Lately it seems that the dreaded trip to Wal-Mart as become even more dreadful. I really don’t enjoy trips to Wal-Mart and if I lived a bit closer to other options I would avoid the place as much as possible. However, in this small town it’s all there is. On several recent grocery runs, I have been the unfortunate receiver of entirely too much information from the checker. Here is what I have learned from them:
One checker I call the cat lady. If there are any items in my basket that are for animals I am going to hear about her cats. She doesn’t have dogs, just cats. I don’t know how many she has but I do know that certain cats will only eat certain flavors of cat food. She bought a bunch at one time, when they were on sale, and had to bring them back because her cats wouldn’t eat that kind. Others will only eat out of specific bowls and some you have to feed in separate places because they fight over the food. She loves her cats. Some are very playful and others are more laid back. I find myself avoiding her line especially if I have anything related to cats in my cart.
Another lady has very bad back pain. It’s her sciatic nerve and she had surgery on it to relieve the pinch causing the pain. The first day back at work she fell and re-injured it. She is now in a lot pain and has to take several pain pills just to get through the day. Her husband found out about a surgery where a device is inserted into the back and sends out an electrical pulse that numbs the pain. She is seriously considering doing this, although it sounds really scary to her. She paused twice while checking my items to do some deep breathing because her back was hurting, for which she apologized. I really do feel bad for her and believe that she is in pain, but what am I supposed to say to all this?
Over the winter break my family was at the store getting stuff for New Years Eve. My boys were talking about the fireworks they were excited about setting off later that night. The checker says to me, “Oh I wouldn’t let them lite fireworks. They seem to small.” Me smiling, “They are not going to, but we have a handle on it.” I really love and appreciate getting parenting advice while in the check out line. Her, ”Well, I didn’t even start lighting and throwing until like two years ago. My boyfriend and I through them at his sister.” Me, “Well that is something I would for sure advise against.” Her, “Oh, she was fifteen and like big enough to run from them. But he aint my boyfriend anymore. He was a bad guy who wanted me to do bad things.” Me, “Yep, there’s guys like that out there.” Her, “I just hope he don’t get another girlfriend and talk her into those bad things, because that would be bad.” Me, “Boys get your coats on. We are just about finished.” When we walked away I looked at my husband simply said “Why”.
I am sure everyone has endured similar circumstances. I don’t mind polite small talk, but I really don’t want to hear about the details. I don’t know how I am supposed to respond. Do they want my advice or feedback? Am I supposed to share a similar story? Do I just stand there and say “uh huh” and “oh”. I realize these people stand there a long time and probably just need someone to talk to. My mom is great with these kinds of people because she will stand there and talk right back. There are some social norms they seem just don’t seem to understand.
All this proves me to be somewhat of a hypocrite. I don’t want to hear someone else’s blah, blah, blah and here I am freely sharing mine. The difference is that I am writing a blog, which is the exact place one is supposed to share too much information. Not in line at the grocery store.