Poor cashier.. there she was, checking me out on aisle 5, a long line of customers behind me and her computer seizes up. What’s so interesting about millennials (OK, so maybe not all of them) is that the “broke-r” the tech gets, the faster they start clicking.. fingers randomly tapping this and that and this and that.. figuring at some point, the magic click will occur and everything will be back working again.
Although this time, it wasn’t happening..so out comes the walkie talkie to hail the expert who shuffles up about 3 minutes later with a loud and disinterested “wazzzup guuuurl?”
Sure enough, expert #1 starts tapping away on the screen.. Zippity zap, tappity tap…nuthin’. By now, everyone but the guy behind me has moved on to functioning registers; they saw this mess unfolding and wanted no part of it. Dude behind me must have felt committed as he had 2 items on the conveyor.. 2. (Yeah, I know.)
Anyway..expert #1 basically wishes us luck and abandons her mission. Poor cashier pulls out her walkie talkie again and calls in computer expert #2. This time, we wait a solid 5 minutes for her to appear. Sure enough, once she arrives her fingers start dancing across the screen. Hopeful signs develop when receipts of some form spit out of the machine which she crumples up as fast as they arrive. Suddenly, finally, she announces we are good to go.
I want to believe it so bad.
Poor cashier starts to scan the rest of my purchases.. the sale is complete..
but no way..
my credit card isn’t working? I shove the sucker in more forcefully, she tells me to try and swipe it..I do.. twice. She looks at her screen and a red box pops up..I can see it from my side of the covid plexiglass divider..
CARD READER ERROR.
“My card reader is broken” the poor cashier announces with a huge sigh, glasses fogging up thanks to her mask .
“Can I just have my stuff for free?” I want to ask. I’m thinking I deserve it at this point, right? But there’s hope..I think..she hands me a teeny-tiny receipt with a bar code and “SALE SUSPENDED” on it and instructs me to walk over to self check-out, scan the thing, pay and be on my way.
So I go through the steps..exactly as instructed..and then stand there waiting for a receipt..which isn’t coming.
Like an injured wild Kudu on the Serengeti Plain, I attract the attention of the prowling lioness running self check who proceeds to grab my teeny-tiny “sale suspended” paper and zap it over and over and over. I try to explain the history of my situation, but this queen of the Target self check out jungle is not interested in hearing my tale of woe..she just wants the lines moving.
“M’am, you have NOT paid for these items..” she insists, fingers flying across the check-out screen. Meanwhile I’m thinking I’m going to have about fifteen charges from Target on my Visa by the time the sun sets.
“How bad do I actually need this stuff anyway?” I muse to myself. Frankly, I can’t even remember half of what I bought which is standard for most of my trips to Target. I dig into my purse, whip out my phone, click the envelope icon and by some miracle (I only get one bar there) my mail pops up. Sure enough, my credit card alert PROVES I just paid for the purchase. Like OJ Simpson’s lawyer dramatically holding up the leather glove, I show my phone to the check-out head mistress/judge who I swear has a lock on my cart’s wheels at this point. With an anti-climatic, dismissive wave of her hand she releases me from captivity.
And I am free.
I race to my car, abandon the cart, toss whatever I bought into the back, rip open one of the bags, plop into my seat, whip off my mask, squeeze the Purell, rub my hands, tear the foil and bite off the bunny’s milk chocolate ears.. I’m pretty sure I actually may have roared.