I work at a chain grocery store, specifically the largest-existing unit of our company within the distance of several states. You would not believe the amount of general gross-out moments that can fit into such a space. Unless, of course, you, too have experience in the industry, in which case I sincerely apologize for any flashbacks the following may generate.
I’ve worked at my company for three years, and I’ve definitely had my share of said moments during that time, ranging from ha-ha memorable to where-is-the-bleach-I-need-to-wash-my-brain territory. Though I may loathe my job with a passion I never knew was possible before, I do appreciate the insight its given me into the human condition, and, of course, the stories that have come with it. Like any good stories, these need to be shared, so here they are. My top three most…um, memorable (and somewhat traumatic) experiences from my time as a wage slave. Enjoy, and feel free to leave your own horror stories in the comments!
1.) Everybody Needs a Grandpa
One day at work, I was on an express lane, happily (okay, faking it pretty successfully) scanning groceries. An elderly gentleman approached with his small order, which I scanned at my normal brisk pace. In the middle of the transaction, the gentleman inquired as to when I was off that evening. Being a careful young woman, I gave a vague answer, telling him I still “had a few hours left.” His response was to ask, in a serious tone, if I would “like to go out with him” when I was done. I responded as politely as possible, telling him “No, thank you.” I scanned and bagged the rest of his things as quickly as possible, hoping to minimize the awkwardness to a bearable level. Unfortunately, he just couldn’t follow suit, and his response completely floored me. “Oh, come on,” he insisted, “Everybody needs a Grandpa.” I was speechless, and I doubt I’ve ever finished an order so quickly in my life.
2.) The Time I Helped A French Man Pry a Credit Card from the Cash-Only Slot
Speaks for itself? There was a beret and fear of electrocution involved. I try not to think about it.
3.) “One More Time, Please”
Unlike the other stories on this list, this one happened early in my career, when I was at the innocent (*ish) age of 18. I was working one night, also on an express lane, and it was fairly late in the evening. I was finishing an order when and Indian man entered my line, other customers soon filling in the space behind him. Using the order-separation bars, he displayed his purchase: one lone pack of shiny, explicitly packaged condoms. No big deal. People buy condoms all the time. It’s part of safe sex, and sex is a part of nature, and blah blah blah. But what’s not a part of nature is making a girl half your age picture you wrapping your junk when a perfectly functioning U-Scan in three steps away! But I digress.
Awkwardly greeting the man, I scanned his package (no pun intended), and turned to bag his purchase. He quickly objected, announcing in a thick accent “No, I don’t need bag!” Our registers being relatively small, there was no other place for the package to go than the small shelf between us, where sweet old ladies write their checks and tell you how milk used to be six cents a gallon. That counter was now covered by a box of rubbers. My apologies to the sweet old ladies.
I told the man his total, willing this encounter to be over as quickly as humanly possible. He pulled out his credit hard and the next (extremely unpleasant) minute of my life went as follows:
*slides card too quickly and puts card away*
“It didn’t get that. I need you to slide it again.”
*slides card even faster*
“Try sliding it a little slower.”
*barely slows down*
“One more time. Just a little slower.”
*card finally goes through*
At this point, the man grinned at me, skewing my innocent directions into some pervy context. Avoiding any and all eye contact, I presented his receipt and sent him on his way. I’ve never felt more awkward telling a customer to “have a good night”.