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7th December
written by Steph
Last Friday I took the afternoon off from work, as Tony and I had a friend coming over on Saturday night and I had big plans.  I was making boeuf bourguignon, you see… And I realize that it’s not in good practice to test out new recipes on guests, but despite being quite labor intensive, I had all the confidence in the world I could pull the dish off.  Now, because BB takes so long to cook (the prep is really pretty easy, but the thing needs to be in the oven for a few hours), I decided I would make it on Friday night and then simply reheat on Saturday evening (as there were no guarantees we would be around for several hours Sat afternoon to start the cooking), and voila: effortless and delicious dinner the evening of!  However, Tony told me he was probably going to have to work late on Friday night, and if that meant him not getting home until 7, well, I didn’t want to have to wait until then to run out and gather the groceries and then start cooking, so we met up for lunch (always fun), and then I drove him back to work and then kept the car to do my errands. And so began my afternoon as a make-believe housewife.  I have to say that shopping in the middle of the day during the week is actually DELIGHTFUL.  I got a prime spot in the parking lot and the store was far less congested.  Pretty much it was just me, a few elderly people, and lots of housewives.  I was able to zip through the aisles with speed and ease, and all was going smoothly… until I approached the checkout.  Seeing as it was the middle of the day, there were only two cashiers open, and I had to choose between standing behind an older bachelor or an old lady.  I opted for the old lady, because I figured she was probably more well-versed with efficient supermarket checkout.  This was a HUGE MISTAKE. While it didn’t look like she had a ton of items, her final bill wound up being $118… and this was after she had spent about 2 – 3 minutes scrounging about in her change purse in order to find her coupons (many of them for a measly 25¢…) that saved her a grand total of $3.50.  SERIOUSLY.  I am all for bargain shopping (Tony was greatly amused the first time we went to the grocery store and I would swap out products for those just a few cents cheaper…), but I do that when there isn’t a huge line of people behind me!  Plus, it’s not like she didn’t have plenty of time to have these coupons in hand before her final bill came up!  She certainly had enough time to have an awkward conversation (loudly, natch) on her cellphone while her items were being rung up. And then, the icing on the cake of rage: SHE PAID WITH A CHECK.  People, I cannot tell you how enraged I get when people pay for things at the grocery store with a check.  Why do this? Clearly you have a debit card, and if for some reason you don’t have the funds in your account at that exact moment in time, you can still choose the credit option!  Seriously, WTF?!?  If you use a check, it takes aaaaages, because you have to fill the whole thing out, and then they have to see your i.d. (despite carrying a purse, hers was stowed away in her fanny pack), and what should have been a 30-second process has now taken 5 minutes.  Haaaaaaaate. Just in case I wasn’t clear enough, I will repeat myself for clarity’s sake: When grocery shopping, DO NOT USE A CHECK TO PAY FOR YOUR PURCHASES.  It is unforgivably horrible of you, and all the joking and bashful smiles at the snaking line of people behind you doesn’t make it better.  In fact, it makes it worse because all that time you spend “gee whizzing” over how expensive groceries are today and simpering about how you’re sorry for holding up the line just means you are wasting more of my time.  Here’s an idea: rather than feeling bad about holding up the line, how about you just don’t do it?  Gah! Needless to say, after that experience, my trip to the nearby wine store was a necessity… and I don’t regret walking out with three bottles when I only needed one! And because I know you were all wondering, yes, the boeuf bourguignon was a success, which did much to soothe my fiery rage (but clearly not enough that I felt the check/coupon incident was no longer a bloggable offense!).


  1. 12/07/2009

    Last week there was a couple behind me in the checkout line with a bottle of wine. Normally, I’d let them go ahead, but the female part of the duo kept standing in my line of sight, and sighing, and then standing closer, like she just wanted me to notice her and her solitary item and let her go ahead of me. Fat chance with that passive-aggressive attitude. So I ignored her and made her wait. If she was really in a hurry, she could have used self checkout.

    There should definitely be a required class for grocery store etiquette.

  2. 12/07/2009

    At one point in my adult life, I used to have to pay for everything with a check, because our stupid bank (small town) charged 10 cents for every debit/credit transaction with our card. Yeah. But if you’re going to be filling out a check at the grocery store, the thing to do is to fill it out prior to getting your total! Then, all you have to do is fill in the amount, and it takes no more time than swiping a card. Grr.

  3. 12/07/2009

    I am so with you. I can’t believe when people just stand there, and all that time they could have been filling out the whole rest of the check except for the amount. Or they could have been getting out their coupons, or their wallet, or whatever!

    Glad to hear the BB was a success!

  4. 12/07/2009

    Oh god. Have you not learned that men are much more efficient checker-outers? I mean, they don’t dilly dally, and unless it’s a really old dude, they don’t ask for a price check because something rang up $.20 higher than they thought it should.

    Also, that whole using a check thing? That is one of the few times that I’m tempted to throw angry darts out of my eyes at old ladies. Frankly, there is no reason to use a check in a supermarket anymore.

    You’ve totally hit on one of my pet peeves.

  5. 12/07/2009

    Loved your story, but I agree with Trish that guys are much more efficient in the check out line. They don’t want to chit chat with the cashier and just want to pay & get out of there!

    Old ladies are notorious for chatting, then waiting until everything is bagged before starting the search for their coupons, then their discount card, then they have to search for their wallet/checkbook. I don’t mind people paying with a check if they have it filled out beforehand and just have to fill in the amount, but otherwise it’s a pain.

    And if you think that was bad, you do NOT want to be at the store on senior day! In my town, Thursday is senior day when all the free shuttles take the seniors to the grocery store. *shudder*

    Glad to hear the BB was a success!

  6. 12/07/2009

    @ softdrink: Oh for real; passive aggressive behavior will get you nowhere with me. Either go stand in the Express Lane or, as you said, use the self-check if all you have is a bottle of wine! It would be one thing if you offered to let them go first, but that would be extremely kind of you and is certainly not an obligation! I hate when people act all entitled…
    @ Amanda: I had no idea that banks did that payment per transaction thing; I guess I could see using a check then, but I wonder if people who do this actually have that as their reasoning. And you’re right, if people filled out their checks beforehand, I wouldn’t be nearly as angry (plus they should hand over their ID along with the check, since it’s not like that’s a new concept…)
    @ rhapsody: I hate lazy shoppers. Either they stand there and then act surprised when they have to take out some form of payment or are looking for their discount card or whatever, or they seem incapable of bagging their own groceries. Once I was at Sam’s Club and the cashier ripped the plastic covering on the flat of water the man in front of me was buying, and about 10 of the bottles fell out. The cashier then haphazardly placed the bottles back in the flat and then was trying to ring up the rest of the man’s purchases, but the man angrily demanded the cashier put everything back as it had initially been or else he would make him go and get him a new flat of water. So I had to stand there while the cashier piled back them back in meticulously, even though that douchey guy was doing nothing and easily could have done it himself. SO. MAD.
    @ trish: I have learned my lesson, and will avoid he old ladies in the future!
    @ Alexia: The thought of “Senior Day” makes me want to break out in hives…

  7. Sim

    Oh man, that would be so frustrating! Do grocery stores even accept cheques up here? I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone pay by cheque… There must be a reason for it.

  8. 12/07/2009

    Ok, this happens to me all the time, and I know exactly what you are saying. The coupon thing is really irksome and I really try to avoid the line where I see a coupon person, but the check thing seriously chaps my ass. I mean, if you absolutely have to use a check, can’t you at least fill it out before you are ready to check out? I mean, even just put in the name of the store, or something? I hate it when that happens and I also hate it when the person in front of me waits until the whole order is rung up and then they figure out they have to pay for it, and THEN they start looking through their wallet, or writing their check, or whatever. I mean, do they not understand the concept of the store, or the fact that they will have to pay for the items that they are purchasing? Is it a surprise to them? Ahh, the grocery store sometimes drives me crazy! I am glad that your dinner went well though and I agree, the wine was a necessity after that shopping trip!

  9. wait, are you telling me that i shouldn’t be writing checks at the grocery store? come on! i LOVE to hold up the line while i fumble around for my checkbook, then scour my purse/satchel for a pen that writes, only to have to VOID the first check because i wrote it for the wrong amount! what? you don’t enjoy that?!?!


    but i wanted a picture of your dinner!!! surely you took one or two, right?

  10. 12/08/2009

    @ Sim: I have never seen anyone pay with a cheque in Toronto, and I hope I never do! I was surprised to find that any stores would still take cheques!
    @ zibilee: If only I had known this old woman was a coupon person – I would definitely have avoided her then! But I guess I should have assumed she was… and yes, what’s up with the people who are always totally unprepared to pay for their groceries? It’s not as if that part of the process should be a surprise! I slide my debit card through almost as soon as the cashier starts ringing things up so that I just have to verify the amount at the end and press “OK”!
    @ nat: You know, we didn’t take any pictures of our dinner on Saturday (we were too busy living it up!), BUT we do have leftovers, so you never know… BB may wind up featuring on the blog later this week!

  11. 12/08/2009

    LOL, my local (very inexpensive) supermarket only takes cash, check or debit and they had a problem with my banks’ Debit cards for two months so I HAD to pay with a check (because I don’t carry cash). Sorry to be like an annoying old lady.

  12. Eva

    When my brain’s tired (usually because my fibro’s flaring up), I can’t read at all and just surrender to either audiobooks or DVDs. 🙂 Lol @ the check thing! I don’t mind it, except for when they don’t start even writing the check until everything’s wrung up!

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