This is a nonfiction recollection of events as experienced by me; used with permission.
One of my least favorite chores is probably going to the store to get groceries. While it's nice to stock up and feed everyone in the house, I have to go to a big-box store usually and it can be a lot to deal with. There was one visit in particular where nothing went right.
This happened a few years back and I was going to the store to get food for my family. I also wanted to get some food and litter for my cats. I decided to go to the nearby big-box store and when I got there I noticed there were no carts as soon as I entered. It was strange so asked an employee where the carts were and they told me that the person responsible for them wasn't there so it may be a while.
There were two entrances so I walked all the way to the other one and there were no carts there, either. I didn't feel like waiting for someone to check out and ask for their cart, so I went to the parking lot and found one to bring with me. Before this visit I never had that happen so it was so strange to me that a large retailer didn't have a backup plan.
After I got my cart, I did my shopping. It was going okay but when I got to the cat food aisle someone was chatting with someone else in front of the cat food I wanted to get. I waited and they saw me but they kept chatting instead of moving. I asked if I could just grab some cat food and they told me I could just wait a minute.
Since I didn't want to argue or anything I just waited and they kept chatting. I interrupted again and said I just wanted to get done with my shopping and that they were being rude. They said that they had every right to be there and so I just got my cart, pushed it towards them and their carts and basically pushed them out of the way.
This almost caused a fight but I quickly got out of there. One of them was yelling at me about how I was lucky I was running away but I just let it go because I just wanted to get out of there at that point. I headed towards the registers at the front of the store but on the way I realized I forgot something.
I went to go get what I forgot and I was stopped by someone just checking their phone in the middle of the aisle. So I said excuse me and they didn't look up or say anything. I said I need to get by and they put a finger up and kept tapping away on their phone. At this point I didn't care about the forgotten item so I just went back towards the registers and decided that if I really wanted it that bad I could order it online.
If you've ever been to certain stores, then you know that some have a ton of registers but only one or two open at a time. Because they had barely any registers open like usual they were backed up pretty far. I decided to go to the self checkout because I liked that I wouldn't have to wait and that I didn't have to deal with a cashier since I was at my people limit at that point.
At the self checkout someone was standing at a podium and they pointed at a self checkout register that was ready. I scanned all of my items and bagged it all up. Self checkout went pretty well but I did have to ask the employee to fix the machine a couple of times. It sometimes will freeze up because when you put the item in the bagging area it doesn't continue if it doesn't register it.
All I had on me was my debit card and the machine wasn't taking it. I tried a few times and asked the employee what was going on. He told me that it was cash only on that machine. There was no sign or anything and I was at my limit when I asked why they didn't warn me because I was going to have to deal with scanning it all again just to pay. The employee said sorry and that another machine he pointed out was working with card payments.
I was tempted to just walk out and come back another time. However, I already dealt with so much that I had to see it through so it wasn't all for nothing. It took me a few minutes but I had everything scanned and paid for so I thought I was in the clear. Apparently, I wasn't because when I was walking out of the store there was an employee standing there asking for receipts.
Usually they would just look at the receipt quickly and let you go through but the universe had different plans. The employee saw the bag of cat food and said she didn't see it on the receipt. She then told me she was going to have to check my whole cart in case didn't scan something else. I didn't know what to say or do so I just threw my hands up and said I paid but go ahead and check.
I remember thinking that this employee must get a bonus if she catches someone that didn't pay for something. After checking many of my items against the receipt she calls over a manager and proudly tells him that she caught me walking out with a bag of free cat food. I told the manager that I paid for it and that the whole thing was ridiculous.
The manager looks at the receipt and matches a few items to it and gets to the cat food apparently. He says something to the employee about it being in the system a different way. They both get extremely apologetic and told me to have a great day. I think I did have a great day after that when I got home and knew I didn't have to go back for a while.
I've had more bad trips to that big-box retailer in various cities throughout the US and this trip was one of my least favorites. I have worked retail which is why I did my best to not lose my temper even though I came close. I try my best to not go there these days but since they're one of the only affordable options I usually have no choice.