I was in line at Russo’s the other day (our nearest quality produce market), and I was suddenly overcome with seething rage and not for the usual reasons. I mean, yes, Russo’s is always a nightmare unless you get there between 8 and 10 a.m. on a weekday, which I hadn’t, and the cashier was slow, and my line had no bagger, and my kid was restless. But those were not the direct reasons for my anger. No, I was mad at the person in line in front of me who wasn’t bagging her own stuff.
Isn’t there some kind of unwritten rule about that? That if there is no bagger present and you have two functioning limbs, that you should go ahead and starting placing your groceries into bags? Even if you merely start the process, open the bag, toss a few things in, then let the cashier take over once it’s time to punch in the debit card info, shouldn’t you at least make a token effort? A half-hearted show of being a good citizen?
But no. The obviously-new cashier was taking 15 excruciating minutes to tabulate the bill and this woman, who was possibly younger than me and from my vantage point quite able-bodied, was just standing there waiting for her to finish so the cashier could then begin the mounting task of (slowly) placing each thing into a bag. No motion was made to help a sister out.
I find this kind of thing infuriating and, so, to try to calm myself down, I began speculating about the possible reasons why one wouldn’t put their own groceries into a bag. Was she foreign? Do they not have grocery stores in other countries? Nope, I’ve definitely seen grocery stores in other countries. Was she not aware of the bagging situation? She brought her own reusable, recyclable bags, so she seemed to have some level of bag-related awareness. She didn’t seem preoccupied with watching the prices as they were rung up to make sure no calculation errors were being made. That might have been a reasonable excuse. Maybe. Was she going through some kind of divorce, job loss, health issue, complicated child-rearing situation, bereavement of any kind? Impossible to say, but she didn’t seem anxious about anything at all. She looked perfectly Zen and at ease with the world. Does she simply enjoy spending her time standing in lines? Is that her “me” time?
It seems moderately petty now that I’m recounting it. Surely more egregious crimes of conduct have been committed at Russo’s, including but not limited to smashing your cart into someone’s Achilles tendon, maybe by accident, maybe not. I’ve seen elderly women nearly get into fistfights over tangerines. Clearly I was in an impatient mood, but I’m telling you, I was one step away from sidling over to the bagger’s station and, without breaking eye contact with Zen Woman, dropping her things into bags from a higher-than-necessary level.
Well, now. I thought cancer was supposed to make you a better, more forgiving person. Guess not!