Tuesday, November 01, 2005

No good blog post could ever possibly begin with the following sentence, but that's not going to stop me...

So the other day I was at Target, buying batteries, when I
saw something interesting. I was waiting in the express
check-out lane behind a woman who looked to be in her
mid-50s, and she was having a terrible time. As the per-
son in front of her was being rung up, she lingered near
the rack of impulse-buy magazines. First, she grabbed a
copy of People. After flipping furiously through it for a
couple of seconds, she threw it down on the conveyor belt
and turned her attention to the latest issue of Us. A quick
glance at a page or two of paparazzi shots convinced her
to buy this magazine and not People, which she stuffed
back into the rack with a certain violence. However, she
then let her eyes linger too long on a copy of In Style.
Furtively, she slipped this magazine in with the rest of
her purchases, which were–if I recall correctly–a pack-
age of legal pads and a pair of fingernail clippers. The
person at the head of the line was having trouble with
his credit card, so this gave her ample opportunity to
question her choices. She decided against In Style. She
changed her mind about People. She changed her mind
about Us also, but then she must have felt that People
alone wasn’t enough so she brought back In Style. She
seemed comfortable with this for approximately eighteen
seconds, and then she tentatively reached out for Us one
more time. She opened it, closed it, opened it again, and
finally slapped it down on top of the other two magazines.
Now, upon committing to all three magazines, she turned
her attention to the candy display. She pounced upon a
bag of Skittles and fondled it for a moment. Finding it not
to her liking, she groped a bag of Reese’s Pieces instead.
One of these ended up on the conveyor belt, but shortly
thereafter she found the Peanut M&Ms. They were hiding
under the staggering variety of gums and breathmints, so
they weren’t immediately apparent. She seized three bags
of them, placed them all on the conveyor belt, shook her
head at the gluttony of it, put one back, put the Reese’s
Pieces back, chose the Skittles instead, put the Skittles
back, placed a package of breathmints on the conveyor
belt, placed the package of Skittles on the conveyor belt,
put the Skittles back, placed another package of breath-
mints on the conveyor belt, shook her head again, and took
two more packages of M&Ms. By this time the credit card
trouble had been resolved and the cashier was starting to
total up her merchandise. I was greatly relieved by this.
Not only had she already exceeded the ten-item limit that
our presence in the express lane demanded of us, but her
behavior was making me vaguely anxious. I’m not sure