Tuesday, August 03, 2010


My son and I stood in line at the store behind a pretty young mother and her beautiful two-year-old daughter. The mom was dressed casually but not cheaply. Her clothing and grooming reflected significant investments. She was adorned with a number of high quality multi-color tattoos that looked far more stylish that the usual dreck I see glopped on people’s bodies at that establishment. Her high class jewelry and piercings virtually shouted, “I’m worth a lot of money!”

The lady didn’t have many items to purchase. We were, after all, in the express lane. Some of the things looked like common necessities, but others would definitely have been considered discretionary items in my household.

“That’ll be 56.37,” said the clerk. The young mom opened her sleek wallet, extracted a card, slid it through the card reader, and typed in some numbers. “I’m sorry,” said the clerk, “but there isn’t enough on that card to cover the purchase.” The young mom seemed only mildly perturbed as she returned the card to her wallet, pulled out another, and said, “Let’s try this one.”

Once again, the mom swiped the card. The clerk said, “That card has been rejected.” Not to worry. The lady kept her cool and pulled out yet another card. Nope. That one had a zero balance in the debit account. “It looks like I’ll have to run home and get my other card. How long can you keep the groceries here at the check stand?” she asked. “Thirty minutes. You’ve got to be back in thirty minutes, or they put it all away,” came the reply.

By this time, more people had lined up behind us. Some were getting a little anxious about the time being consumed by this one customer in the express lane.

“OK,” said the tattooed lady, “we’ll be back in a few minutes. But I have enough to get this,” she said, as she held up a bag containing a colorful little fish. Her daughter playfully reached for the bag as the mom raised it out of the toddler’s grasp and handed it to the clerk. The bag went across the scanner. The register display showed $15.98 before tax was added. The lady swiped her first card, punched in a code, and was soon walking away with her exotic fish while items that looked to me like essentials remained behind.

Since we had only a few items, we were soon finished with our transaction and on our way out of the door. It turned out that we were only a few yards behind the glamorous gal. It surprised me to see her pile her daughter and fancy fish into a dilapidated old heap that was parked next to our vehicle. The car and driver painted an incongruous picture as the thing sputtered and smoked on its way out of the parking lot.

Inaccuracies are bound to result from judging a person after two minutes of observation. But I couldn’t help wondering what kind of priorities this lady has and how she got to such a state.

1 comment:

MainTour said...

Which priorities are you refering to - the fact that you spend more money on transportation than she does or that she spends more on clothing than you?

I find her payment system interesting.