As I stood reading through some greetings cards, a shopper said to a nearby store worker, "How much is this?"
Worker: "That's a gift card."
Shopper: "Yes, I know, but how much is it?"
Worker: "Well, it costs however much money you put on it."
Shopper: "Oh, so I have to put money on it?"
Worker: "Yes, and whatever you put on it, that's what it'll cost."
Everywhere you go, there you are.
Fast forward to the grocery store, and meet "Thomas" the cashier. Take a quick look at Thomas, because I predict he won't be working there too long.
He's ringing up the couple in front of me, who both appear to be in their early 30s. He waves their six-pack of beer over the scanner and puts it in a bag and pushes it down to the end of the bagging area.
"Oops. I need to see your ID, please."
The girl gets hers out, and after looking at that he says to the guy, "I need to see yours, too."
He keys in the guy's birth date, and then again says, "Ooops."
I thought, "Oh boy, he's got the date wrong and he's going to have to ask to see it again and the guy has already put it away."
"I need to scan the beer after I key in the date," he says stretching to reach the now out-of-reach six pack.
Okay, now imagine all that in very slow motion. That, together with what happens next, and you'll probably be thinking Thomas is in for a limited engagement with the Food Lion, too.
He scans two of my items and puts them in a bag. Then, holding my Vidalia onion over the scanner, he gets this very confused look on his face, and says, "That's weird."
I just look at him without saying anything, thinking he'll eventually clarify what the issue is.
"That's weird," he repeats, and with his mouth open he slowly—this is a theme with Thomas—turns the onion around in a circle, presumably looking for something.
"What's weird?" I finally bite.
"It's like it saw a barcode on the bottom of it, or something," he says peering deeply into the onion skin at the bottom now. "I'm supposed to key in a code to ring up produce, but it rang up already as something else. It's like it read a barcode off it but got it wrong."
"What'd it ring up as?" I asked.
"Sweet Gherkins. Weird, huh?"
I reached over the counter into the bag and pulled out the last item he'd scanned—my jar of Sweet Gherkins, of course.
"Oh, I must have been too fast," he said.
I thought, "I seriously doubt that was the problem."
Bless his heart.
As I approached my car, I saw this interesting scene behind the huge SUV parked to my left: