag and put them into my bag and then throw away the plastic bags she used! Sort of defeats the whole idea. Sigh.

Anna said...

Do you sew? You could totally make those sandwich wraps yourself.

cath said...

I had this happen to me with in a well-known coffee chain -- the woman filled a disposable cup and when I reminded her that I had given her my refillable (it was right in front of her), she dumped the coffee in -- and then threw the cup out.

Tola said...

when i lived in a Pacific Islands third-world country in 1994, you were charged 20 cents for every plastic bag you needed to schlep your stuff home in. i learned very fast to bring my nephew along with me and pay him the 20 cents to haul my stuff, which he then promptly gave to his grandmother to buy popsicles with. keep the money in the family, i always say!

Yarnhog said...

Oh, my. I don't feel quite so bad about consistently forgetting to take the bags in with me. Some stores (CostCo comes to mind) have done away with bags entirely. You bring your own or you carry out your stuff in a recycled cardboard box or in your hands. I still forget the bags.

Christi said...

That's hilarious!

I've got a dozen or more assorted totes (Chico bags, generic canvas, string/mesh, etc.). They get used more for library trips than anything, but that's going to change. According to the local paper, the two grocery stores we shop at will give you a nickel credit for each of your own bags. I'll have to try it and see what sort of confusion I can incite.

Anonymous said...

Too funny!

HDW said...

OMG LMAO so why can't YOU be my neighbor!!!!???? That is to freaking funny!!!

Amy Lane said...

Hee hee hee...

Must have been an NHS graduate. I'm sure I'd recognize her if I saw her.