Friday, December 05, 2008

Part III: Did That Really Just Happen?

After a very filling Thanksgiving meal (I was NOT the only person to consume wine, although I was the only one to bring it), we went to my sister's apartment to spend some time with her, my new brother-in-law, and the baby. Sis decided she and I needed to make a run to the Missouri border to buy beer. Never mind that Gray and I brought our own beer, so as to avoid making any beer runs to another state. Whatever, so we left the boys in charge of feeding the baby and headed off in search of (blech!) Budweiser and Tarantula.

Twenty minutes later, as Sis was driving, I realized she was passing all of the liquor stores I was familiar with (my mother USED to drink, just not since we were young and impressionable). I asked where she planned to stop, and she replied, "Walmart." I kind of forget that other states allow grocery stores to sell alcohol. Minnesota has some strangely conservative laws, given the amount of blue around here, and you have to purchase booze in a totally different building, unless you'd like warm beer, in which case there are some exceptions to the rule, just not on Sunday. Because it's better to stock up on Saturday or something. Never understood exactly.

So into Walmart we went, and I was kind of thrilled at the idea of buying LIQUOR right along side of the PRODUCE! AMAZING! NOVEL! But of course, I was sure there were some kind of rules about where the booze could be carried in the store, and which checkout lanes would allow you to buy it. No, turns out they're not out to get you for buying booze. The liquor portion of this Walmart did have a separate check out area, but it wasn't required you pay there. We did, however, as it was more convenient, and we were carrying a case of Budweiser, a 6 pack of Blue Moon (mmmmmm), a 6 pack of Honey Weiss, a bottle of Tarantula and...I think something else. They carded us both and Sis paid for the beer (oh, thanks by the way!) and we were headed out the front door when Sis remembered she wanted lemons to go in her Honey Weiss. She's one of THOSE people who must have GARNISHES with their beer. I'll take an olive and I'm not opposed to a slice of citrus, but I'm certainly going to drink the beer with or without those things.

So we struggled with our purchases over to the produce, selected two lemons, and walked over to the 10 Item Or Less lane. The couple in front of us had a new baby in the shopping cart (presumably they entered with the baby, and didn't pick him off one of the shelves in the canned goods aisle) and we were cooing and fawning over him. An older girl was throwing shy glances our way, and Sis asked her if she was the big sister. The girl grinned and ducked behind her mother's leg.

We were in line behind these folks for a couple minutes, and I was beginning to wonder if they were paying with WIC or food stamps or something, simply due to how long the transaction was taking. Eventually they went on their merry way, and I absentmindedly set the two lemons up on the belt. Sis and I were chatting about something, so it took me a moment to realize our cashier had vanished.

I looked around, expecting him to be nearby, possibly asking a question of another cashier or something. He was nowhere to be found. I glanced up at the lane number and noticed that the light was now switched off. The motherfucker turned his light off and WALKED AWAY. While were were waiting in line to buy two fucking lemons. There was no sign on the lane saying it was closed, the light was we got into line...it's not as if we strolled up just as he walked away. We had been STANDING FOR MINUTES waiting for the people in front of us to finish.

Sis and I looked at each other like, "What the hell? Did that seriously just happen?" Neither of us had ever seen anything like it before. I kind of didn't know what to do, it was as if the shock of being abandoned by our cashier had befuddled my brain. Had we entered some kind Cloak of Invisibility? Could I patent and make billions of dollars on our discovery?

We were laughing pretty loudly by this point and looking around, trying to figure out what to do now. No other lanes in the area were open, and those further down were long lines of full shopping carts. We just wanted our two damn lemons!

So we dazedly walked back into the liquor part of the store and bought the lemons there, laughing and stammering about what had just happened. Then, of course, on the way out of the front door, the "Greeter" demanded (grumpily) to see our receipt for the booze. Jerks!

Now, I guess this might not sound really shocking to you out there, but when it happened, it was kind of unfathomable. Walmart is FROM that area. All of the big wigs live around there. They keep an eye on things. The stores are clean and big and bright, not at all like the scummy, dirty Walmarts up here in Minnesota. This kind of thing...I cannot believe it actually happened!

So anyhow, long story short: We spent good money on booze, our cashier was a lazy bastard, we went home and played Presidents & Assholes, and stayed up way too late. Oh, and I gave the baby a bath the next morning.

Enter stomach flu, stage left.