Friday, August 13, 2010

Surely you've got bigger ones?

Location: Moonee Ponds K-Mart, standing in a long queue.
Time: earlier today
My frame of mind: day-dreaming with Barbra Streisand's 'Memories' as the soundtrack, feeling all droopy and sentimental.
Situation: Four customers are ahead of me and my stomach is rumbling.

Customer One, holding a black pair of size 24 knickers against her stomach, says to the check out girl: "So what do you think? Would these fit me?
Checkout girl: "Um, maybe. Do you want me to phone someone to come over and help you?"
Customer One sucks on her dentures, pushing them in and out of her mouth as she thinks: "Would they be able to tell me if these would fit me or not?
Checkout girl, smiling politely: "Er no, but he'd be able to help you find a bigger size if you'd----"

Customer One shakes her head: "Nah nah, not a 'he'. Here...." (she bunches up the undies and hands them to CG), " can have these back. I'll try again another day. When I remember to bring me specs."

Customers Two and Three are a couple trying hard not to gape at Customer One and have instead become engrossed in a No Idea magazine and haven't heard CG say, "Next Please."
Two taps her beloved's arm nervously: "Darling, I have to ask....."
Three: "What?"
Two: "I must be the only person in the world who doesn't know what 'moobs' are."

CG: "Next please."
Two: "Well?"
CG says slightly louder: "Next Please."
Two whips the magazine out of Three's hands and shoves it back into the rack: "What, it's so dumb of me not to know that you have to piss yourself laughing?"

Three: "Oops, that's us," and he places their homewares on the counter and gets out his wallet.
I tap her on the shoulder. "I couldn't help overhearing. Moobs are man boobs."
Two: "Ohhhhh. Well know I know! Thank you for being more helpful than---" she whacks his gently on the arse "......this old tool here."

Customer Four has only one item but it is threatening to fall out of her trolley.
CG: "How many rolls do you have there?"
Customer Four does a quick count: "Six packs. They're only five bucks each you know." Proud of finding such a bargain, she says it loudly and turns around to smile and include me in her good fortune as well.
CG: "Oh dear, they're scanning as eleven dollars each. Can you lift it closer and I'll try again?"
Customer Four struggles, because she's bought the entire shipment of toilet paper that has yet to be unpacked by the KMart boys and each packet of 3 x 18 bog rolls is sealed to the other in thick transparent plastic on a cardboard tray.
"Here, let me help you." I lift up the box like Atlas under the earth and it scans at $5 per pack.
Customer Four: "Thanks love."
I can't help but say: "Well you either eat a lot of fibre or have a much bigger bathroom than I do."
Customer Four politely chuckles as she wheels her trolley towards the exit.
Suddenly, a huge piercing alarm rings and two staff appear out of nowhere in front of Customer Four. They give the trolley a cursory check, do something magical with a swipe card to stop the din and allow C4 to pass. Over her shoulder she calls out to CG and myself, "All this fuss for three ply!"

Now it is my turn.
I hand over two pairs of jeans - size 12 girls' for only $19 - and two pairs of 8A bras.
CG has noticed my amusement at the events beforehand and says:"I didn't know they made bras in size 8."
Me: "Me either. They're for my daughter. I think she needs them and I... just... can't... believe... how quickly the time has flown by." Frack, I'm starting to tear up.
CG smiles. "Geez, I remember my mum getting all weepy too."
I clear my throat and change the subject. "So it's been big undies, blokes with boobs and bog rolls for you, hasn't it?"
CG laughs. "The old lady is a regular and she doesn't recognise me from the nursing course I'm studying. She was one of the patients I looked after during my rehab stint. But we all know her here and do what we can to help, but today for some reason she's here without her community carer."
Me: "Oh? She seems like a character and, let's face it, we all want undies that fit, regardless of our age and size."
CG nods. "I'm off shift in half an hour, but I'll leave these here with a note for my supervisor to find a bigger size for her because Doreen's a regular and deserves our respect."
Me: "You're right."
CG: "There was a guy standing between her and that other couple, but he got so embarassed when she paraded the undies that he left and went to the back of the queue on check out nine!"

I took my bags and receipt and said to CG, "You know, if you ever have time between studies and your work, you should blog about this."


River said...

I should pay more attention to my customers, for blog stories of course. But supermarket customers aren't quite the same as K-Mart ones. There's really nothing much that's funny about buying the weekly supply of olive oil and loo paper, spring water and tomato soup.
I wonder if that CG has a blog? She'd have some tales to tell there.

franzy said...

Does this count as a training blog?

Kath Lockett said...

CG said she doesn't have a blog but it'd be the sort of subject that'd be fascinating; kind of like the People of Walmart but without the photos.

Franzy, ALL my blogs are training blogs!

Kay said...

Hey, I've got those toilet rolls on my shopping list. Wasn't planning on buying quite that many though.

And buying the first 'real' bra (as opposed to crop top) is quite an emotional moment, you know. Nothing wrong with being a little teary (says the woman who has teared up in front of every single one of dd's teachers....)

Lad Litter said...

There's no escape from Life's Rich Tapestry, is there? Especially not in checkout queues. Those richly-drawn characters made me feel like I was there, Kath!

geoff said...

Brilliant, store queues have always been a fun place for me. Whenever I escape from my idyllic country lifestyle I can't wait for the urban shopping experience. Buy some thing just to stand in a checkout line and speak to new interesting people.

Lorna Lilo said...

"Hell is other people" ... no, make that hell is other people in front of you in the queue.

Kath Lockett said...

Glad to see(read) that I'm not the only one, Kay. Also teared up this morning seeing Sapph win her first game (full set) of tennis after three weeks. She came off court trying so hard to be nonchalant but couldn't prevent a huge grin from briefly emerging before resuming her 'shy at tennis' persona.

Geoff, you should try taking public transport....even more entertaining!

Lorna, is often is hell when you're tired or busy but on those few occasions when you're not stressed or hassled it can be quite interesting seeing what other homo sapiens buy and get up to in shopping centres. Or do I need to get out more?

The Plastic Mancunian said...

G'Day Kath,

I hate standing in checkout queues because people invariably dither about all sorts of stuff. Sadly I don't pay attention because I just want to get out of the shop.

Perhaps I should listen more.




Kath Lockett said...

Thanks Lad Litter - I'm always surprised (during the times I'm actually listening patiently with all the time in the world; not impatiently) how entertaining every day events such as the check out line can be.

PlasMan - I have no doubt that you, of all people, would find fodder for a series of blogs about folk in shops in Manchester. Dare you!

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Baino said...

You're the only person I know who could write an entire and very entertaining post on standing in a KMart queue. Excellent.

Helen said...

This post really made me laugh! nothing like a little bit of people-watching to make things interesting!

And my mom got all teary too, I think you're supposed to be a bit emotional at the growing-up stages.

Kath Lockett said...

Thanks Baino and Helen. Sometimes I wonder - if we were living in a parallel universe - and I was asked what my inspirtations for writing were, and the tossers on the panel either side of me would all say really worthy and deep things and I'd say, 'The K-Mart queue.'

Ann O'Dyne said...

I am glad to see River flowed through and read this hilarity.
here is some more checkout hilarity.

Ann O'Dyne said...

"There's really nothing much that's funny about buying the weekly supply of olive oil and loo paper" ...

so I'm in the 10-Items queue, and notice the guy in front has 20 items.
Go into old hippie mode: my hand on his forearm, sad look up into his eyes - "oh you poor thing - I will come home with you and teach you to count if you like", and he said
"I've only got 2 things - 10 loaves of bread and 10 tubs of spread".