So Shiny

Maybe it’s my fault.

After all, I’m the one who said (in a post a few years ago that I can’t find right now for some reason) he was never going to shop (or stop) at Shop & Stop again after being nastily chastised for accidentally putting more items in the “12 items or fewer” line than allowed. (Seriously, the guy scowled and said “Don’t let it happen again.”) But this morning I found myself there once more, waiting in line for 25 minutes because they refuse to open up another register when it’s busy. For a moment I actually thought about going into that 12 items or fewer lane with my cart full of groceries, getting them all up on the conveyer belt before they could stop me. I’d feign innocence and apologize that I didn’t know what line it was, or maybe I wouldn’t apologize. I’d actually admit I did it on purpose. What are they going to do, tell me to take all of my items off and get in another line, making people wait even longer?

I finally reach the clerk and he mentions it’s really busy. I say to him that I noticed and that they should open another register. He doesn’t say anything, probably because there are four employees a few feet away at the lottery/trash sticker/returns booth just standing there, staring at all the customers lined up. They’ve also gotten rid of the end of the conveyer belt and replaced that area with a uniquely stupid turnstile bagging system. So now the clerk packs the grocery bags at the same time he’s scanning the items, which makes everything get backed up because the groceries stay on the conveyer belt longer than they should and the next customer can’t start putting their groceries on the belt. Oh, and some days the customer has to take their bags off of the turnstile and place them in the cart themselves. I’m waiting for the day when someone accidentally gets a finger stuck on the turnstile. Did anyone actually test this new system, or was it just OK’d by an efficiency expert the chain hired?

I leave the store, vowing to never return because there’s a great Shaw’s in town too I can always go to. And I do go to it right away, because Stop & Shop didn’t have a few things I needed.

The clerk at the register – someone I’ve never met before, a girl anywhere between the ages of 16 and 22, it’s hard to tell sometimes – starts to giggle and says something to me while making a circular motion above her head with her hand. I can’t understand what she’s saying so I lean in slightly and say “Excuse me?” She giggles again, points to me and says, “Your head…it’s so shiny! Tee-hee! Tee-hee!”


I didn’t know what to say. I wasn’t angry, just stunned that she would say this to a complete stranger, a customer she had never seen before. So I just say, with a light and bouncy tone, “Well, that’s what happens when you don’t have any hair!” She giggles again and says “So shiny!” She continues to titter while I pay for the groceries with my card. She hands me my receipt and I leave the store with my stuff, reminded that I am indeed so bald my head can be seen from space.

This wouldn’t happen if I just wore a hat.

One thought on “So Shiny

  1. I know you’ve had your share of bad luck (not your fault) at the grocery store over the years, but god damn Bob, this one really takes the cake!

    It’s just as bad across the country with the one register being open, but the stupid turnstile bagging system is a new one on me, and you’ve got my sympathy. It probably was just OK’d by an efficiency expert. It sounds like an accident (and a lawsuit) waiting to happen.

    The young clerk isn’t going to keep her job very long if she continues to do that. This is real life, not a scene out of ‘Seinfeld’, although it certainly seems like one! The upside to this awkward moment is that it’s still not as bad as the time Laura Petrie accidentally announced on national TV Alan Brady wore a toupee, and had to face the music afterward.

    I think Carl Reiner would get a kick out of this particular column, and would urge you to send it to him.

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