Saturday, February 07, 2009


Diplomacy

I'm next up in the express lane at the grocery store, when this fellow comes up and places on the belt behind my things some celery, a few apples, something in a can and a plastic tray with a nice piece of salmon under plastic wrap. The guy at the head of the line had asked for cigarettes, so there's a pause while the cashier calls for a manager to get the packet out of the lockup.

For a moment, I think the fellow behind me is starting to strike up a conversation, but quickly realize he's on his cell phone. "Hi. They have some good salmon. Should I pick some up?" Pause. "I thought we could have it tonight."

Just as I'm wondering (A) why he has to ask permission to buy a $6 piece of fish? (he's not dressed like it's going to kill the family budget) and (B) why he's asking now?, the cigarettes come and the cashier begins scanning my stuff.

I swipe my card, we complete the transaction, and, as she's handing me my receipt, I see her give that slightly annoyed, "Where'd he go?" cashier glance.

Sure enough, the guy behind me has disappeared. The celery, the fruit, the stuff in a can, still there. No salmon.

I suppose we all have our ways of keeping the peace at home, but I am left wondering how long you have to be married before the "gee, I'd better ask the little lady" reflex kicks in while you're at the fish counter rather than just as you're about to seal your doom.

5 comments:

ronnie said...

Coincidentally, after breakfast this morning we had to return to the house because Husband forgot his cellphone, and we were about to go shopping. I said to him that the overwhelming (by an order of magnitude) use of cellphones by people over 25 seem to be to make calls saying either "I'm in front of The Gap. Where are you?" or "Yeah, I'm getting the laundry detergent. Is it the one with the yellow label or the white label? I can never remember... Well, it doesn't say that on either of them... Look, I'll send you a picture and you call me back, okay?"

Happily, he has never, ever phoned me to ask permission to buy foodstuff, nor therefore has he run away and abandoned his order when I turned down the request.

(That's just sad...)

Sherwood Harrington said...

I think you're both being too tough on the guy. I don't think he and his sweetie have been together very long -- from the picture, it's clear that they're still working on soup datin' land.

Mark Jackson said...

And *I* think he took the fish back because he realized he didn't have enough cash on him to pay for it, and the grocery doesn't take Czechs.

Uncle Jed said...

Ok, see I was just dealt a swift blow yesterday when I jumped in a line of 2 when the others were all 4-5 shoppers deep. Just as I was beaming my smug smile (picture Mr. Bean) the woman in front of me revealed that a) English is not her mother's tongue and b) she brought her change jar.
Once I recovered from the shock and disgust (picture Mr. Bean) I figured this was either a sign of The New Economy or an Ashton Kutcher production.

Sadly, as I left the store, nobody asked me to sign a waiver.

Mary Miller said...

Mike,
You are of course assuming he was calling the little woman....he of course could have been calling his boyfriend.

Thankfully Martin doesn't carry a cell phone. Regretably he doesn't often go the grocery store unaccompanied.