I was in a hurry before work and ran into the grocery store for a few things. It was early afternoon, the store wasn’t busy, so I quickly grabbed the stuff on my list and headed for the check-out.
There were only two check-outs open at my end of the store, one regular and one express. The regular was busy, but the express was empty. The clerk was just standing there waiting for customers. She was an elderly woman with a nice inviting smile on her face. I took a quick glance at the items in my cart, before pushing it into the lane. Roughly 15. That’s five more than the 10 allowed in the express lane, but who’s counting?. Apparently, an elderly woman with a nice inviting smile on her face is.
The clerk pointed to the express lane sign and scolded me. “Sir, this is the express lane.” She put an extra emphasis on THIS. I felt like a first-grader in one of those old-fashioned one room schoolhouses that just had his knuckles rapped with a ruler by the mean ol’ schoolmarm. What did I do? I didn’t want another rap on my knuckles, so with tail between legs, I left.
Grocery stores aren’t the only places where some employees often wield a mean “ruler”. How about the post office? You finally get to the front of a long line, and walk up to the open counter, only to hear this: “I’m sorry, I haven’t called you yet.” Or how about the airport? You need to talk to an airline employee at the gate counter. You wait patiently while he or she taps at the keyboard long enough to write “War and Peace”. “Excuse me,” you sheepishly say. “Can’t you see I’m busy,” is what you get back.
As I was checking out at the grocery store, I stole a quick glance at the express lane. There was no one there, except an elderly woman with a nice inviting smile on her face. You know what they say, “Looks can be deceiving.”
Let me know what you would have done in this or a similar situation.