Saturday, April 08, 2006

15 Items or Less

What is it about some people that makes them think that many of the minor rules that most of us live by every day don't apply to them? Is it an overinflated sense of self worth? Were they raised to think that they are more special than the rest of us? Or are they just to ignorant or stupid to read or comprehend simple signs when they see them.

Partisan Pundit has a post called Except for You.

Didjya ever notice that there seems to be some fine print at the bottom of most signs that only certain people can read? These are the special people, the elite, those who are too busy or too important to be bothered with the kinds of restrictions and restraints which apply to the rest of us.

I ran into one of these elite individuals this evening. After dropping my oldest child off at the movie theater with some of her friends I ran into the grocery store to pick up some ice cream for dessert. I grabbed my ice cream and got into the express line to check out. The store was pretty busy, and there were only three checkers open so there were several people in line at each checker. While waiting in line I noticed that the woman at the front of the line had a pretty full shopping cart. I wondered why she would get into a cashier line that had three very obvious signs saying "15 items or less" posted around it. I had 2 items, the lady in front of me had three. The lady in front of her had a cart that also looked full, but I counted when she checked out and she only had 14 items. They were just bulky ones.

The head of our line however was a different story. I counted as she checked out. She had 33 items in her cart. Much to my displeasure the cashier did not ask her to step out of the line. Instead she just checked her out. The cashier did however point out that, which she was ringing up the items, that this was an express lane. The woman replied "I know. I'm in a hurry that's why I used it."

Well of course that explained everything. Since she was in a hurry it was certainly okay for her to inconvience the rest of us. After all, no one other than her is ever in a hurry to get anywhere.

I was just going to write the whole thing off as just just one more pig-headed elitist who thinks the rules of a polite society don't pertain to them. But then the cashier rolled her eyes at the womans explaination for why she was in the express line with over double the posted limit of items. The woman then proceeded to explain to the cashier why it was okay for her to be in this line. She had hotdogs (5 packages), cereal (6 boxes), soup (six cans), soda (3 bottles) and the four candy bars that were on sale four for a dollar so they only count as one. Those 5 things plus the nine single things in her cart brings her total to only 14 things.

I think the only thing that kept the cashier from slapping the woman was the little girl with the lady in front of me saying very loudly "Mommy, that lady counts funny."

The mother started to look embarrassed when the woman in front of her turned around and told the little girl "Don't worry about it sweetheart, that kind of counting doesn't make any sense to anyone with any real brains."

The woman with the 33 things turned and opened her mouth and the lady just shooed her off with a wave of her hand and a curt "Just take your truck load of stuff, move along and stop holding up all these nice folks."

Just then the cashier, with a huge grin on her face, handed over the receipt, put the last of her bags in the cart and thanked her for shopping there.

So in the grand scheme of things I only lost about two or three minutes of my life and I got a pretty good chuckle out of it. So I guess it was a fair trade. But I still don't understand the attitude of the people thinking that they are too important to follow the rules the rest of us follow.

I tell my daughter when we see people doing stupid or inconsiderate things. There are several different explanations for why people do things like that.

Their parents didn't teach them any better and its hard to learn common decency as adults.

Half of everyone one you meet in the world will be below average. So expect them to bahave below average.

God must love stupid people, he made so many of them.

But mostly, you see this type of behavior because many people are just so caught up in their own lives that they just don't pay any attention to what they are doing or how it effects the people around them. In most cases it comes down to just a lack of common courtesy, descency and respect for others. Pity those people. They usually have to socialize with people just like themselves because normal polite folks can't stand to be around them for very long.

1 comment:

Erik Rader said...

Great story! I'm amazed at how inconsiderate people can be, and even more amazed that people are surprised when we show a little common courtesy. I always get a little kick when I pull up to a 4-way stop and wave another driver through first, they get that "Who, me?" look on their face. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I miss the old days of politeness and courtesy.