The opportunities in waiting to check out

The opportunities in waiting to check out


After an hour or so walking the grocery store aisles and knowing you have more than the allotted 10-15 items or less for the express lane, there are lights blinking on only two other check out lanes and those are two and three shoppers deep.

How many times have you made an error in judgment, as I have, and moved from one lane to another as it looked more promising only to have the shopper at the register questioning a coupon item which turns out has been incorrectly chosen and scanned at regular price and we all know what that means.

“Override on register 4.”

I no longer switch lanes, no matter how promising another may look. Not since the day I moved from lane 2 to lane 4 before realizing the items that filled the belt were only part of the order still in the carriage I incorrectly thought belonged to the person who would be in front of me in line. I looked over to lane 2, only to see the person who took what was my place in line loading her order onto the belt. It took perhaps another 15 minutes for the order in my lane to be scanned, bagged, coupons applied and payment exchanged, but then, I’d never witnessed a $650 order processed before.

I now look forward to waiting in line. The extra time standing still allows me to sort coupons and pull out my store savings card. I can check the number of Bumble Bee Tuna cans in my cart noting that I have the required, “Must buy 10 cans for $1 each,” or forfeit the special discount.

The tabloids displayed to the left of the registers keep my eyes off the racks of candy bars to the right and just last Saturday their boldfaced come-ons tell me the latest gossip: Robert Wagner may die in jail and Jennifer Aniston was dumped at 49. Who knew?

Just as I move closer to the belt my eye catches a farewell to Chip and Joanna in bold on the front of TV Guide and, “New fixer uppers.” I hurry to find the story inside and see pictures of three teams but can’t make out the words as I don’t have my reading glasses and the cashier is asking, “How are you today?”

Sadly, it doesn’t matter who the new fixer uppers are. They’ll have their own show, probably already do. Will they, like Chip and Joanna, build their empire by adding their own shop selling their own line of furniture and accessories?

Call me a poor sport. I’ve been miffed about Chip and Joanna ever since they came on the HGTV scene. After the two of them became so popular it occurred to me that Ron and I had been doing what they were pulling in six figures doing. We were ripping out rotting decks and rebuilding, replacing exterior studs, adding a second floor and reinforcing or refiguring sagging roofs, replacing windows and outdated plumbing and rotten floor boards.

A friend pointed out that unlike Chip and Joanna Ron and I had been “fixer uppers” on the same structure for the past 20 years.

“Be reasonable,” she said. “Do you really think that millions of viewers would have tuned in every week to watch what’s taken you and Ron all those years to accomplish?”

I quickly pointed out that it was not that we were slow, but unlike Chip and Joanna, for 13 of those 20 years we had day jobs.

And no subcontractors.

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