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From time to time I read something in the paper or on CNN.com or wherever about Bush or the government or some other screwed up thing that makes me want to rant in this little space.

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This isn't one of those times. (Aren't you glad?) Instead I'd like to use my time today to talk about annoying people.

Everyone knows someone annoying, whether its your neighbor, coworker, urologist or even your local milkman (Aside: I guess there really aren't many milkmen any more). Some of you may even find me annoying. That's fine I guess, but if so you probably haven't read this far anyway so I can safely tell you to bite me. Anyway, one of the annoying people I have come across lately works at my local supermarket. She is a checker, or a checkout clerk, or a line item scan engineer, or whatever they want to be called these days. I'll consciously try to avoid her checkout line whenever possible. Unfortunately sometimes its unpossible, for instance late at night when there is only one checkout open. Most of the rest of the time she seems to be in the 10-items or less line, which makes it difficult to avoid since the wait behind grandma buying 250lbs of cat-litter in the standard line is also fairly annoying.

The annoyance starts as soon as I make it to the "next-in-line" position at the head of the queue. By this point I've usually been waiting several minutes since I always seem to shop at busy times. "I'll be right with you" comes the battle-cry from Ms. Checker. People who state the obvious annoy me. Phrases such as "wow, you're tall" or "it's hot today" grate on my nerves, whether or not they are directed at me, so this little piece of information really pisses me off. I mean really, I obviously didn't comprehend during this wait that you were actually helping people on a first-come first-served basis!! Thanks for clearing it up.

Fine ok, take a chill-pill and get over it. By now its my turn to check out. "Hi, how are you today?" in a high-pitched tone. Me: "Doing fine." Her: "That's great to hear!". Good, I'm glad I could brighten your day even if you are lying. A simple hello would have sufficed. I don't really think that you're glad to hear how everyone is doing. What if I said that my pet lemur had just been run over and my house blew up in a tragic popcorn cooking accident? Bet you'd be sorry you asked. Maybe I'll try that next time.

By now my items have been scanned and recorded in some giant database somewhere along with a record of my DNA. Her: "Is there anything else I can get for you today? How about some X to go with your Y?"

Almost every transaction she tries to upsell some additional item based on my already selected purchases. One time I bought cheese so she suggested bread. Another time I bought cereal so she suggested milk. I interpret that as "You're obviously too much of an idiot to be allowed to purchase basic food items on your own, so please allow me to help you." One time I bought three items - canadian bacon, apples, and Windex. At least that stumped her.

I usually pay by ATM. Her: "Just slide you card right there... good! Now hit the ATM button." Yeah, good, got it, thanks. I know how to operate the ATM machine. That little "good" thrown in there is especially annoying. (Well done, you slid your card!! Yay!! You're going to be 5 soon!)

Finally I've almost escaped the vortex of her checkout... and then that final slap in butt: "Would you like some help out?". No. "Are you sure?". Quite sure I can handle this quart of milk by myself, thanks.

Each time I swear to boycott her checkout line, but I inevitably get trapped there again. I'd shop somewhere else but I'm a creature of habit.

So, other than pointless, rambling, diary entries, what annoys you?