The way I see it, there are basically two kinds of shoppers. Those who strike up conversations with their cashiers at check out and those who don't. You know what I mean. The person ahead of you has all of their bags filled and in the cart, their bill is paid, and it's clearly the appropriate time to take your rightful place at the head of the line. But this person is so convinced that the cashier is hanging on their every word about their recent bout with the flu that they start to throw in the story about how their Aunt Ruth ruined their wedding day when in a moment of drunk weakness she tried to convince the groom he had made a mistake. You move up slowly, trying to close the gap and send a clear message that their time is up while making mental notes such as, "Dude, I think your Aunt Ruth was on to something."
I am not a question asker or a life story revealer in grocery lines. I'm more of a get in, get out, don't ask, don't tell type. But the stores and gas stations are making it increasingly difficult for people like me. The other day I had to go to Wal Mart and the gas station back to back. (Spare me the envy over my exhilerating life.) At the checkout I was asked, as usual, "Did you find everything okay?" to which I was incredibly tempted to reply, "There seem to be no Dove chocolate IV drips in the candy aisle. I mean, are you SUPER WAL-MART or NOT?" Instead I said, "Yep." Because that's how I work once I have reached this part of my shopping journey. I am committed to getting out. Even if it's a lie and I did not in fact find everything I needed, because if I say "No" then the mananger gets paged, and she is either at lunch or in the middle of her "English as a second language" training class, and people are waiting.
And they are adding more questions all the time.
Before I even swipe my card the machine already wants to know, "Did your cashier greet you today?" I know it only takes two seconds, but I am annoyed by this manipulation of my time. I answer "yes" whether it's true or not because as crazy as this makes me, I don't want anyone getting yelled at.
"Would you like to donate a dollar to the Children's Miracle Network?" A delightful organization and worthy of at least one if not more of my dollars, but really, I just came for milk.
"Were you happy with your overall service?" It's a yes or no question. There is no room to write how nice it would be to actually have the blue vested employees know how to answer my burning questions about the location of ice melt, chicken bouillion, and Trivial Pursuit. I answer "yes" anyway. On to the gas station where the display at the pump asks more questions than a first date:
Will this be debit or credit?
Are you paying inside or outside?
Would you like a car wash?
If so, what kind? Please be prepared to distinguish between deluxe, ultimate, and "the works".
How about some hot coffee?
What's your zip code?
Would you like a receipt?
How about fries?
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At the end of it all, I ironically wish for one more question that asks, "Would you like us to leave you the heck alone?" to which I would answer a resounding, "yes", and for once it would be the truth.