Just Say No

I promised myself I would never do it again. I dared myself to try it–or else. I told my kids they had permission to say inappropriate things to me if I dared try. I deleted it it from my life forever and sealed the deal with a vow to NEVER DO IT AGAIN!

In the famous words of Britney Spears, “Oops, I did it again.”

I went to Walmart (no, that’s not it, but great guess) completed my shopping, looked at the ridiculously long lines, and decided….wait for it…to check myself out quickly at the “self check.”

Ha!

I was the “self-check’s” prey once again.

Everything about that seductive little sign with its come-hither look is nothing short of a complete mockery!

Come to me. Look, there are no lines. Look how easy this is. You can do it, and it’s fun…look how fun this is.

Well, as Eve is to an apple, here I am to the “self-check.” (It’s an analogy. Go with it.)

We had a movie date planned, and it was dangerously close to the start time…so here I am choosing to do something guaranteed to cause a complete panic in my world. Why not? (I need to be at the movies before the previews start because if I miss the previews, I’m not fit to parent–total Rainman situation.)

As I am “patiently” waiting for my impending implosion the lady to finish, I realize the self-serve check-out behind her has been open all along. That irritates me, but moving on. I move in, hit the start button, and the machine immediately tells me cards only and no cash accepted. Well, any other day that’d be just fantastic because I never have cash anyway but, of course, today that’s all I have.

Already not looking good.

As I’m winding up, the lady at the register I was previously waiting at (for no reason) tells me she is almost finished and her machine takes cash.

Awesome.

So, here we go. I am telling my kids to just hand me things and since we’ve walked this slippery slope before, make sure they bag every item in the bagging area (as I’m gesturing all over the place trying to show them.) This may not sound important, but, oh, how it is.

My kids (in full prep mode to handle mom’s meltdown) are battle-style finding the bar codes handing them to me in perfect position for swiping and taking the items from my hand as soon as they hear the beep and placing them in the bagging area.

So far so good.

And then it happens. The very thing that makes my heart pulsate, my pits sweat, my rational thoughts turn irrational happens.

The machine starts telling me to place the item in the bagging area. (No s#@t lady.) They are in the bagging area!

As I immediately begin a less than Christian-like conversation with the voice coming out of the screen, I feel my body heat rise. Please tell me this is not happening. If ya don’t know, at this point the entire transaction is frozen.

FROZEN, I SAY, as you, the helpless moron who signed up for the (idiots who come to Walmart and think they know how to do our job better and faster than we do) attempts to hunt down the person sadistically planning their well-planned jaunt to a customer as faaaaaaarrrrrrrrr away from you as possible just as you get into a pickle.

This is always fun.

So, as my eyes are darting around the area of self-serve stalls, they finally land where the “leader” stands and supposedly is ready and waiting to swoop in and help you when something goes sideways.

Well, the bearded lady (yep) has strolled her way down about four stalls. So, I just wait…and wait…as I watch her go help every person in Walmart on her way back to me. Yeah, everybody has a problem.

She makes it to me, puts in her 49 digit code, tells me I’m “good to go,”  and walks off.

Ugh. Here we go again.

One child is handing items to me. I am handing them off to the other child. I am yelling at them to do it right so we don’t get stopped again.  The movie is about to start. They’re a nervous wreck; I’m a hot mess, and, of course, it happens again.

So here I go craning my neck around like some sort of zoo animal on crack trying to find the “leader.”

She’s with someone else. I look around and see these ominous lights above all of our heads and realize that they are all blinking red.

I’m never gonna get out of here.

This time I actually walk over and hover, abandoning everything I know about politeness/personal space/being weird/acting like an idiot/embarrassing my children/embarrassing myself and simply hover.

I will stand here if this situation you are trying to work out with the other moron takes ten minutes. It takes ten minutes. It’s awkward, but I’m not going anywhere.

So, she finally turns her face to me (she knew I was there the whole time) and as I try not to flinch at the 5 o’clock shadow desperately working its way to a 12:00 horror show I calmly tell her (with a plastic smile) that I need her.

We walk back to my machine together.

As I desperately attempt to memorize her mother of a code she’s tap-tapping in, (I’ll just take the matter into my own hands if necessary) I asked her if she would just stay and get me through to the end of this transaction as I was getting desperately close to committing a felon. (fake smile attached)

She clearly didn’t think that was very funny and as I turned, swiped another item, and turned back to assure myself she wasn’t leaving, I see she was already gone and well, you guessed it not two seconds later the third situation arises.

Seriously?

So this just gets better and better as I begin swirling my head around like the Exorcist girl trying to find out where Herman has ran off to, I now begin to contemplate simply walking off.

I will just leave, and you, my friend, will have to go put all this crap back. Ha Ha.

But then I realized that would really be more inconvenient for me since I already did the shopping, spent all of this time in hell trying to complete my mission, and would have nothing but a bad experience to show for it.

Nope! I will see this through…to the dire end…no matter how dire.

So, I find myself  just standing there. I literally felt like a balloon deflating. There is nothing I can do. The fight is over. I…have…been…defeated…beat.

So, I waited for Nanny McPhee to mosey on back, and as she saunters over I just look at her like I told you not to leave. See? Look how miserable I am. I’m missing something VEEEERRRRRRRY important. I knew it was gonna break down again! 

I saw her her smirk…and giggle.

Lord, as I finally finish this eternal transaction, I find myself walking to the car realizing what my children just witnessed/went through and most likely will be talking about in therapy one day.

I told them I was sorry, and please don’t let my actions sink into their lives. I told them I was acting ugly and not to act like mommy when they grow up. I told them how great they are when I’m stressed and they were my rocks (as I was secretly hoping they weren’t planning my mysterious disappearance when they are old enough to drive.)

One of the girls’ sweet words to me were, “Don’t worry mommy we know you express things more aggressively than what you are actually thinking.”

Really?

Huh.

So, maybe I’m not ruining them…

Yay!

So, moral of the story–I am NEVER going through the self-check again!

(If you see me, please intervene. You have my permission.)

About Amy Rafferty Slagle

I am a middle school teacher juggling career, husband (ooh la la), and twin tomboys (good grief). I have a passion for writing and crave laughter just about as much as frozen yogurt. This is my attempt at sharing the madness of my world, my mind, and my humor. View all posts by Amy Rafferty Slagle

One response to “Just Say No

  • Kathy Duke

    I am literally wiping tears as I have laughed aloud! So perfectly you have put pen to paper and captured my feelings of “if I had a gun I would shoot the screen out and leave right now” as I too, thought this might be a time-sensitive measure! Ha! Your writing is phenomenal!!!! Love, love, love this and will always think of this when I get sucked in again!

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